Archive | May, 2013
Aside

A Letter of Importance

31 May

Dear Boy Scouts of America,

I bet you think you’ve made some progress this week; that’s cute. Your wording, that you are now “letting gay scouts in”, is a little confusing for me. I would like to take a moment to point out to you that you weren’t officially keeping them out before; you were just forcing them to keep their sexuality a secret. This may shock you but… YOU ALREADY HAVE GAY SCOUTS IN YOUR ORGANIZATION (::cue gasps::).

I will say, I’m impressed that you seem to have found a way to piss off everyone on either side of the argument though. It’s a feat in itself to accomplish a coming together of all people in a new common hatred– you! Let me first define these two sides in shorter terms so I may refer to them more briefly as I go on. The side that is against gays as a community and who rallies against their rights I shall call “The Delusional Union of Myopic Bigots” or the DUMB side. Next I will call the group of people forced to fight for common decency and rights for gays “The Collection Of Rabble Rousers Eager for Civil Treatment” or the CORRECT side.

So would you like an award or plaque applauding your ability to catch up with the CORRECT side? I can have that made for you, but you are the guys in the race who pass out just before the finish line. I’m sure it was an oversight but you forgot to include the acceptance of gay scout leaders. An oopsie I’m sure. It’s like your friend’s partner who you forgot was coming to dinner so you didn’t include them in your reservation. You don’t then get to make a big show of things when you ask for an extra seat (like you’re a hero now and your original mistake should be forgotten). You didn’t want them at dinner; you liked things better when it was just you and your friend. Tough noogies; they are here and accepting them or not isn’t up to you, it’s your friend’s relationship. Am I using too much analogy? I’ll be more direct.

It isn’t up to you to accept or reject gays in your organization. Sure, the club is yours and you can technically make the rules but let’s not take that past the point of reason. You could also make a rule that everyone has to wear balloon animal hats, but it’s an abuse of power and it makes no sense. Actually, strike that, I like that rule better than anything pertaining to gays because that isn’t an attack on anyone. BALLOON ANIMAL HATS ALL AROUND!

I don’t want to totally deflate you, I know you thought that this was progress and you even went home and celebrated your newfound tolerance with a frozen yogurt. You were so close and yet, so far. The fact that you felt that accepting one age group of gays and not another was a positive is actually more offensive than when you didn’t want to associate with any of them. All you have done is proven that you don’t tolerate homosexuality at all. Society gave you such a hard time. Were we mean to you? You poor things, having to deal with all those yucky gays and their friends must have been awful. You hoped that giving us one little snippet of what we were yelling about would get us to go away. You still don’t even understand all of it, do you?

Your argument explaining why gays cannot be scout leaders is that apparently they are pedophiles and if you put them alone on a camping trip with young boys they would sexually abuse them. Let me see if I understand this– because they are boys who like boys, anytime they are with boys they will try to have sex with them? I guess the saddest news of all is that now all you straight men can’t coach little Janie’s girls soccer team because men just don’t know how to control themselves around a person of their sexual preference, no matter the age.

I have a solution to this dilemma, let lesbians be scout leaders and gay men can coach women’s sports… wait… no? Oh right, the problem isn’t about sexual preference at all. You are discriminating based on who people are to their core and that garbage about pedophilia was just a flimsy excuse to put off the CORRECT side.

I’m getting too riled up aren’t I? I apologize; it doesn’t solve anything to spew out hate towards the entire Boy Scouts of America Organization. To hate a group in its entirety because of their life choices is morally wrong.

I’ll give you a minute to reread and process that last sentence.

If I may wax serious for a moment here, I have some input from my own life. I was a girl scout for my entire childhood and into adolescence. Along with life skills we were taught about acceptance, sharing, community, understanding and any other nice word a thesaurus could spit out. My troop leader was a straight man and yet, despite his attraction to females in his private life, he was capable of just leading.

No, that doesn’t give him enough credit; he was incredible as a leader. He was a father and a guide who taught me to love myself and others. He bandaged wounds, taught lessons and devoted himself to our growth and at no point was it about anything else. To even have to point out that there was no sexual component to the relationship makes me ill. This was just an extraordinary man who loved children and wanted to be a part of shaping the women we became. He is one of my all time favorite people who still to this day attends my plays, comedy shows and events. I am all grown up and even now, his being straight and my being a woman has never crossed our minds.

