Showing posts with label people. Show all posts
Showing posts with label people. Show all posts

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

2011 Best & Worst

Around this time of year, I like to take stock. I like to take stock of how my year went, overall...am I shaking my fists at it and stomping around, cussing like a crusty old sailor? Or just giving it the middle finger raised defiantly up high, in a really indignant manner? I'm certainly never hugging it. I don't think I've hugged an old year going out and a new year coming in since 1982. There's usually something in the past year that has really made me put my hands on my hips in a very annoyed manner and say out loud to no one in particular, "Really, Insert name of year here? Really?? What the freaking heck."(Full disclosure: I might--or might not--use much swarthier words than freaking and heck. It would just depend on the issue, and the year.)

Another thing I do is come up with Un-Resolutions. This is a very Alice in Wonderland thing to do, and I prefer it because I know I'll be 100% successful at these. For example, in 2012, I unresolve to spend less time on pinterest.com. And, in 2012, I unresolve to spend half of each Saturday lying around staring at the ceiling feeling guilty about all the things I really should be accomplishing. Also, in 2012, I unresolve to clean my toilets more (though I did find a really earth-friendly, economical, most awesome solution of part vinegar/part water/Dawn dishwashing liquid you can make at home that can supposedly scrub blood stains off the inside of a person's body).

But I also like to review my personal year's Best & Worst. Just like they do in People magazine and on E! News, except without the paparazzi pictures:


Best Kid Moment: Potty training accomplished! No more poopy diapers, no more diaper bills, no more worrying about contributing to the land fill diaper problem in America but being too 21st century lazy and harried to actually switch to cloth diapers and do something about plus that would involve more laundry and I'm really anti-more laundry....woohoo! No more diapers!

Worst Kid Moment: Realizing potty training isn't (1) fool proof or (2) consistent. Most embarrassing example of this: the infamous McDonald's Poop Explosion of 2011.

Worst Job Moment: Volunteering to leave the dream teaching job I adored to venture forth into unknown waters. Teaching (the Education field in general, actually) seems to be in a bit of a scary and massive upheaval these days, and so who knows where I'll be at this time next year? Upheavals can be both bad and good, but I am never a fan of change. Even and especially when I instigate it.

Best Job Moment: Finding out teaching 3rd graders is surprisingly a breeze. Jolly Ranchers and lead pencils and the ability to place a "I Actually Don't Find You Funny At All" look on my face in a mere 1.5 seconds really helped that. And the change in focus turned out to be fairly good for me...after teaching 1st grade ESOL for about 10 years, I could pretty much do that with my eyes closed. It's stressful to have to locate, plan, and coordinate new lessons, and I wish I didn't end up staying until 5:00 pm most days. But it keeps me on my toes. And that's a good thing, because I'm the kind of person who really needs to be kept on her toes. Otherwise, I spend way too much time staring at a ceiling for half a day feeling guilty about all the stuff I could be accomplishing.

Best Health Moment: C got a new knee. It's a lot of work right now, and his body is still adjusting. But in about 6-8 weeks, I predict he'll be walking around like Melissa does when she gets a new bouncy ball: "Mommy! Look at meeeee! Look at me and my new bouncy ball! Look at how good I am with my bouncy ball! I can bounce my bouncy ball really, really high! No! You can't have my bouncy ball! It's MINE!" (C, of course, will not be bouncing as high as he can, but I do suspect he won't share his new knee with anyone.)

Worst Health Moment: Well, I got skin cancer. That was the worst. But it was a fortunately/unfortunately kind of thing: Unfortunately, I got skin cancer. Fortunately, it turned out to be the unscary kind, harmless little Basal Cell that can sit on your skin for years and years and never make a peep (except you should get Basal Cell off of there ASAP if you do find him sitting there, because occasionally he can turn into his big older brother, Malignant, Scary Carcinoma. Scary  Carcinoma is a really crappy bastard, and even his own mother ignores him on his birthday). Fortunately, it was an easy procedure to remove. Unfortunately, I'll be at a dermatologist's office annually for the rest of my life. Fortunately, this will quickly help us meet our insurance's out of pocket maximum so C can get another new knee next year and we don't have to pay a thing. See? Fortunately/Unfortunately.

