Sunday, November 27, 2016

Thanks

Thanksgiving 2016 is in the books, and it exceeded every possible expectation.

Matt and I got off work early Wednesday and headed down to Mom's.  She wasn't there when we arrived - she had gotten a call from Jorg requesting help on a congealed salad.  About thirty minutes later, they both arrived and we stayed in the kitchen cooking and chatting.

Thursday morning, I went to visit my friend Connie, her husband Jason, and their awesome kids, Jack and Reese.  Matt came with me and we had a blast reconnecting.  Love that family.

I made some pies, and started the dressing, and got a 30 minute nap.  Then our guests arrived.



Truth be told, it was the best Thanksgiving I can remember.  Erik brought a turkey (and GRAVY!) his girlfriend Finly made a cheesecake.  Mom did a few casseroles and another pie.  Jorg brought his cranberry jello mold, and it was so damn laid back and fun.  They arrived at 4, and didn't leave till 11PM. 

We had a great, great time.

And the food...

YUM.

Not only did I survive, I thrived.

I'm happy and Thankful.

ae

Monday, November 21, 2016

Manufactured Outrage

So, I had a lot of time on my hands to screw around on social media last week, and this story kept coming up about a kid at a Thanksgiving Pageant and how the teacher took the microphone away from him and he didn't get to participate, and everyone was losing their motherloving minds over it and it was viral and shit.

But in learning some facts about this incident, it's not that the kid (who is high-functioning autistic) didn't get to be in the play.  His line or part or whatever came earlier in the play, and he wanted to add on something at the end.  And my guess is that the teacher and the kid had been locked in a power struggle over it, or how the hell else would she have had the cat-like reflexes to know when to grab the mic?

But the point of this is that people are just en masse outraged over a teacher trying to exert a little control over her student.  Yes, she probably should have just let the kid have his way - after all, what would it hurt? He just wants to be treated like everyone else.  Except, wait, everyone else didn't get a stab at a few extra words, did they?

Clearly, I'm kind of an asshole.

But the thing is this.  I shouldn't be spending any time worrying about a kid in West Virginia who got his feelings hurt by a teacher, who frankly, was probably at the end of her damn rope, and doesn't get paid enough, either.

If I wanted to worry about school kids, how about seventy kids from an elementary school two blocks from my house?  These are kids who participate in a backpack program.  That means that on weekends and holidays, before they leave school, they get a backpack filled with easy to prep food that will ensure that they DON'T GO HUNGRY.

Think about that.  As fat as I am!  As much food as my husband and I waste, there are kids in my community that have to worry about getting enough to eat.  We have a large homeless community in Nashville.  I've met them at the mission, I've bought newspapers from them on the side of the road.     There are people near you who are lonely, anxious, afraid.  They live next door and pass you in the aisle at the drug store.

If you want to whip up some sympathy, start there. 

And yeah, it sucks that this kid got denied his mic time, but that's between him, his parents and the school.  Everyone else needs to get some damn business and mind it.

And for fuck's sake, put down your phone video cameras.  Not every Thanksgiving Pageant is going to producer the Zapruder films.

ae





Thursday, November 17, 2016

I'm Game

I don't have a bucket list.  Except a one item bucket list to never create a bucket list.

There are things I'd like to do, but I don't like the thought of pre-planning for my eventual death.

Make goals, make plans - but leave your lists for the grocery store.

There is something I'd kind of like to do, eventually.

I'd like to be on a gameshow.

Once, upon a time, I happened to go to a taping of a Jeopardy Tournament of Champions set of shows.  I think we saw three or four episodes taped.  I was maybe 23 at the time.  My friend Danny got tickets.  We had lunch at the Varsity afterwards.  It was a fun day.

This week, given that I'm spending a lot of time at home, I've gotten the opportunity to catch up on a few of my old favorites.

The Price is Right.  I actually think I'd be good at this one.  I have some energy, I am killer at guessing prices on retail items, and I think Drew Carey would like me.  If I made it to the Showcase Showdown (and I would), I know enough to not overbid. For fuck's sake, don't overbid.  And, by the way - Barker's Beauties Carey's Cuties?  Drew's Dolls?  Are co-ed.

PLINKO!