The thing is, I think people are inherently good. The motivation for becoming part of an organization that defines itself as “Building tomorrow’s leaders” is usually rooted in a desire to help with those ideals not hurt them. Recently you were in the news because you volunteered your time to help out after the recent tornadoes in Oklahoma. I doubt anyone who took part in that, gay or straight chose to take part so they could troll for someone to sleep with amid the rubble. I think it is pretty safe to say they just wanted to do some good.

It is about more than learning to build a birdhouse or start a campfire; it is about becoming the best men they can be. As I said before, you aren’t letting gays in, they are there, contributing to and building your organization as they have been since its start. From an article in The Huffington Post I draw this wise statement, “One of the hallmarks of the Boy Scouts of America is character development and trustworthiness. How can you let a scout work for a decade on these values, but then tell him by virtue of becoming an adult, he doesn’t measure up anymore?”

If you don’t want them all, frankly you don’t deserve any of them and what they have to contribute.

My Mom and The Bee

12 May
1989-7(3)

My mom and me

My mom is the greatest.

I know that lots of people say that and we can’t all be right, but my mom really is. I think I would even get backed up by many of my friends; anyone who has met her understands.

There is a kind of magic about her that makes you feel like the air around you is giving you a warm hug. Growing up, my parents split when I was 6 and so for a couple of years when my sister and I stayed with my mom it was just us girls. Her apartment only had two bedrooms so logically my sister and I should have shared a room. Maybe it was to avoid us killing each other, or to accommodate my army of stuffed animals but I think my mother gave us separate rooms and slept in the living room because she wanted that for us. Where she lived was a sanctuary from the world and was always the place that felt like my home. Those were the years when I got to learn the most from her.

Just us girls (I'm apparently SUPER excited about that chip)

Just us girls (I’m apparently SUPER excited about that chip)

The story I remember best and that describes her perfectly is the story of the bee. My mother had a small garden out on our second floor porch and one day while watering she came upon a bee. The tiny fuzzy creature was clearly hurt as he was not flying away from the flower but rather resting on it. My sister and I of course flipped out and got upset that there was a yucky bug (and a scary bee no less). My mother scolded us for wanting to kill it and immediately retreated into the kitchen.

After a few minutes of shuffling around she reemerged with a tiny medication dropper. She had filled it with sugar water to feed the injured bee and he seemed to understand that she was there to help.

I don’t remember exactly how long this went on, but I would like to say that it was at least a week or two. Every morning she would rise, fill the dropper and quietly spend time on the porch nursing our bee. One day he grew strong enough to fly away and all I remember is her crying. I’m sure I didn’t understand how to communicate it at the time, but I was in awe of her. She had saved this one life; a life I was so ready to disregard when I first saw it because it was different than me.

Last week in my apartment I walked by a mirror and I noticed a very long squirmy bug in my hair. It had probably come from the hike I had taken with Piper but it was alarming no less. For a brief moment I thought of my options and nearly grabbed a tissue to kill it. I was instantly horrified with myself and walked calmly to my kitchen, pulled out a container and shuffled my new pal into it. When I looked inside I realized why it had looked so big; it was actually two bugs mating in my hair. I smiled to myself and thought of my mother. Knowing her she would probably say something like, “I’m proud of you for not killing those bugs… and aren’t you glad you didn’t interrupt their hot sex?!”

80's Glamazon

80’s Glamazon

She cares so much about anyone who is suffering that she almost always forgets to take care of herself. For the past year she has been fighting a serious battle with cancer and I have loved being by her side through it. The part of me that wants to be there with her through all of it comes from everything she instilled in me. I am her.

Last week, for the first time in her treatment we received the news that her cancer had shrunk dramatically. While I was on the phone with her I was stunned and speechless. I didn’t know what to say so I fumbled for words like “happy” and “relieved” because they sounded right and I felt I should say something. But the moment we hung up I burst into tears. I fell to my knees and just let it all out. Nothing in this world feels better then genuine tears of joy and I was full of them. I allowed myself the time to weep then I put on some music and danced all by myself. I love her so much and I have been scared.

More than just having a few less bees in it, the world would be worse off without my mom. What she has to offer is rare and beautiful and I am grateful every single day to have her.

1992-2

She gives the best hugs

An Ode to Allie

9 May

Inspiration can be hard to come by at times. The beautiful thing about it though is that when it hits us, it can feel like real world magic. My inspiration for starting this entire blog came from a girl named Allie who writes what I believe to be the best blog on the web. Hyperbole and a Half is s comedy blog with writing and illustrations that I would like to say has a similar tone to mine, only 1000% more amazing.