Worst Celebrity News: The Kardashians are really getting on my nerves. I don't understand them, and I don't understand the nation's love/hate relationship and fascination with them. I'm just glad they're in cahoots with Sears. If I had to see them and their sweat shop clothing line every time I bought contact lens cleaner at Target or Wal-Mart, I really think I'd lose my mind.

...Except I have to say, I do begrudgingly like Khloe. Khloe seems like someone I could have over for dinner and laugh with. Oh, okay...and Kourtney, too. Her little boy is too, too cute. As long as she left the icky boyfriend/father at home, I think we could hang out and talk.

Fine, fine, fine. It's really just Kim I'm having an issue with. But I think everyone in America is too, and so. Good.

Best Celebrity News: Apparently, Atlanta is quickly becoming the new Hollywood. This increases my chances of bumping into Gerard Butler at Target or Wal-Mart or Kroger or Publix  by 1,000%. Obviously, in 2012, I'm going to have to never leave the house without full make up and hair, and I'll clearly have to hire a personal stylist. Oh, and the gym. I guess I'll have to bump up my gym schedule from 0 times a week to at least 1 or 2. Man. That's going to be a lot of work. I may need to set my standards a little lower and hope to bump into one of the Real Housewives of Atlanta's ex-boyfriends.

This is not what my chicken avocado parmigiana looked like.
Worst Cooking Moment: The avocado/parmigiana chicken dish I got off pinterest.com. It seemed like a good idea in theory. I mean, who the heck doesn't love chicken parmigiana? And avocados are just healthy for you--full of good vitamins and the type of fat your body doesn't use to make you look 6 months pregnant. But in actual practice? It did not execute well, and I apologize to all who came into contact with it (namely, C and Melissa) (C took 3 bites and Melissa declared hers "icky," dumped it in the trash can, and proceeded to demand chicken nuggets instead).

Best Cooking Moment: The fact that I cooked most nights of the week. The week right before Winter Break and the week of Knee Replacement surgery were pretty rough and full of McDonald's happy meals. But other than that, I've been a cooking fool throughout 2011. Please note: I do not enjoy cooking. Slow cookers make it a tad easier. Unless you have someone who doesn't enjoy slow cooker food, like I do, who (after 3 slow cooker meals) asks you to lighten up on the slow cooker meals. That can really throw off your whole game plan, if you have that. I also don't enjoy the following: menu planning, grocery shopping, food prep, cooking clean up, dishwasher put away, and pantry organization. But the point is, I have learned to overcome all of that, in a very Chariots of Fire kind of way. And I like looking up recipes and conducting recipe experiments. I'm a Chariots of Fire Kitchen Scientist is what I am. And C and Melissa are my lab rats.

Worst Gift of 2011: There were none. Every gift is awesome. If you give me a gift of any kind, you are permanently on my Favorite People list forever. Unless your gift is the flu or a cold. And then you're on my People to Avoid at All Costs list.

Best Gift of 2011: The Keurig. Do you know about them? Next to the Internets, these are one of humanity's most helpful and evil-at-the-same-time inventions ever. You put some water in the holder. You stick your coffee cup under the thingy. You stick a Keurig coffee cup thingy ($9 per box, more expensive at Bed Bath & Beyond) in the thingy. You press a button. Sixty seconds later? You have a coffee (in a variety of flavors, including but not limited to hazelnut, french vanilla, and fair trade decaf) or tea or hot chocolate or espresso or cappucino. It's technology magic. The evil part comes into play because the coffee maker is always right there. On your counter. And if there is water in the water compartment, in a mere 60 seconds you can have your 1,000th cup of coffee (or tea or espresso or hot chocolate or cappucino) of the day. For example, as I type this, it is 10:00 am and I'm enjoying my 6th cup of coffee (an Italian Donut Shop bold that is clearing out my sinuses in a most effective way...I predict the caffeine in this thing will keep me up well past 1:00 am).

