Stuff from the Attic (June 2009 Edition)

In the wake of the recent (and, let it be said, extremely fun) Claire De Lunacy blogoversary, I’ve found myself struggling to come up with something blog-worthy to fill this site. I’ve had several false starts, but they seemed too facile or insubstantial to sustain an entire post (and if something on THIS site is too ephemeral to support a post, you know we’re in trouble). So, just to keep the blood pumping, I present to you the following list of topics currently banging around in my noggin’.

1) Henchmen of shared nationality and language who, despite being utterly alone unless fighting the hero of the pic or book, speak English with each other. We’ve all seen this a thousand times. James Bond is scampering about, chopping necks and turning his shoe into a shaped charge against the wall of the evil mastermind’s lair, and miles away, Sergei and Boris are walking the perimeter, conversing in a language they no doubt had to learn for solely professional reasons.  “But,” I hear you asking, “what if they’re under orders to speak English, so that the dastardly associates of their employer can speak with them directly? What if, in the underworld of crime and perfidity, English functions much as it does in the world of legitimate business, a sort of koine that assures everyone is at a mutual disadvantage during negotiations?”

To which I reply, “Oh, piffle.”

Seriously, if you’re in another country (even for work) and you’re back at the hostel, waiting for dinner or to be abducted and sold into white slavery until rescued by Liam Neeson, are you chatting with your mates in Castillian about the latest episode of 30 Rock? Of course you aren’t.

[NOTE: Obviously, this rule doesn’t apply if you’ve brought a potential love interest back to the apartment, in which case you behave as though you were steeped in the same cultural and linguistic influences they were, so that they see you are a person of substance, and also so that they will let you touch their naughty bits.]

But Sergei and Boris aren’t interested in gettin’ it on, they’re (presumably) trying to pop a cap in the gent from MI-6. Plus, in accordance with the Convenient Plot Furtherance Act of 1982, they are inevitably childhood friends who dreamt of one day working as the muscle for one of many human embodiments of evil, and are therefore no longer trying to impress one another.

Bottom line, henchpeople who are nowhere near people who do not speak their mother tongue should converse in it without feeling obligated to help the audience along.

[This goes double for Klingons.]

2) And speaking of James Bond, why can’t we have a movie about Q-Branch? James Bond is 007. That means there are at least six other 00’s out there (unless they start with 000, in which case there are seven), and I’m betting that they give Q-Branch as much trouble as James does. Are we meant to believe that wacky hijinks ensue only when The Man Who Really Should Only Be Played By Sean Connery or Pierce Brosnan comes around? I think not.

I’m picturing a series of films starring John Cleese. Music by Danny Elfman, with special guest Eric Idle as “Zed,” the lowest-ranking member of Q-Branch whose zany antics create problems for R at first, but ultimately provide the solution to the crisis facing the team.

Gold, I’m telling you. GOLD.

3) Cable Internet should not just fail for no discernible reason. I pay top dollar each month for Road Runner Turbo. When it works, it is a heavenly connection to the global information stream. When it fails (which it does with alarming regularity ever since Time Warner sent me an “improved” replacement modem to exchange for the old one that worked PERFECTLY WELL WITHOUT ANY TROUBLE, EVER), my wrath becomes a molten volcano of  earth-scorching magma, eager to strip the flesh and sinew from those who have denied me the chance to show Dramatic Prairie Dog to the one friend who hasn’t yet seen it.

Even now, THIS VERY SECOND, my Internet is out for the fourth time today. The FOURTH TIME! It often lasts for an hour or more. Requests for assistance are met with blank stares or infuriating questions (especially to an IT person) like “Have you restarted your computer?” and “Is your house properly wired for both electricity and cable?”

No, jackass, I’m living in a sod house on the banks of Plum F-ing Creek with Mary and Laura.

Bah!

[This topic may grow into a full-blown entry, depending on how my next volley of requests is handled by the TWC crew.]