Allie’s blog is the one that I look to each post and think, “dammit, I love her and I wish that idea was my idea”. When I started my blog I wanted to have clever illustrations like her, then I ran into the hurdle of having zero artistic ability in that department. I wanted to cover kooky topics and make them relatable like she does. In a non creepy way I want her to be my best friend forever.

Yet everything she produces makes me worry that I am inadequate. How could my blog possibly matter in a world that has hers?

For a long while she stopped writing. She came back with a post a few months ago about her depression and I thought maybe that was her way of trying to work through it and I’d see more. I was wrong and there was another span of silence. The link on my favorites bar (next to Weather, Google, NPR, Dictionary, Wikipedia and my blog, if that is any indication of how high she ranks in importance) stayed there and I would regularly click on it. Each time in the few moments it took for the site to load I would hold my breath and hope. Some days when I checked I even thought to myself, “I need her today… if she is there today will get better”. Each time I was left without a new snippet from her and I actually missed her. This girl who I’ve never met and could crash into on the streets and not recognize, had become important to me.

Then today, while casually web surfing, there she was. I read the post like a starved squirrel after winter. The topic was part two for the original depression posting. It walked me through some feelings and situations that I have been in myself, including an undertone of inadequacy. After reading it twice I was upset that the brilliant Allie could ever feel inadequate. To be fair she never officially says she does feel inadequate or that it is part of her depression, but I felt it. I could see myself in her all the days I was down and didn’t write in my blog, feeling like it wasn’t enough.

Time passes slower and faster all at once when I stop writing. Every day is a day that I’m disappointing myself for not trying harder but then when I check in months have gone by. A collection of dozens of disappointing days all lumped together.

“Why bother?” — the self defeating question between me and the world. It is a deep fear of rejection, disappointment and inadequacy. After a long stretch of not writing I worry that people won’t want to read anymore. But wait… after Allie took a long break did I stop reading? No. If she disappeared for years and then came back would I like her any less? No.

I checked my stats. On the days I leave a status on Facebook about a new post I consistently have at least 50 people who read my blog– even after a long hiatus. That number is certainly higher than the consistent 10 I had last year. Imagine where I could be if I keep pushing forward and give it my all.

Allie had over 400 comments by early afternoon today, everyone saying how thrilled they were to see her back. She obviously went through something very personal that she needed to sort through, and my life mirrors that perfectly. So I guess what I would say to her (and hopefully someday to myself) is that she is wonderful. When she works hard, what she produces makes her exceptional and the world is better because of it. Self doubt affects us all sometimes, but I have the utmost faith in her to always deliver, especially when she isn’t even trying. She is always enough.

Someday I hope there is a blogger out there who reads what I write and it inspires her to do the same. Allie did that for me and for that I am eternally grateful.

Aside

To String or Not To String?

7 May

Lately I feel like many of the people I love are turning on me. I’m a good person. The way I choose to eat my string cheese should not change that.

A few weeks ago while sitting around with my Improv friends I casually reached into my purse to pull out a tasty mozzarella snack. I opened it up, pulled it out and bit the top clean off. The entire room went quiet as the lite conversation around me was apparently overshadowed by my vile behavior. Not one person looked anything less than horrified. My friend Tom informed me that not stringing my cheese made me a psycho.

I have since brought this topic up with other friends and family and the general consensus seems to be extreme shock and distaste. What is so wrong with this?! When you string the cheese all you get is tiny unsatisfying little bits of cheese. It inevitably never pulls all the way from top to bottom so you end up with a thin tapering worthless cheese fragment.

Processed mozzarella isn’t brimming with flavor to begin with, so to deny ones self the opportunity for a mouthful of cheese is what I deem to be silly. I want the maximum amount of chewing sensation.

I believe that if this particular product was not branded as “String Cheese” at any point in history, nobody would eat it as such. Maybe there would have been a select few people (like the people who eat their Oreo cookies funny) who would have discovered the option to peel their dairy like a banana, but they would not have been the majority. People act as though it is inherently correct to eat the cheese strung, but I am suggesting that this is not the natural way. This means that technically, the people eating their cheese by ripping at it with their grubby fingers are actually just playing into what “The Man” thinks you should do (also, since when is it considered more civilized to tear at food with our hands?) The cheese company tells people to string their cheese and string it they will. What has happened to free will and thinking outside the box?

Sargento cheese company has a line of premium cheese snacks all shaped like the snack we know and love; but guess what? It’s unstringable (a new adjective I will attempt to use in a sentence later today). See, at the Sargento company they understand that when someone has chosen cheese for a snack, they want a quality experience. I believe that this new and improved snacking option proves that the evolution of stick cheese shows its progress in the unstringable version.