Starbucks is also pissed at the Keurig guys. My yearly $25,000 donation to them is probably going to be reduced by about $24,990.

Worst Book of 2011: Did Kim Kardashian write a tell-all book about her 72 hour marriage yet? If not, get ready to put that on your "Worst Book" list for whatever year she writes it.

Best Book of 2011: Tina Fey's book Bossypants. I would like to be Tina Fey's friend and confidante. I would like to start a religious cult that worships all that Tina Fey says, writes, and does. (That sounds a bit stalkerish, I know. But honestly, the fastest way to become a billionaire is (a) invent the computer or facebook, or (b) start a religion and get Tom Cruise on board). I have many, many new worldviews because of Tina Fey, and many, many new awesome quotes to throw at people haphazardly when they least expect. Here's one:

But I think the first real change in women’s body image came when JLo turned it butt-style. That was the first time that having a large-scale situation in the back was part of mainstream American beauty. Girls wanted butts now. Men were free to admit that they had always enjoyed them. And then, what felt like moments later, boom—BeyoncĂ© brought the leg meat. A back porch and thick muscular legs were now widely admired. And from that day forward, women embraced their diversity and realized that all shapes and sizes are beautiful. Ah ha ha. No. I’m totally messing with you. All Beyonce and JLo have done is add to the laundry list of attributes women must have to qualify as beautiful. Now every girl is expected to have Caucasian blue eyes, full Spanish lips, a classic button nose, hairless Asian skin with a California tan, a Jamaican dance hall ass, long Swedish legs, small Japanese feet, the abs of a lesbian gym owner, the hips of a nine-year-old boy, the arms of Michelle Obama, and doll tits. The person closest to actually achieving this look is Kim Kardashian, who, as we know, was made by Russian scientists to sabotage our athletes.

See? Ladies, wouldn't you like to be friends with Tina, too? Let's get together every Friday and pray to her. (Please bring $25 as a Fey Love "donation.")

And last (but not least):

Worst Overall Moment of 2011: The angry, judgmental Target employee and my emotional breakdown about her (including tears) in front of a store manager while standing in front of Target Cafe's pretzel machine. I've finally managed to successfully shop (tear-free) in this Target again. I've gone back to placing Melissa (in a really defiant way I must add) in the back of the cart (minus the seat belt AND allowing her to stand up). I've also managed to once run into that same angry, judgmental Target employee while Melissa is standing up in the back of the cart (mihnus cart seat belt) and look at that chick with pointy, dangerous daggers shooting out of my eyes in her general direction in a really passive aggressive way. I'm sure she senses when I've entered the store and becomes very nervous. Obviously, I've clearly won.

...Really, this experience has kind of turned into a it was the best of times/it was the worst of times sort of thing. But I'm still shell shocked about the initial experience, and so I'm making it my Worst Moment of 2011 (there could have been a worse worst moment of 2011, but my memory only goes back to about July of each year, and nothing worse happened to me from July-December than that).

Best Overall Moment of 2011:  We are all still alive. C and I both have satisfying jobs, a roof over our heads, nice clothes (Old Navy recently had a 70% off sale that I hit just right), good food in our bellies (as long as it doesn't involve chicken, parmigiana, and avocados), a sweet girl who only goes to time out 3 times a day, and we are cancer-free (knock on wood), surrounded by family we are on talking terms with who we actually find amusing and fun to be around. Is there any kind of a moment that would be better than that? I don't think so, and I'm positive Tina Fey (blessed be her name) will agree.

Happy 2012, everyone!


Friday, August 19, 2011

confessions of a political hack.




Have you seen the video of two angry Tea Partiers confronting Obama in Iowa recently?








Angry Politics Make People Weird. (<--video I'm talking about.)

It's really a chicken or an egg video. If you're a Tea Party fan and/or a conservative and/or a Republican, you'll watch it and go: Woo! Obama got OWNED!! If you're a Progressive and/or a liberal and/or a Democrat, you'll be all: Woo! Obama OWNED those guys!!