Let's Make a Deal - I really like Wayne Brady.  This one would probably end in me walking away Zonked.  Also, their prizes are kind of weird.  Yoga classes?  Sapphire-studded cufflinks?  Tickets to the Latin Grammys?  I don't know.  That said, I would dress up like a mofo.  Fun times.

Wheel of Fortune - This one is kind of a mix of skill/chance.  I'm good at word puzzles, but I don't think this is the sweet spot for me. That said, this show and Jeopardy are the last shows that still have the hosts of my youth.  Vanna White, Pat Sajak - hang in there!

Jeopardy - The daughter of a childhood friend appeared on the Teen Tournament this week and she was thwarted by the buzzer (and two other teens as smart as her).  But I would love to be on Jeopardy.  I have a few friends who have done it.  With my luck, the day I went on categories would be "Opera", "Sports Teams that Aren't the Nashville Predators", "Algebra", "How to Drive a Stick Shift", "Spatial Reasoning", "Telling Your Left From Right" and "Potent Potables" (because that's an old classic).

Family Feud - This one plagues me because although I think I'd kick ass at it, who the hell would the family be?  I mean, you need five people and there are no permutations of my family or Matt's where that would work.  Which, causes me some stress.  Oh well.

There are a ton of shows on Game Show Network that I could apply for, but they're not the real deal. I mean, that's my opinion.

So, maybe... someday.  Either Henry will age into Family Feud with me, Matt, Tom and Laura.  Or...

I don't know.  Maybe I'll go to California and I'll bid on the prize that gets me up to play for....


A NEW CAR!!!!!!!



Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Bizzy Work

So for the past three days, I've been dealing with having strangers in my house.

They're here working on the kitchen.  The main guy that has been here I'm going to call Whistling Joe.  Not his real name.



Day one, I found him quirky and delightful.  Now we're on day three and I'm about ready to bitchslap him out of my house.

WJ is a talker.  And not about anything important.  I know way, way more about him than I need to.  He's been married 36 years.  He's from Florida.  He met his wife at a Captain D's (a great little seafood place).  He's an audiophile.  Built his own sound system.  Loves to tinker.  Does a lot of work for "ladies' homes", but given that he owns power tools and I don't - that's fine by me.  Work on.

He likes to chat, and one of his big themes is announcing that he'll be taking a restroom break. The man pees a lot.  Just saying.

When he's not chatting, he is, as his alias implies, whistling.  And not anything specific - there was a brief selection of "Part Time Lover" on day one.  Since then, it's been the same five notes from Beauty and the Beast  - the ones that correspond to the lyrics "Tale as old as time...".  That may or may not be what he's actually whistling, but that's sure what it sounds like.

It has not been an expeditious process.  Day one, WJ was here at 8:30 AM - ready to take on the world.  He removed the counters, the sink, the stove and the dishwasher.  He cut the countertop and he cut the backsplash.  It was a series of first downs.

In the two days that have followed, it feels like it's been nothing but 3rd and Inches.  If you'll excuse the football speak.

Yesterday, I was ready for arrival between 8:30 - 9:30, which is what the woman at the office had told me to expect on Monday.  Monday, as it turns out, is first impressions day - when they lull you in to a sense of security.  Tuesday is a whole new day.  Two electricians came at 10, to make notes about the work that they were going to actually do a different day - tentatively Friday.  Given that this is a five day project, let's firm up tentative, OK? The construction team was...not here yet. I called the office and was told they'd arrive at lunchtime.  Sure enough, they arrived around noon - did a few hours and knocked off.  Larry came with friends.  Casey and Jeremy - Casey made notes on some things that they would need to bring for Wednesday, and they left.

Today, I finally called the office around 11:45, and they said around lunchtime.  So, 1PM, here comes WJ, ready to rock and roll.  At the moment, he's on trip #2 of the day to Home Depot.

And now, this five day job is leaking into next week, and that, my friends, isn't cool.  Not at all.

But, I gave them a key for a lock box, and we'll make it work.

The moral of this story, folks... just be satisfied with your old janky kitchen.  New is not better.

I'm sure I'll come around.

It's a... tale as old as time.

ae



Monday, November 14, 2016

I'm a mean one...

So, I have a handful of friends who are already in the Christmas Spirit.  And that's fine for them.

I am not feeling it.  But that's fine, it's only the 14th of November.  I get that Christmas trees are pretty and pleasant to look at, and they spread cheer.  But we're just getting over Halloween, the Election.  We're gearing up for that most delightful of days, THANKSGIVING.

