Archive | January, 2012

What I Have Learned From The Internet

30 Jan
  1. Everything is always as it is. There are no exceptions to any rules.
  2. Nothing is as it is. There are only exceptions to rules.
  3. You’ve never had [insert illness here] as badly as I have.
  4. You think that [insert food item here] is good? That’s shit!
  5. The only REAL [insert food item here] comes from [obscure, tiny restaurant/market which only holds three people and is only open when Mercury is in retrograde].
  6. All my symptoms add up to an illness that will kill me dead in three hours.
  7. My argument is not sound because I forgot to take into account this very tiny probability of something happening like, oh, monkeys flying out of my butt.
  8. My argument is not sound because I cursed.
  9. My taste in music is lacking because I am not familiar with this band which was formed in South Dakota in 1993 and only played one show in front of 16 people.
  10. [Insert band here] is like Radiohead when no one listened to Radiohead except you.
  11. Using the terms “a lot of people”, “most people”, or “no one” means I have a sound argument.
  12. Ad hominem attacks are acceptable when everyone knows the attacked is an asshat.
  13. Duh.
  14. There must be one negative GET OFF MY LAWN! for every five bunny and kitten comments.
  15. You are not as cool as I am because I have been using [insert brand/platform/app/software/hardware/obscure eco-conscious feminine hygiene brand here] since it was in private beta.
  16. You are not as cool as I am because I have not been using [insert brand/platform/app/software/hardware/obscure eco-conscious feminine hygiene brand here] since it was in private beta because I don’t care about those things.
  17. I didn’t really read your piece so I will now make an argument against what you wrote that actually affirms the very thing you wrote.
  18. I could not care less about the NBA.
  19. A person who spends five hours in front of the television is a bum, but one who spends five hours at a computer watching the same, exact thing is tech-savvy.
  20. Poking fun at [insert politician/social movement/political view] means I am against it as one should never poke fun at a [insert politician/social movement/political view] one believes in.
  21. You know who’d have done this list better? Hitler.

A Hat, A Ruffle, And An Identity Crisis

27 Jan

I don’t know what’s happening to me. I’m drawn to girly things all of a sudden. Now that January’s almost over, I decided it was time to get a 2012 calendar for my Franklin planner. I like to get a jump on the year like that. The inserts have flowers and berries and shit. Not floral like kittens and teddy bears and inspirational sayings floral.  Franklin does have a family of inserts called “Her Point Of View” and it seems to consist of stick figure women sitting alone and wearing hats. Oh, there’s one with a group of sticks holding their sticks together in a circle. I can’t tell that there’s a quote, but I bet there is. I bet it’s something about how friends are God’s flowers.

And let’s stop a minute and talk about women in hats. I like a hat. I am particularly well-suited to the cloche and the beret, but I rarely wear either. There are several reasons for this, the main one being I have a gigantic gourd. My head is huge. Like I was one of those toddlers who looked perpetually on the verge of collapse due to the gigantic pumpkin on my neck. In fact, you know that scene in Mermaids where Christina Ricci is running around with the pumpkin on her head? I looked exactly like that. With or without the pumpkin. True fact. Ask my mama. THE POINT IS that a cute little vintage cloche generally does not fit my giant noggin because, apparently, women corseted their heads in the early-to-mid-twentieth century. Now, this is fine because when one wears a hat, one is transformed in to The Manic Pixie. She wears hats because she is zany. I am not zany. I am many things, but zany is not one of them. Were I regularly to wear the kinds of hats I like, people would assume they could bring me inspirational sayings about women in red hats and that I would suddenly decide to learn to tap dance or play the tuba only to abandon that pursuit suddenly to learn how to twirl a baton or become passionate about making the perfect macaron. I would also have to be sassy because I’m on the chubby side and everyone knows the chubby girl in the hat is the sassy best friend who pines for Andrew McCarthy so she eats her feelings, which is what she’s doing when he shows up on her doorstep and she answers the door with a little frosting (she was eating it straight from the tub, natch) on her cheek and he adorably wipes it off then kisses her and you know he’s a good guy because he ended up with the zany, sassy chubby girl who wears red lipstick. And plays the accordion.