Either way, I must say Obama exercised tremendous control, as always. President O is smooth and classy (some on my side are now grumbling: a little too smooth and classy). Plus, sometimes I wonder if obnoxious people like these aren't just trying to instigate someone into doing something even crazier, so they can start some new, fresh crazy, like screaming "Oh, see? We KNEW it! Obama IS a dictator!" as the Secret Service makes them leave (Secret Service! Where were you??) (also: I think people--left and right--who haphazardly throw around words like "dictator" have a weak grasp on their true definition; they just think knocking around volatile words makes them look smarmy and smart) (it does not).

I will say that, as much as I think the two people in this video seriously need to brush up on their manners for Situations Dealing With VIPs Who Could Totally Have The IRS Put Them In Tax Hell For All Eternity, I'll give it to them: they were courageous to take on the leader of the free world as just ordinary citizens. They used completely disrespectful tones of voice while doing so, but they were very, very courageous. Crazy people often are.

But man. I still watch stuff like this and think: Really, fellow Americans? Really?? This is the president. THE President. You may not like him, you may disagree with his policies, you may even think he's bad for the country. So what? This is the President. Voice your disagreement, voice whatever is displeasing you, but show some frickin' respect. Use the word "Sir," a lot. Check your tone of voice. Speak your mind, but for the love of Reagan, don't badger. Badgering always makes you look like an obnoxious a-hole trying too hard. Don't take my word on that--go watch Bill O'Reilly or Keith Olbermann on youtube for proof. The only people who should be badgering the President of the United States are his political opponents (the ones in actual power, not the ones shouting at Rachel Maddow from their La-Z-Boy recliners). Oh, and FOX News analysts. They get to badger the President, too. But only because they need to feel very, very busy and important. We should all become nervously concerned if FOX News people suddenly don't have enough to do.

But Amy! (I hear you protest.) People have always gotten hot and bothered about politics. Even people back in George Washington's day got all hot and bothered about major political issues. Yes, it's true. But don't you agree they seemed to do so in more respectful, effective ways? Maybe leaning a tad passive aggressive with their flowery use of the King's English, but you know...times were simpler back then and passive aggression was really all they had. There was no twitter, no on-demand TV with 4500 channels, and people weren't bombarded with a gabillion new reality shows every year. And they always prefaced the passive aggression with words like "Sir" and "Gentlemen." And they bowed a lot, because that's what you have to do when you're forced to wear ruffled, romantic poet shirts and tight breeches as every day garb. And they always gallantly took off their 3 corner hats when greeting foes. And even if they were going to shoot your head off in a duel, they were always polite about that, too: duels totally had rules of honor.

George Washington was so polite, in fact, he stopped the whole Revolutionary War so he could return that one British general his lost dog. Nowadays, news of a prominent political figure doing something like that would be hacked to death by 50 different pundits for 2 weeks 24/7, or however long a news cycle is. And 800 anti-George Washington bloggers and other citizens would find 10 million different ways to call the father of our country a big, wussy wimpy wuss not worthy of the position. And every single person in the country would either obsessively love him for the decision to return the dog, or despise and deride him for it, calling him a traitor to the cause, possibly even demanding proof he was a citizen. Some would probably also demand impeachment, even though George technically wasn't even president when he did that, and you can't impeach non-presidents..though I don't think that had officially been decided yet as the Constitution was still being finalized. But honestly, who cares if it was finalized or not or even what it said when it was finally finalized? Who the heck has time for stinkin' facts these days?

I contend that if George Washington did something nice for an enemy today, many people would resort to brawling in online forums with one another about it, in ways that made them appear to have the maturity level of my 2 year old. People would post angry tweets and facebook status updates, and other people would make snarky comments about their snarky comments.

And George Washington would probably never have even had a 2nd term if he were president today, because probably the Whigs (or whoever) would have filibustered the whole ratification of the Constitution which would have sent the whole world spiraling into insane madness, and they wouldn't have even cared about that because nowadays it's all about political posturing and re-elections, not doing what will save the country from looking like one big jackass.