4) Hormones make you fat. OK, I’ll admit that the pepper-and-olive pizza I eat a little too often is aiding and abetting the ‘mones in their evil quest to turn my ass into an earthwork, but my regular workouts don’t cut the difference anymore. When, last week, I realized I had not only stopped losing weight (even with the help of Fullbar), but was GAINING, I knew it was time to take drastic measures. So, now I work out twice a day…strength and flexibility in the morning, aerobic exercise at night (if you know what I mean, wink, wink, nudge, nudge. Oh, who am I kidding, I’m riding a freaking bike).

So far, I’ve stopped gaining. However, my overall wimpiness and disturbingly taut pants suggest even more drastic measures may be necessary, e.g. not eating a bowl of cereal every night even though cereal is a gift from Ceres to show that we are worthy of deliciousness.

And if I have to eliminate cheese, there may very well be no point to living.

Also, I could probably stand to workout harder. And longer.And, God help us all, join a gym.

Me! Be a joiner! The mind boggles. Ah, well, no one said being a glamor girl was easy.

But if that fails, I am just biting the bullet and shopping around for an eating disorder like my friends. Well, I mean, an eating disorder that makes me thin rather than saurian.

5) Chaz Bono has a rough ride ahead. I feel Chaz’s pain. Here’s a person who has spent their life trapped in the wrong body, and has weight issues to boot. Chaz, buddy, I am pulling for you! I hope that, as they did for me, your weight issues start to resolve as you resolve your gender issues. Plus, the testosterone will help you build muscle, which, as the Lotte Berk method teaches us, eats fat. Sure, you’ll have to work hard, but I’ll bet that with your limitless financial resources and access to Hollywood’s beautification professionals, you’ll be running through the surf, Hasselhoff-style, in no time flat.

Just remember the words of C.S. Lewis: “You don’t have a soul. You ARE a soul. You HAVE a body.”

Also, please remember that I was so supportive and send me any extra trainers and/or plastic surgeons you have laying around.

6) Going back to school is nerve-wracking but also exciting as hell. For those of you who don’t know, I’m going back to college in the Winter quarter of 2009-2010. I made a promise to myself when I was but a sprout, and that promise was that I would become a doctor of philosophy in the science of linguistics. As of this year, that dream begins to come true. I’m writing essays, I’m gathering letters of recommendation, I’m purchasing raccoon coats and little football pennants that say things like “Rah!” (just in case I’m thrown back in time and have to wrap things up in the 1920s). I suspect that my mania regarding this process is the real reason I’ve been blog-avoidant of late; I’ve been trying to conserve my creative and intellectual juices so that I may make a favorable impression on the doyens et doyennes of academia who will determine my worthiness for further growth.

Not that they want to hear about my juices, creative or otherwise. In fact, I’m fairly certain no one does. Let’s just pretend I never said it and focus on my casual usage of French in a context designed to make me appear worldly without being a pompous ass.

There – that’s better, non?

7) My being transgendered does not give you the right to disrespect me. I didn’t want to take a whole blog post with this topic, as this particular saw has several busted teeth, but a recent incident freaked me the hell out and I had to say something.

I keep an announcement board on the window of my office, a little dry-erase deal with the names of myself and my assistant written along the left-hand side, with a magnetic dot indicating whether we are “in” or “out,” and a space to clarify as necessary (e.g., “in a pointless meeting,” “saving children from burning orphanage,” “having lunch with the Married Crush in the hope that my telepathy will finally kick in and she will find herself immersed in the golden sunbeams of my undying adoration, whereby she will realize she has been a fool to toy with me and loves me as well,” et hoc genus omne). Usually, I don’t even look at the board; I just slide the dot from “out” to “in,” unlock my office, and begin counting the minutes ’til five o’clock.

That day, however, I noticed something different.

Someone had erased “Claire” and written my OLD name. Not the name by which I was known, mind you, but my old LEGAL name.

Now, I hear some of you asking “So? What’s the big deal?” and I get that, I really do. After all, it was just a simple scribble on a white board.