Where was I?

Oh, flowers. No, the inserts I have are more graphic. Just one color and a nice white silhouette of berries and leaves and stuff. But they are still, in my book, girly. And I don’t know where this girly thing is coming from. I mean, look at the layout of the blog–pink with hints of Hollywood Regency. I have the need to paint something pink, although I think I’ve ruled out the living room (Chuck? YOU’RE WELCOME) and settled on a library table. I cooed over a picture of some sort of flower I found on Pinterest. Don’t know what they were other than pink with a healthy dose of Gaussian blur. Yesterday I admired a coat with ruffles. I’m  not to the point of lusting over that Anthopologie shower curtain with the ruffles. You know the one. It’s the law that every single craft blog on the planet must show you how to make it at home. My search history shows evidence of operators like “girly”. This morning? I chose a brown sweater over a black one. I don’t know who I am anymore.

What’s interesting is that I’ve gone through significant style phases. I’m just off a long infatuation with WPA posters. I still love them, but don’t feel the need to have every single one in my house. I veered into Colonial American, Nantucket cottage, and Danish modern without so much as a raised eyebrow from my friends. So why is my sudden desire for blue velvet cushions and wildflowers in Mason jars bothering me? Because I still believe that pink makes me dumb. I believe that in the same way I believe if I get rid of most of the books we have in the house that we will never read again, people will think I’m dumb.

I’m not dumb, I understand that. But somehow I’ve come to believe that holding onto those old sociology textbooks and novels which took me four years to finish, (The Corrections. Not gonna lie. Four years) which I have no intention of ever opening again, will make me seem somehow intellectual when what I really am is a reasonably well-read woman who does not have the space for three years worth of texts on class warfare. At some point in my life I decided that because I find the whole concept of the Disney princess revolting in the same way I find chitlins revolting, that something pink or velvet or shiny makes me stupid.

I have managed to politicize my curtains. 

I can wear black head to toe and not think anything of it, but if I wear a pink t-shirt with pink flip flops I’ll change one or the other before going out. Most days. I realized I was hiding perfume bottles after I got married because I didn’t want Chuck to have to look at my girly stuff. Which is weird because you should see what I’ll leave out in the bathroom. And I like the fact he has some of his grandfather’s pipes on his dresser–a very manly thing, right? But that’s okay. Apparently I believe tobacco jars are smart, but perfume bottles are dumb. And, even as I type that, I’m thinking of the tobacco jars I use for flower arrangements and catchalls and the beautiful perfume bottles which are hidden, for the most part, in a china cabinet. I read decorating magazines and the woman always makes a point of talking about the “masculine touches” in the master bedroom. Apparently a brown ruffle is more manly than a red one.

Last year the only inserts for his planner Chuck could find were pale blue and had clouds or something on them. Inspirational quotes were involved. I said something about them and his response was, “I’m secure enough in my masculinity to use frou-frou inserts.” So why am I not secure enough in my femininity to use my flowery ones?

A List

25 Jan

In no particular order:

  1. The Thin Mint is the most overrated cookie on the planet.
  2. Department stores don’t need to compete with Walmart. They need to compete with other department stores. There is room in the market for department stores AND discounters.
  3. If you are a retailer not paying attention to the women’s plus-size market, you are foolish. Good taste is not abandoned once one reaches size 18.
  4. I shall now be known by my blues name: Blind Foot Bailey. What’s yours?
  5. The Dr. Pepper Lip Smacker–the finest of the Lip Smacker family–can appear and disappear at will. Just when you think you have three in your purse, you only have one. And it’s in the pocket of the jeans you just washed.
  6. The liquid Dr. Pepper Lip Smacker? Not the same. Not the same.
  7. hairbrainedschemes Etsy shop.
  8. I have my packets ready for the accountant! And the appointment’s not even until TOMORROW!
  9. There is no Standard Lav at Standard Shed. Wonder if I could put one in before Chuck gets home and tells me I got some ‘splaining to do?
  10. I’m all of a sudden, with no warning, drawn to pink. Is it wrong to paint the living and dining rooms pink? I don’t mean PANK. I mean like pink if Martha Stewart did pink. And would it work with a china cabinet painted cherry red? Yes, yes it would. Hmm…