Which obviously means the Louisiana Purchase would have fallen through due to excessive litigation by money hungry lawyers, Texas would be its very own country right now (I mean, nearly every Governor right up to the current one has suggested it, often out loud), which means in 2011 we'd all be angry at illegal Texans taking all our underpaid agricultural, maid service, and landscaping jobs, and they'd probably insist on speaking some weird language they call Texican and they'd slap it all over billboards in stately neighborhoods. Oh, my fellow citizens! You think we're a messy mess right now? Be glad there was no internet, social media, MSNBC, FOX News/Nation, or CNN back in 1776.

We live in strange times.

Confession #1: I thought George W. Bush was bad for America. I did not agree with his presence in the White House. I did not like his policies. I'm pretty sure his (weak grasp on) economics and his bizarre trickle down ideas helped drive us straight into the recession we're currently not enjoying. And I really (desperately) wish he'd have studied harder at fully grasping the nuances of our shared native language. But I always liked him tremendously on a personal level; I really, really WANTED to vote for him. I just couldn't. I still say George W. Bush is probably great fun at barbecues. I was angry and horrified at the (thankfully not American--how embarrassing would that have been?) guy who threw a shoe at him, and I most certainly would never have spoken to him like he was some kind of inept grocery store cashier I was having a disagreement with regarding a coupon.

And you know why I'm so sure about all of that, how I know I'd never have been, never would be to this day, disrespectful to our former president's face? It has come to my attention, in recent years, that George W. Bush and I may share a common ancestor, and despite this very real and important family connection, George W. Bush never once invited me to the White House while he was in charge. Yes, I'm serious! Not even once! And my dad, mom, and brother totally voted for him. And THEY never got any White House invitations either. And yet he had and still has an open invitation to any of our summer barbecues. That's just the kind of socialist commie pinko I am.

Which is why I watch videos like the one above and think: Wow. Just wow. Total consumption by egoic fantasies of self-righteous indignation with a general lack of facts to back one's self up= so awkward to watch. That's one of the most powerful men on Earth, second only to Donald Trump's powerful ego (awkward as well), and he (Obama, not Trump's ego) deserves a certain level of protocol. Shouldn't all presidents? Even if they never invite you to a single White House ball despite the fact you possibly share a trace smidgeon of genetics?

What is happening to us, friends? As a society, as a people, as a species? That behaving like this, in public, has become okay? This is normal? Acceptable? We've totally turned into crappy party guests, spilling our red wine and dripping our cheese dip all over our host's brand new carpet, not even attempting to try to clean up after ourselves. And some of us even try to find ways to make it look like it was the host's own fault to start with.

Confession #2: I know I'm completely being part of the problem I'm currently complaining about in this blog post. I also know:

(A) I'm kind of wasting my time--the internet is simply not a conducive location for reaching hearts and changing minds, and certainly not when it involves emotionally-charged things like politics and religion. Besides, friends who share my political leanings might read this and suddenly this blog could be Ground Zero for angry hippies.

Confession #3: I am often an angry hippie, though I was born 3 years too late.

(B) I also know blogs, Facebook, Twitter, etc. are simply not places sincere political discourse will ever happen--I mean, take Facebook for instance. It's a living room, and we're sipping our tea and coffee while nibbling dainty biscuits and making polite small talk. Then somebody busts in screeching diatribes against the Speaker of the House or the President? And at least 5 people in the room have close emotional ties to one or both of those people? Sweet friends, no. No, no, no. That's exactly like letting your dog pee on a guest's leg and then refusing to even apologize.

Example to bring this all home: My own brother (who I love with all of my heart, who once drove through a scary, severe thunderstorm in a stupidly ridiculous traffic jam, JUST to hear me give my capstone presentation for my master's degree), my beloved brother is on the opposing side of me in all things political and we've had crazy online arguments about American politics (seriously: I'm certain there are others who've witnessed these exchanges and now believe we're both mentally challenged). Because he's unable to properly read my (highly nuanced, witty, and sagely ironic) tone online, and his sarcastic, butthead tone reads all sarcastic and butthead-y because, well...he just so happens to be a sarcastic butthead. This has lead to problems, and we finally had to do an intervention on each other. And now we're okay. We're able to lightly joke about politics in person, and we agree this joking between us simply doesn't translate well online. So now we've stopped and we both try to contain the political commentary on facebook amongst polite company. It's incredibly unproductive.