That said, imagine if you will my confusion and, yes, fear. Here was a bit of information that, while hardly a state secret, was not common knowledge, even among my friends. Here was an act that said, in essence, “I am denying you exist, and I am quite literally attempting to erase you.” Was this a harmless prank, or was some whack-a-do hiding in the creepy warehouse shelves behind me, waiting for me to be distracted so they could brain me with a pipe wrench and add bits of my body to the silver skeleton in their basement?

In erasing my name and writing the old one, they were (whether they were cognizant of the fact or not) challenging my right to exist as myself. They were attacking me, in a “safe” place, with my own possessions.

I felt violated. I felt sick.

And then I got angry.

I wiped the board clean, re-wrote my name clearly and firmly, and then e-mailed HR.

Now, it must be said that the HR department was exceptionally helpful and kind. They immediately contacted security to see if any tape was available for the time when the “prank” most likely occurred. They were sympathetic to my concerns, and assured me that action would be taken against the person who had done this. After talking with them, I felt reassured – clearly, someone cared and would support me.

Presently, the perpetrator remains unknown (at least to me). I’m not going to pretend this is as serious as the attacks that happen to transpeople every day, both in this country and worldwide. After all, I didn’t have to earn my lesson with blood or, worse yet, my life.  But to me, a girl who is already hyper-vigilant when in public, the loss of one of the few places I felt safe to relax my guard is a very real attack on me and my right to live my life.

I’m not going to let it change my desire to see the good in people, or to try my best to be an ambassador for transpeople to the mainstream world.

But just the same, Ice Station Zebra is a little colder these days.

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Fullbar© 2009: The Fittening

Hey, kids.

Well, it’s been a while, hasn’t it? Other than keeping up with my poetry and trying to throw in the occasional comic, I haven’t done much blogging of late.  This is because, as they say, life intrudes. I suppose that, ultimately, I’d rather have too much life to live and neglect my blog than too much blogging and neglect my life.

Besides, life is the fuel that fires the engine of the blog. Stop living, stop blogging (I’m looking at you, Perez Hilton).

But I digress. Today’s post is about an exciting new addition to my battle against The Chub. Yes, dear readers, I have become one of “those” people (well, I guess it’s more correct to say I’ve added another category to my classification as one of “those” people).

I ordered Fullbar©.

For those of you unfamiliar with the concept, Fullbar© is a nutritional supplement/weight loss aid cleverly disguised as a spongy, flexible brick of fiber. You eat one twice a day with a large glass of water, 30 minutes before your two biggest meals. The ostensible purpose of this is staving off hunger by telling your brain you’re full before you start eating – a feat easily accomplished because the Fullbar© absorbs the water like nobody’s business.

Today is day one of my Fullbar© experiment, and my initial impressions are as follows:

1) This thing is yummier than it has any right to be. Seriously, I had a cranberry-almond bar at 5:10 this morning, carefully chewing each bite to avoid having the whole bar swell up to the size of a mattress inside me and explode me like a bird eating rice. But it wasn’t too arduous a task – the bar itself was oddly like a Rice-Krispy-Treat in texture, with puffed brown rice and rice syrup taking the place of toasted white rice and marshmallow. It was slightly tacky to the touch, but not sticky. And the taste, as I said, was pretty darn good. Like an especially chewy granola bar.

2) It may prove difficult to follow-up with a mini-meal after eating one of these bastards. I’m supposed to eat six mini-meals a day, the two largest preceded by a Fullbar© as indicated. The trouble I’m running into is that not only did I not want my 5:30 meal this morning, I was still pretty full at 8:00. But, because the good doctor instructs us not to skip any meals lest our brain realize we are pulling a little legerdemain, I was a good little Fullbarite and ate my weight-control protein-infused oatmeal at 8:00. I’m kind of wondering what I’ll eat at lunchtime now…maybe some air? One Cheez-It and a piece of pepperoni?