Bloggus Interruptus

24 Jan

Standard Life Coach just got a question that I thought I’d step in and answer. One Mr. Ginger Brews (As if that’s your real name, sir!) writes he seems to be stuck in a pit of apathy regarding his own blog. A blog I happen to love for its author’s thoughtful musings and the fact that he really respects differing opinions. I am trying to be more thoughtful and respectful myself–it don’t come easy, friend–so I like to hear what he has to say.

But! I am totally there with the apathy thing. Sometimes, and brace yourself, it occurs to me that every little thought going through my head may not be of general interest. Or even specific interest. And you know how you’re always reading about these people with severe depression and anxiety who write, but they don’t want to take medication because it stifles the muse? Yeah, I’m not that person. My muse only shows up when I’m well-medicated and even then she acts like I’m keeping her from a mani/pedi appointment.

At the end of the year, I set up some goals for myself. I was going to take an item a day–a lamp, a picture, a leaf–and describe it. I hoped it would help me get over my fear of adjectives. Have I done that? No. I was going to post something daily. DAILY. We can all see how well that’s going, but I am better about posting regularly because I learned a lesson the painful way about a neglected blog.

Picture it: November, 2010. I wrote a little ditty about that crazy show Sandra Lee does. The one where she takes already-made food, throws some parsley on it, puts it on a gawd-awful tacky “tablescape”, and makes gazillions of dollars. You know the one? Yeah, so she is the significant other of New York’s governor Andrew Cuomo. So I did this little thing about how she was going to make the inaugural ball semi-homemade. It was a laff riot. Thing is, in January of last year, Jezebel ran this piece about how batshit crazy she is. Something about putting a diaper on a parakeet. And Jezebel linked to my blog post. Jezebel is one of the fifty most-read blogs in the country. About four hundred bajillion people read it. And yours truly did not check her blog until, oh, March and totally missed 9,509,320 hits. Okay, maybe closer to 8,500,000. POINT IS. I missed keeping some of those readers. And by some, I mean all of them.

So, I say to you, Mr. Brews, we’ve all been there. You go head-on into blogging and then you’re all of a sudden like meh. Maybe I’ll have a sandwich instead. Write about the damn sandwich. Seriously. If you don’t, it will be six months down the line, you’ll have this really great idea you want to throw out, and your readers will have removed you from their Feedly (Feedlies? Fiedlers?) You’ll be blogging to an empty room. And that is sad. I personally have ten bits and pieces of posts stashed in various blog dashboards around the country. True fact. In fact, I got an email the other day asking if one bit was the shortest post in history or a case of writing interruptus.

Have some Cheetos and Mountain Dew. You need blogger fuel. Get into an argument with a loved one who does not share your views on proper toenail clipping. Talk about the annoying woman in the cubicle next to you who talks to her boyfriend in a baby voice. In short? GET PISSED ABOUT SOMETHING. Works for me.

The Life Coach Is In

24 Jan

Friends, after a brief absence due to a slight ligament issue, your Standard Life Coach is back. Let’s reach into the mail bag, shall we?

Dear Life Coach,

I found your blog becasue Roger Ebert was talking about Oxford commas and your blog came up in my search to find what that is, exactly. So far I’m not impressed. You need more boobs, Gingrich and Romney.

Sincerely,

 Disgruntled in Denver

 

Dear Disgruntled,

What can I do to make you more gruntled? Oh, wait. That’s right. I don’t care.