Lest you think I'm irredeemably Scroogey, let me say this - I have ordered my Christmas cards.  I have made some travel plans.  I have a vague idea of what to get my nephew.  But for heaven's sake, I am not ready to embrace the evergreen.

Truth be told, we haven't done a Christmas tree in years - too many years to count.  What happened was, we found out that we love not having to take one down at the end of the year.  It's so freaking easy.  And we usually do most of Christmas with our families, so, you know... path of least resistance.

Meanwhile, we're getting some work done on the kitchen, and it's going remarkably well.  I'm excited.

And I'm one stay away from Diamond at Hilton for next year.

It just doesn't get any better, does it?

Does it?  I'm asking.

ae

Sunday, November 13, 2016

B-4

So, tomorrow, the kitchen reno starts.  Having watched a ton of HGTV, I'm sweating bullets, but I think we'll be OK.

I'm taking the week off, so I'll work on things around the house, outside of the kitchen while I'm here.  May meet some friends for lunch.  I can almost guarantee that I'll have a nap at some point.  Or at several.  I love a good nap.

I'm going to have to do some work - documentation, expenses - but it'll be an easy week.

We had a pretty chill weekend, mostly just prep for the aforementioned reno.  I needed a break.  I'm frankly pretty stressed out about the holidays.  One of my friends and I have renamed them for this year:

ShoveItUpYourAssGiving 

and

Clustermas

We amuse ourselves.  I'm worried, obviously, about money.  And to a lesser extent, time.  Of course, they seem to intersect more than not - but, it's fine - we'll get there.

I believe it.

If you want to know what I'd like for Christmas?  Lower blood pressure.  Less travel.  A CSA subscription.  A visit from a Clutter Buster service.  And some lavender water from Crabtree and Evelyn - maybe one of their hand lotion samplers as well.
True story - once about six years ago, Matt was both pretty sick and completely snowed under at work, and it was a few weeks before Christmas.  He knew he wasn't going to be able to get out and do any Christmas shopping for me.  So I offered to do my own.  He was horrified, but I talked him into it, and I really enjoyed it.  I bought myself things I wouldn't buy with my own money but coveted - a lotion sampler was one of them.

I have pretty serious dry skin in the winter.  It's a challenge.

But that's not really the point of the holidays, is it?

I will say we've made one fairly major decision for the holidays - we've ordered the greeting cards.

Now I just need to deal with the big ticket stuff...

It's the most wonderful time of the year.

Dammit!

ae



Friday, November 11, 2016

Kool and the Doppelganger

So, sometimes, I peruse the Nashville Humane Society website just because pictures of animals cheer me up.

Today, I came face to face with a dog that could be the brother of my own babygirl.

This is Piper:



This is her baby brother, Monty:


I showed Matt his picture and he agreed they could be siblings.  Now, we're not going to get another dog, but... I just love the idea of knowing that somewhere, another sweet thing is going to find a family who loves him.

Piper is very serious in her photos.  I couldn't find her smiling like her brother, Monty - which, I can assume is short for Montgomery, or Montague, or Three Card Monty.

Anyway, I am not going to obsess over it, once I've finished this post, at any rate.

It's just that I knew nothing of Lola's parentage back in the day - she was found on the side of the road and I don't know if she had littermates, though I used to daydream of what her brothers and sisters were like. Mean, feisty, I assumed.  She was the braintrust of her litter.  I know that in my heart.

I am home, and I'm super glad to be here.  I don't fly again til after Thanksgiving. 

So now, I do laundry, I organize.  I get ready to end 2016 with a bang, a whimper... whatever.  This has been a tough week, a tough year. 

But good news - the same DNA that made my sweet dog may be coursing through the veins of another sweet little guy.  Well, not so little.  He's bigger than his older sister.  But I know this is her brother - they say he's mouthy, energetic and needs leash training.

Like I said - I'll stop obsessing - I just needed to share.

Thursday, November 10, 2016

Pineapple

Tomorrow, I'm going HOME!!!!

I spent the week in Illinois, it made me ill and annoyed.  See what I did there?

I ate terribly the whole week.  I need to get home, shave my legs, get a few decent foodstuffs in my house and get my weekend started.

It's been a long week.  A long, long week. 

And next week, I'm having some work done in our kitchen, so I'm going to have another long week coming up.