3) The biggest surprise is that I don’t feel like I’m on a “program.” Diets and I have a checkered history. I’ve done the grapefruit diet. I’ve done the Mayo Clinic diet. I’ve even, in a moment of insanity, done Deal-a-Meal. Most everything I’ve tried has felt like a chore on day one. This being day one of Fullbar©, I fully intended to experience the sort of exasperated disillusionment that characterizes my attempts to defeat The Chub. To my very pleasant surprise, I have not. I think the primary difference stems from:

A) It’s not so much a diet as it is a complete restructuring of my eating habits

and

B) I’m at a point in my life where food is no longer a necessary crutch to deal with my inner demons (that’s what Grey Goose is for!)

Kidding! I’m kidding. Everyone knows I prefer Bombay Sapphire.

In addition to faithfully noshing a responsible meal-ette every three hours, I’ve also been instructed to drink at least 60 oz of water a day, work out three times a week, and stay positive.

That’s it.

I’m cautiosly optimistic about this whole mess, and trying to keep my expectations realistic. Yes, in trials, folks following the Fullbar© method lost 40% of their excess body weight in three months. That’s very encouraging, but I also know that the REAL success with this (or any other method of weight loss) will begin and end with my ability to stay true to my goals.

We’ll see how I do.

UNACCEPTABLE!!! (Holiday Edition 2008)

Dear Readers:

With the holidays just around the corner, you may be feeling a bit overwhelmed by the season. To help you make sense of this time of both joy and insane busy-ness, our planet’s top minds (Actual number of minds: one. Actual proximity to the top: eh, up there somewhere between home schooled kids and that Ken Jennings guy) have declared the following things to be immediately and irrevocably unacceptable for all eternity.

To wit:

1) Slanket: SNUGGILY UNACCEPTABLE!!! Yeah, yeah, I know, it was part of my Giftstravaganza Guide. That’s because we all need something we can buy on a whim and give to the person who would otherwise be receiving Hickory Farms products from us. But Slanket (and its insidious, low-rent doppelganger, the Snuggie) are forces for evil in this world, encouraging slothful, couch-based living and, more terrifyingly, ensconcing their victims in cozy warmth that will lull them gently into slumber – a slumber that will prove most unfortunate when they are captured by the aliens who created Slanket and taken off-world for menial labor and the entertainment of the alien masses.

FEEL MY TOASTY WRATH: Henceforth, all Slankets will be used to pacify violent offenders in our nation’s maximum security prisons. Alternatively, they may be turned around and used as bathrobes for giants.

2) Christmas in October: ANACHRONISTICALLY UNACCEPTABLE!!! OK, so I can understand that retailers don’t want to set out their holiday wares on December 22nd. But do they need to start bombarding us with Christmas cheer the same week as Halloween? Hello, there’s a whole ‘nother holiday in between the two! And I, for one, think National Cake Day deserves a little more respect.

TASTE MY TIMELY JUSTICE: From this day on, anyone caught displaying a Santa and a Jack O’ Lantern concurrently will be forced to watch “A Christmas Story” on mute while listening to Vincent Price’s soliloquy from “Thriller” on a loop.

3) Novelty Christmas Music Performed  by Animals: ANTHROPOMORPHICALLY UNACCEPTABLE!!! You know they’re out there, waiting. During the rest of the year, you feel confident you can avoid them. Oh, sure, you might be exposed to the occasional Billy Bass or analogous Chthulu-level horror, but overall you have an excellent radar when it comes to people who enjoy watching animals sing. Then along comes Christmakwaanzukkah, and suddenly you can’t open an e-mail or a white elephant gift without being exposed to – God help us all – Jingle Cats, Bark the Halls or whatever the hell this is. What in the name of all that is good and holy happened to Silent Night?

MY BITE IS WORSE THAN MY BARK: The degree of unacceptability involved requires the harshest treatment: offenders will henceforth be locked in a room with Bob Barker, a tarp and pruning shears, and will only be released when they have been spayed and/or neutered. It’s for the good of the species, people.