Thanks for stopping by!

 

Dear Life Coach,

I have an obsession with blanching fruits and vegetables- not because I particularly enjoy them, but because whenever someone asks “watcha doin?”, I can truthfully reply “not much- just blanching some shit”. Are there any reality shows or episodes of Dr. Oz that address this issue? And does it make me ineligible to hold office in the NRA?

Sincerely,

Kinda Nervous About It

 

Dear Knai,

You see, there comes a time in every boy’s life where the need to dip members of the squeaky bean family into boiling water for mere seconds, nearly robbing them of life and vitamin content, and revive them with a refreshing shower of ice-cold water becomes overwhelming. It’s natural and normal. Dr. Oz does not specifically address this, although he does recommend tangerine tea for compulsive bean soaking. It’s worth a try.

As for holding office in the NRA, I’ve checked the bylaws extensively. It seems there is nothing on the books specifically preventing a Compulsive Blancher from holding office. HOWEVER, it is strongly recommended that when blanching publicly, you remove your items from the boiling water while saying the following: YOU CAN HAVE MY PERFECTLY BLANCHED ASPARAGUS WHEN YOU PRY IT FROM MY COLD, DEAD HANDS. BITCHEZ!

Also, burn some sage.

 

Dear LC,

We’ve noticed you’re fond of putting a bird on it. On your last blog, your mascot was a flatulent feline. Is the bird the new cat?

Signed,

The Committee To Stop Crappy Graphics

 

Dear TCTSCG,

Could be. Etsy says the fox is the new bird. Rest assured, no matter what this blog’s mascot may or may not be, the quality of the graphics will continue to be only marginally better than what a 6-year-old could bang out with Microsoft Paint.

 

Yo, Life Coach,

You give me a leather jacket. I invest it and give you back TWO leather jackets. Know what that is?

Sincerely,

AF

 

Dear AF,

Sigh. Yes. A Fonzie scheme.

What Will I Do?

22 Jan

I’ve been putting off my piece for Blog For Choice Day because I’m not entirely sure what to say. I know. Shut up. This year’s question is, “What will you do to help elect pro-choice candidates in 2012?” The problem is that a lot of times, I think I’m doing it just by voting for someone.

We had a bit of an issue here in Shelby County in the fall. I wrote about it here, but the gist of it is that Shelby County has been contracting with Planned Parenthood for many years. Planned Parenthood has used federal Title X money to provide such services as breast cancer screening, family planning information, pelvic exams, and STD screening. Because it is government money, it is not used for abortions. The problem was that back in the fall,  Shelby County Mayor Mark Luttrell caved in to pressure from state Republicans such as Hizzoner The Gubner Lite, Ron Ramsey, and decided the Godless Satan that is Planned Parenthood should not get the contract. It was awarded to Christ Community Health Services. Christ Community is staffed with good people doing good things–unless you need an abortion or birth control. Despite Christ Community’s inability to comply with the terms of the Title X grant, the Shelby County Commission sent the money there anyway. A commissioner I supported, Steve Mulroy, made an eleventh hour decision to vote to award the contract to Christ Community because, as he wrote on his Facebook page,

” I KNEW there were almost certainly 7 votes to support CCHS, regardless of what I did.  Even after Commissioner Bailey changed back to PPGMR, I KNEW there were 7 votes (or more) for CCHS without me .  Since the outcome was a foregone conclusion, I decided to at least get assurances re: compliance monitoring, so that at the end of the contract period, we would have hard data to decide whether opponents’ concerns re: proselytization, abortion counseling, and emergency contraception were warranted. If they are, we can revisit the contract. Some in the audience may have thought I was the crucial 7th vote, because they saw the voting screen light up with 6 names in green, then a pause, and then my name in green.  Not so.  Newly appointed Commissioner Taylor, too new to be able to vote using the computer system, had already indicated his support.  I knew there were already 7 votes, and I knew an 8th was on its way.  I was either the 8th or 9th vote for this, depending on how you count it.”