I take no issue with other people wanting to eat their string cheese the demanded way (it looks like lots of fun, really) I just also want to be allowed to chomp in peace. To judge me for my choice is to stifle and reject me and we as a people are better than that. I for one want to save time and energy whilst snacking and I want to stick it to The Man by biting down on my cheese in honor of freedom and the creative process.

I truly appreciate this forum to discuss the important social issues.

Noodles

6 May

I’m fighting a nasty cold right now so I should write about something I love to perk up.

I friggin love noodles.

Whenever I get sick I always want nothing but noodle soup to eat. I’m pretty sure that the consistency of the rice ones that come in Vietnamese Pho soup actually absorb germs, thus curing me.

What is it that makes them so wonderful? I recently tried spaghetti squash as a healthier alternative to pasta. It has the same shape, consistency and once you put sauce on it, it basically tastes the same, but my mouth wasn’t fooled. Maybe because I knew ahead of time that it was a vegetable… maybe not. I really think there is an addictive chemical in noodles that my body responds to. If that is the case then trying to sub in squash is always a useless idea. What is the point? If I want squash I will say so and it will be butternut because that is just tasty. No more of this impostor squash. Imagine if other foods pretended to be something better than what they were. “I’m brownie lettuce, soft and gooey and warm!” Those are three adjectives I do not want my lettuce to be. Stick to what you are good at lettuce– cradling large amounts of dressing.

Back to noodles though… dammit I love them.

Growing up my mother often allowed me to choose my own foods at meals. This was not any form of neglect, I assure you. This decision was the result of a few factors:

  1. She is the nicest lady on the planet.
  2. She hates confrontation.
  3. She thought very highly of my abilities in life and apparently trusted all my choices (this shows a healthy amount of support and encouragement)

So by middle school I had chosen to eat ramen noodles for almost every meal (proof that I was a child prodigy). Those were the most delicious years of my life and often times I look back and tear up because I can no longer reasonably live that way. Being an adult is so lame sometimes.

I had a whole system to maximize the noodle-y goodness. I would wake up a few minutes earlier and start the water boiling right away. This way, once they were all prepared I had the extra time to let them sit so the noodles could absorb all the sodium loaded glory. The noodles would get all fat and mushy– I realize that doesn’t sound appealing, but holy Dumbledore, it is incredible. Those seasoning packets are better than crack (and this coming from a girl who has never tried crack but I just believe it in my soul). I don’t know now if I could choose a favorite flavor but I think if I was forced I would say Oriental. Is that racist?

Isn’t it amazing to think that I would actually set my alarm earlier and think ahead when it came to my noodle planning? I don’t think I ever did my homework earlier than homeroom and that includes major papers and studying for tests. My priorities were brilliant. I think now that I managed to do alright in school because I had super brain power from the noodles. If anyone reading this decides they want to test that theory I am willing to take part in that study.

Noodles really have brought so much joy to my life. Whenever I eat them I feel immediately happy. So what if I lived off them for years as a child? What harm could all that palm oil possibly have done? I mean, yes, I did have cancer a few years ago… but no doctor knows what caused that. That could have been from anything. I could easily say that I got cancer because after middle school I ate less noodles…

Let’s go with that theory; it means more noodles.

Lunacy in Iced Coffee

3 May

The picture I had of my afternoon entailed me sitting by the river outside my apartment with an iced coffee and writing in the sunlight. Yet, as is the case with many things in life, things did not turn out the way I had imagined. The detail of the delicious iced coffee was key to my complete fulfillment but somehow, here I am instead with a room temperature, watered down, auburn imposter. How I reached this point is a sad tale of a young woman who is so terrified of confrontation or the idea of “bothering” others that she lives with endless ruined cups of coffee.

So how did it happen? Quality iced coffee is so easy to obtain; or is it? Let me walk through it.

As a true New Englander I went to good ol’ Dunkin Donuts.  I appreciate a place like this because Starbucks intimidates me and I always feel like I don’t belong (even though I think technically as a beverage drinking, laptop toting writer with a secret love for Josh Groban, I am their target customer). The venue choice was not my mistake but rather the decision to use the drive through because, as I learned today, you should be looking your barista in the eye when she makes your beverage. Intimidation is necessary to keep them in line.