4) Delivering a Flawless Rendition of Steve Martin’s Christmas soliloquy from My Blue Heaven and Receiving Only Dull, Cow-Eyed Stares in Return: ENSEMBLE-COMEDICALLY UNACCEPTABLE!!! You spend years perfecting your craft (i.e., practicing in an offhand manner and relying heavily on your brain’s inability to forget anything it’s been exposed to, ever), and these are the thanks you get? Do you think that accent happens by itself, people? I put GEL IN MY HAIR, for Pete’s Sake! GEL!

WHAT’S ARUGULA? IT’S A VEG-A-TAB-UL: You are all hereby ordered to watch this movie and love it as I do, or I will be forced to reveal my hitherto-hidden infinite mental powers and wish you all into a cornfield.

5) The Following Conversation, Held Annually: PARENTALLY UNACCEPTABLE!!!

<RING, RING>

MA: Hello?

MOI: Hey, Ma. What does Dad want for Christmas this year?

MA: Well, you know your father. He’s impossible to buy for.

MOI: What about a tool? I think I saw a Deluxe HeeberJeeber 2000 on sale at Sears. Does he have one of those?

MA: Oh, honey, who knows what he’s got out in that garage? I haven’t been out there since 1978, and I don’t plan to go back. You know the socket wrenches went feral back in the early 90’s!

MOI: OK, well, what about clothes? I saw a very nice sweatshirt/flannel lumberjack thing/Cleveland Browns hat at the store the other day and…

MA: <noncommittal noise>

MOI: What?

MA: Well, I already got him one of those.

MOI: DAMN IT!

This is why my father has received a wallet from me every year for thirty-two years. They’re stacked up like cordwood.

I’M NOT A FREAKING PSYCHIC: Let the clarion call go forth, to the four corners of the land! Whoever invents a device that will detect the three tools my father does not already own at Christmas time shall receive a bounty of gold doubloons and, it goes without saying, several nice wallets.

Ignore these tips at your peril, my friends, because at any time, anywhere, you could find your stocking filled with a lump of coal we like to call…UNACCEPTABLE!!!

Bittersweet Thanksgiving (But Mostly Sweet)

So here’s the thing:

You can’t spell “Thanksgiving Blast” without “LGBT!”

Well, you can, but then it’d just be “hanksivin as” which makes no freaking sense, you weirdo.

Let me tell you a little story, kids.

Back in the bad old days, before I came out and began transition, Thanksgiving was a fun time for me, but as with most other special occasions, a shadow lay across my heart.

This year, however, the shadow was lifted, and you know why?

Of course not. Otherwise, why would I need to tell you? Honestly.

Anyway, the reason was that I attended my first TransOhio Thanksgiving dinner. Inside the Center on High, I met some amazing people from all walks of life, and had a lot of laughs, conversation, and green bean casserole. For the first time, I could be myself, without fear of judgement or recrimination (well, without fear of judgement or recrimination for being transgendered. My personality remains a valid reason to hurl both). It was one of the best times of my young (cough, cough) life.

Of course, this was also the first Thanksgiving I didn’t share with my family. Due to a lack of extra vacation, I wasn’t with them when they loaded up the Giant Van of Babysitting and schlepped deep into Kentucky to meet my Mother’s extended family for a rip-roarin’ turkey-fest.

And I DID miss them, of course. I missed Ma’s ridiculously delicious lemon meringue pie and stuffing (separately, not together). I missed Dad declaring that his eyes were clearly too big for his tummy (even as he finished half a pumpkin pie). I especially missed the cacophonous maelstrom of chatter and laughs that springs up whenever Ma and her sisters get together. And I missed being part of the mess that, for better or worse, is my pack of kin. I missed knowing that I’d have enough turkey left over to make flautas for the next week and a half.