So, what am I going to do? I’m going to pay more attention. It’s more than a question of whether or not a particular candidate is pro-choice. Wearing a pink ribbon on your lapel in October does not make you a champion of women’s health issues. The issue, for me, is what will you do to respect my privacy? What will you do to ensure equal access to health care? What will you do to make abortion safe and rare? If you reduce your campaign to a single issue–even if it is women’s health–you are not my candidate. The problem is that we, as voters, have allowed ourselves to be single-issue voters. And that stops for me this year.

I’m taking the old saying about all politics being local to heart this year. I’m concentrating on local and state issues first, national issues second. I figure if we get the local solved, the national will soon follow. I’m going to support public servants rather than politicians. I’m going to keep pushing the idea that one’s personal religious views do not get to dictate public policy.

I will be a politician’s worst nightmare: An informed voter.

A Confession

20 Jan

I needn’t go into all the reasons why, but a couple of weekends ago I had to go to the ER.  Feel free to make one of them jokes about doing an x-ray of my head and not finding anything. About 3:30 on a Saturday morning, I got up, tried to find clothes in the dark, and attempted to sneak out before I woke Chuck up. The thing is, I’m not a neat person so there was much rustling about in piles of clothes and more than a little cussing. I think it was the cussing that woke him up. He asked if I was okay. Yes, I said. I’m going to the hospital. He asked if I could at least wait until he put on pants.

“Did you think I wouldn’t take you?”

And this is when it dawned on me that I still don’t get this marriage stuff.

Of course I knew he would take me. I knew I wanted him to take me. But it is not easy for me–even after almost six years–to say I’m hurt and I need help. I realized one of the reasons for this is that I believe I’m not supposed to think marriage is a big deal. We didn’t need to get married. We both had jobs, we weren’t planning on more children, we had no farm to run. Marriage was the paper that said I choose you. I choose you today, and I’ll choose you next year when you’re complaining about your knees. It was paper that said we’d stick together even when plotting ways to escape. And I foolishly thought that’s all there was to it.

Because I knew so many people who chose not to get married and so many people who couldn’t get married, I thought it was just a formality. I was so determined not to let marriage define me that I missed the point. The point of marriage is that it does define me. My life is inextricably linked to another’s. You don’t have to be married to have that, obviously, but you’d better have it if you are to be married. There is nothing I do which exists in a vacuum. Every grocery store trip, every sweater I buy, every meal I plan, trip I take impacts my Other. And just as I fret because The Man Who Never Gets Sick comes home and pukes his guts up, he frets when I’m up before dawn trying to sneak out to the ER. And he frets less about what’s wrong with me and more about why I won’t let him DO SOMETHING like drive me there.

My problem has been that I thought I was too cool for school. I thought I could be married and still be single. I don’t mean mess around with someone. I really don’t see the point in being married if you’re going to dip your nib in someone else’s India ink. I believed there was weakness in leaning on another. The thing I missed is that the extra support makes me stronger. It’s kind of simple, I know.

I guess what I want to say is that I’m formally rejecting Generation X’s position that marriage is just a piece of paper. I need my husband, and this is why I married him. This is why I will stay married to him. This is why I believe anyone should have the opportunity to be married. It is more than a piece of paper. I don’t give a rat’s ass that you think it’s an antiquated system of oppression. I’m over all that. Marriage matters. If people like me continue to downplay the importance of it, it just becomes more difficult to make the case that marriage should be for everyone. If it’s not important, what does it matter that couple over there can’t get married? You just said it was no big deal.

I got married because life made more sense with my husband than without him. It still does. My goal for this year is to say that more. You know– to him. And I want to work harder to make sure that one special person, that one person you want to annoy the rest of your life, can check the MARRIED box when you have to go to the hospital at 3:30 on a Saturday morning.