Let me first be a little fair to the worker under scrutiny. I should say that my coffee order is obnoxious and it is possible it makes me a van driving soccer mom; minus the van, the kids, overpriced loafers and a taste for boxed wine. My preference is “a medium, iced, half caff, black, with three Splenda”. Trust me when I say it sounds as stupid to me as it does to you, but I have my reasons. I am sensitive to caffeine as it gives me migraines when consumed in normal to large amounts. Because of this I need a mixture of half regular and half decaf mixed together. I realize I could avoid the caffeine altogether but I like the hop it adds to my step and ordering pure decaf would make me a ninny. **NOTE: I am aware the using the word “sensitive” rather than “allergic” makes me suspect and an asshole.

As for inserting the word “black” into the order rather than just an omission of the words “cream” or “milk”, apparently Dunkin Donuts customers are not habitually black coffee drinkers. If you don’t specify they will in fact add cream or at least ask you (as though you just hit a puppy) “wait, you don’t want cream?!”  Forget the rest of the order for the moment: I take issue with this alone. To me, this is the equivalent of a restaurant adding vodka to all orange juice orders because so many people are drinkers. Sure, a lot of people would be psyched about surprise day drinking, but when asking for OJ one should be able to assume they are getting just that. What if they served that screwdriver to a recovering alcoholic or a lightweight who has to drive home? What if the coffee shop that this great country “runs on” served cream to someone who is lactose intolerant? Giving someone the poops at the start of a workday is as unforgiveable as giving a vegetarian some bacon on their veggie burger. Sure, we all know it tastes better and that bacon is a key ingredient for awesome on everything, but let them eat their crappy patty however they choose. If I order coffee, I want coffee, and the addition of cream is a separate request.

But getting back to how this order got lost in translation; the Dunkin Donuts worker was beyond baffled by the concept of half regular/half decaf IN THE SAME CUP. How could this be? It would mean that she would have to stop pouring sooner, put down one type of coffee, pick up the other and finish the rest of the pour with it. Mind boggling, I know. Quantum Physics and Liquid Mixing were her two weak subjects in school and she thought she could get away with a life of never having to use either; I really threw a wrench into that plan. I had to actually explain the concept to her in steps because “it means half regular and half decaf” didn’t get the message through. “Just fill the cup half way with regular and then pour the decaf in the other half”…those words came out of my mouth today; seriously. Are there not enough hipsters ordering trendy things like half caff to help me spread the word? Maybe they are all in the cafés with nonsensical names so I am on my own at a major chain.

In the explaining of such lofty concepts, the rest of my drink order was lost. When I drove up to the window I was handed a LARGE, HOT, half caff, black with NO SPLENDA. Can I get a round of applause for this girl for getting it kind of half right? Maybe I will send her an award certificate for her accomplishments. Corporate should be paying me for the useful and intensive training I provide. She has now mastered the subtle art of half caff and this winner actually had a pride-filled grin on her face when handing me my order.

Here is the moment when my biggest downfall occurs though; I thanked her and drove away.

I took the drink from her, realized it was wrong, put it in my cupholder, paid for it, thanked her and left. All the while in my mind I was thinking, “This is NOT what I ordered but I don’t want to bother her.” BOTHER HER?! It would have taken her mere seconds to put the drink in a cup with ice and some splenda but I actually thought, “Well, I have those things at home, I will fix it so she doesn’t have to.” I think on some level this makes me nice, but barely. Mostly it makes me an idiot and a doormat with bad hot coffee on a hot day.

When I get home I go through a series of other unfortunate events all due to my inability to advocate for myself:

1.     The glass: Too small. It is a Newbury Comics glass I got in college for getting suckered into signing up for their useless email list. Why this glass in particular? Because my dishwasher is still broken after the maintenance man came and thought he fixed it but OOPS, didn’t. I haven’t called him again because I don’t want to hurt his feelings in telling him he didn’t actually accomplish anything the last time.

2.     The ice: Smells funky because the ice maker in my freezer needs a new filter and in the meantime I am left to choose whether my drinks are warm or smell/taste like hamster. Why isn’t it fixed? Because that would entail calling the maintenance man, and we already know how complex and emotional my relationship is with him.

I filled the glass with ice, poured hot coffee over said ice thus instantly melting the ice and watering down the coffee. Then, distracted by my mission to fix this, I drank the unsweetened version of this sludge in slow excruciating sips to make room for the fact that the genius in the pink and orange work polo had given me a large (which also means I was charged more money).

Thankfully there were no snags with the Splenda, but by the time I added it all was lost and it wouldn’t even mix in. It just sank sadly to the bottom like a metaphor of all my hopes and dreams.

I clearly have issues, but they sure do keep life interesting.

Image

Notice the white tuft of bubbles as proof of the smelly ice cubes now melted in

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