What I didn’t miss was hearing the wrong name, or the intentional disregard for who I am, or the judgement for something that I know to be necessary for my happiness.

I definitely didn’t miss having to endure the silent opprobrium that is somehow a thousand times worse than the angry recriminations that characterized the early days of my transition.

It was nice to be surrounded by people who understood my struggle. It was even better to be taken at face value, free of the baggage of my complicated past. And it was amazing to finally, truly, let my guard down.

But then again, that same baggage is what enables my family to truly know me in ways no one else ever will. And it’s what makes it necessary for me to find a way to get the feeling I had in that community center hall even when I’m sitting down to dinner in my parents’ dining room; like so many other things, the holidays are (for me) about stitching together the bifurcated fabric of my life.

Will I ever find a way to truly relax as Claire in my parents’ home? Will I be able to stop that anticipatory wince that accompanies the wrong pronouns and name? Can I find a way to keep giving my parents infinite slack as they try to follow me down this path? Will I have the strength to make my own traditions if my parents cannot find a way to accept me as I am? Can I really have my lemon meringue pie and eat it too?

Who the hell knows? These are questions every person asks themselves (well, the first two are probably specific to me and other transwomen named Claire, now that I think about it).

My experience at a new Thanksgiving table was invaluable; it taught me that there are other possibilities in this life; that there are people who really do understand what I’m going through and share my struggle; that there is, as my friend Laura says, the family you’re born with and the family you gather along the way.

But I also have a seat reserved for me at the Jackson Family table, and it’s one I’m not giving up without a fight. There’s a lot of bitterness to address, yes, but as the year draws to a close and I take a step back to gain some perspective, I can’t help but think about how much sweetness there is, too.

And, after all, that pie’s not going to eat itself.

Thankful.

*Author’s Note: I’m off to Columbus for Turkey Day proper, so I’m writing this post today.*

While I’m not known for being serious, I do occasionally have a serious thought that passes through my head. These thoughts step warily into the clearings that dot the chaotic forest of my subconscious, eyes scanning the skies for signs of the sharp talons of Distraction and Frivolity, the two ravens that circle constantly in an attempt to prevent me from getting anything done, ever. If the sky’s clear, the thought usually twitches its nose and makes a run for it, hoping it’ll make it to my conscious mind before it’s snatched up and messily devoured.

One such thought came to me recently as I sat in my office, sipping tea and regretting my lunchtime choice of Huevos Rancheros. The thought was, “What am I truly thankful for this year?” With the juggernaut of Conspicuous Christmas Consumption firing up its titanic engines of greed earlier and earlier every year, Thanksgiving tends to get overlooked as the long weekend between Give Me Candy and Give Me Presents. However (and I am SO aware that this is NOT an original observation), it would probably do us all a world of good to sit down and think about what we’re thankful for this year (and not just because I need to write a blog post).

So, without further ado, I present:

Things For Which I, La Barceloneta, Am Thankful This Year

1) The Election is over! Regardless of which candidate you backed, I think we can all breathe a sigh of relief that the mudslinging’s over. Now we can get on with the important stuff (well, we can try).

2) The Little Emperor is learning Spanish. Neither of my sisters inherited our mother’s Spanish-Mexican looks (whereas I appear to be a blurry photocopy made after someone inadvertently hit “200%” on the copier), but they DID inherit her disinterest in preserving Spanish as a familial language. As a result, I have long been the only daughter able to converse with our aunts and cousins in Spanish, and as I have, as the Bible might put it, no fruit o’ the loins (not to be confused with Fruit of the Looms, which I do possess), my fear that Spanish in our family might die with my generation has been wedged in my heart of hearts like a dirty icepick for just as long. However, my nephew (he of the enormous brain and Children of the Corn physiology) has been learning Spanish from both me and PBS for three of his four years, and his recent, spontaneous conversational uses of Spanish leave me confident that at least one of my sister’s children will be able to talk to Crazy Aunt Claire when they come visit me at the Raisin Ranch in my twilight years.