Politics in this place have become so divisive. It does worry me. And kind of creeps me out.

For the record, progressive gay friends: I include you here in all this. Yes, you. You who throw glitter on our right wing politician friends at various book signings. (Though....Confession #4: in terms of angry protest, I must say this one's pretty genius...you guys get out your anger, make a political statement, AND said opponent winds up all cute and sparkly when they get home. Win-win. I really want to call this: Spreading Pixie Dust of Angry Love, and it's one more example of why I'll forever be on gay people's side in the civil rights fight. Because I mean it: next time I get upset with someone, I totally intend to pelt them with rainbow glitter.)

When I see news coverage of someone throwing a shoe at George Bush, when I watch a video of two random citizens badgering the President, when I witness trolls word-bombing people in comment sections of blogs, when I'm unsuspectingly subjected to vitriolic political facebook rants in my news feed that mess up my perfectly happy day? I find it depressing, the downside to social media. Can't we all just get along? Or at least just pelt each other with Pixie Dust of Angry Love?

In fact...you know what? I bet this is exactly how people in the North felt about family in the South and vice versa during Civil War times. And I bet they used "Sir" and "Gentlemen" during disagreements even back then. I'm really starting to suspect technology is somehow behind this poop.

Well! I'm pretty exhausted after wading through all that, are you? This has been an intensely opinionated, and not that quirky or fun blog entry. I'm sorry if it bummed you out in any way, and I'm giving you high fives and terrorist fist bumps if you stayed with me all the way to this paragraph. But I mean it, amigitos: I'm becoming increasingly concerned about this situation. Because this is not a politician-based problem (amazingly, since they create a good 80% of problems world-wide), this is an Us problem. In fact, it's the single most problem that worries me about my country, second only to climate change. In fact, I feel the two may be connected--fix climate change, and voila! Peace between the blue and red states.

So I don't know. I don't know if Obama will be re-elected or not. I know he's a citizen. I know he's not a secret Muslim, and even if he is: who frickin' cares? And if you do care, do you think you can explain why but without the words Al Qaeda or terrorist or jihad? I also know he's a great dad with a really sweet love for his girls, and he's apparently a good husband as well. Barack Obama and his family have standing invitations to any of our summer barbecues, just like the Bushes. In fact, I bet if both families showed up at the same time, we'd have a really pleasant evening together, talking and laughing and being eaten by mosquitoes.

Confession #5: I and my Marxist liberal self actually don't think he's handled all his business in the White House that well, just not for the same reasons FOX News watchers think he hasn't. For one? If I were in charge of the White House? That Oval Office would be stunning shades of electric blue and red with a silver disco ball in the ceiling, and there'd be sparkles in the corners. What the heck, Mr. O? Tan on beige?? Sir, seriously.

In spite of boring decor, I think he's a really smart, good man who's sincerely trying to do what he thinks is best for our country, so please (PLEASE) even if you disagree with me, I beg you: please stop trashing him in demeaning ways on the internet in places my eyes and brain aren't able to avoid and please also have more couth at random political pep rallies. And when your people get into power, I promise I will return the favor to you. Because even if you can't wait for the Obamas to exit the White House, I know you can at least relate to the president on a personal level when it comes to his relationships with his kids and his family. It's how I related to Bush the second, whenever he was tossing around double negatives in his speeches and invading sovereign nations.

And that's really all I'm saying: we simply must dump this negativity; it's a complete waste of your time, my time, and our Cosmic, collective energy and it's not going to fix a single thing. It never has. Disagree and voice displeasure, but don't forget your manners. And for the love of God, somebody please re-decorate the Oval Office if Obama does manage to score a second term but doesn't make it to our final summer barbecue so I can present my decor plan. And will SOMEbody teach George W. how to pronounce "nuclear" correctly before the End Times are upon us???
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