Where has this year gone, people?

I'm ready for 2017. 

Ready.

ae

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Truth be told

Friends, I'm going to admit something here.

I am really, really hurting today.

I didn't talk much about the election, or the state of our country, or my views because I think they're pretty obvious.  I'm an overweight, middle-aged, liberal female atheist living in the Southeastern US, so of course, I feel a little disenfranchised. 

Now, that said, I'm also a college educated, heterosexual, middle class white person, so, how disenfranchised am I, really?

My vote in the Primary Election went to Bernie Sanders because I really believed in him and what he wanted to do.  He didn't win.  Now, I do think that the Hillary camp was a powerful regime, but I think they won fair and square.

I watched the Republican candidates closely because so many of them are hardcore evangelicals, and that scares me.  At the age of 42, I have good enough healthcare and am of an advanced enough age that abortion rights don't affect me personally, but I have a lot of lady friends who deserve the option to make that decision for themselves.  I have a good job that provides excellent health benefits, so the Affordable Care Act doesn't really affect me personally, but I have a lot of friends who have benefitted from access to care.  I'm married to a man, so Gay Marriage rights don't have much to do with me, except that I have a bunch of gay friends.  Some are even married.  Some of them may want kids.  I have, tops, fifty years of life left - so climate change isn't that big of a threat to me - but I have a nephew, and I know plenty of kids who deserve a clean, healthy planet with plants and animals and air to breathe.  I haven't experienced racism.  I have experience some mild sexism, but nothing like a lot of my peers.  I am, by my own standards, living a good, good life.  I have it SO. EASY.

Last night, I watched, against all odds, as Donald Trump became our president-elect. And as much as I hate to say it, it wasn't rigged.  Unless you think that the electoral college is complete and utter bullshit, in which case, yeah - there's that.  Apparently, Secretary Clinton won the popular vote. 

What I feel more than anything is guilt.  Should I have canvassed for her?  Should I have given money?  Should I have not been such a chickenshit and told people on social media that I was with her?

That's what I keep asking myself.

I also ask... now what?  Will the economy tank?  Will I lose my job?  Will someone try and assassinate him?  And if they do, is Mike Pence really a better option (the answer to that one is easy: no!) .

Since I'm onsite with customers, I feel incredibly lost and alone.  I called Matt last night, have texted friends, called Mom this morning - but I need to get home.  Be with my husband, my dog.  Get my things in order to settle in for the long, hard road ahead.

And, OK - I know a lot of my friends overseas aren't huge on Hillary, but they are appalled that my country elected Trump.  Personally, I'm just stunned.

And I don't know what to do.  All I can think is... now what?

I'll let you know if I figure it out.

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

NOLA

Last week, I made some vague rumbling about something exciting that was going to happen.

Basically, I went on a vacation.  I didn't call it out in advance because, frankly, I don't like to announce when I'm not going to be home.

Anyway - Matt and I went to New Orleans for a long weekend.

It's kind of the perfect city for both of us.  Lots to do, great food, geographically desirable, photogenic, artsy, chill...perfect.

Perfect.

We had a killer trip.  We ate, drank and were merry.

My feet look like raw, aged hamburger meat - tons of walking - so, blisters and whatnot.

But we had a great time.  And we TOOK A DAMN VACATION.  Which we haven't done in way, way, way too long.

Now, I'm in Illinois (Matt's at home, so don't even think of robbing out house).  I'm watching the damn election results and I'm sweating.

But in my mind, I'm strolling up Rue Royal, about to get some oysters on the half shell. 

Like these:



ae

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Self-Censoring

Yesterday I wrote a really pithy, concise post about some shit that was bothering me.

And I am not going to post it.  Not yet, and maybe not ever.

It felt good, it helped clarify my feelings, but honestly - you don't need to know every little thought that passes through my head.

When all is said and done, things are good.  I occasionally get in a little snit, and that's fine, but more important is getting myself out of those snits.

Today I was crazy productive, and I'll probably sleep pretty well (although, I'm going to tell you there may be some NyQuil involved).

Tomorrow I have a lot of good stuff planned.

I can't tell you about that, either.  But in this case, it's only temporary - I'll explain later and not much later.  Like a three second delay, not complete censorship.  There will be pictures.

I'm being vague.  But good things come to those who wait...

ae