3) My transition is moving forward. I started hormones this year. Electrolysis continues, albeit slowly and expensively (but with a practitioner who is more caring, professional and understanding than I could’ve ever dreamed possible). My parents are, against their will, coming to realize that this is real and not an elaborate prank I’ve set up with the help of Ashton Kutcher. I managed to get my name changed just about everywhere (although not without some effort). And, of course, I get to be me, and not a construct. So, you know, yay, me!

4) Nobody I love is currently in a war zone, but people loved by others are there fighting the good fight. God bless our United States Armed Services. All this freedom we enjoy is bought with their sweat and blood, and if you know a vet, or meet a vet, or hear about a vet three streets over, make sure you thank them. I’m thankful that we have a military full of people willing to lay down their LIVES for people they’ve never met and most likely never will. I may not agree with the decisions to go to (or stay in) our current theaters of war, but I will never – NEVER – have an unkind word to say about the men and women who put country, home and freedom above their own self-interest in the name of the greater good. Thank you, vets and current service members.

5) John Hodgman wrote another book. Oh, sure, to some of you he’s just the PC in those, ahem, “funny” Mac versus PC commercials. But to me, John Hodgman will always be the guy whose surreal NPR story from a remote secret location (which is now on fire) made me spit eggnog all over myself last year. Which means he owes me a new “I see you’ve already met the twins” t-shirt.

Jerk.

In addition, he is profoundly hilarious and should be read by everyone, ever.

6) I can do ab rolls and reverse push-ups without crying. Well, without crying A LOT. And it’s all thanks to Lotte Berk. My campaign to become stretchy is only a few weeks old, but if I can just stick with this and the Tour de Farce, someday soon innocent bystanders might not yell “GODZILLA!” and flee when my shadow falls across them.

But I will still stomp and say “RAWR!”, because everyone at Kroger’s come to expect it and they might think I’m ill if I just come in and buy groceries.

7) Morning Express purchased some kind of light specifically made to enhance Robin’s looks. I swear, I’m not making this up. To me, enhancing Robin’s looks is a bit like sprinkling gold on a pile of diamonds, but I say it’s money well spent.

There are, naturally, many other things for which I’m thankful this year (Isis King making history on America’s Next Top Model, Dad’s decision to sync up his haircuts with The Little Emperor so they look like age progression/regression pictures, my unasked-for-but-certainly-appreciated-in-a-weird-way out-of the blue subscription to Maxim en Español (Those guys are kidding, right? I mean, nobody’s really THAT sexist, are they? Are they?!?!?), et hoc genus omne) but I will not attempt to list them all here.

I invite you, dear friends, to take a moment – wherever you are – and reflect on the blessings in your life. Sure, life can be crappy and full of Things That Should Not Be (I’m looking at you, Turducken), but I’m a glass-half-full, silver lining kind of girl…and I hope you will be, too.

Well, except for the guys.

Unless they’re really girls who happen to be guys.

Which is TOTALLY fine. We all walk our own path.

I’m not sure where the guys who are actually girls fall.

I guess optimism and gratitude are universal, is what I’m saying.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Upon Returning from My First Restaurant Lunch in Months, I Pause to Reflect

How can this be? Blech.
I feel like ten pounds of full
In a five pound bag.

Why did we do it?
Why on Earth did we order
All the food, ever?

There’s only so much
Blue cheese, chips, and lemonade
A girl can digest.

And yet here we are
Splayed in our chairs, arms akimbo
Praying for sweet death.

Buffalo Chicken
Certainly won’t be welcome
Back anytime soon

Even as a wrap
That freaking sandwich is still
The size of my head

And now, as I chew
Another in a series
Of chalky Fruit TUMS™

I think of those days
OH! Those sweet halcyon days
When we could eat junk

And not slip into
A bleary-eyed food coma
All damn afternoon

But those days are gone
I find myself pondering
How long I have ’til

I’m wearing sweaters
All day and eating dinner
When the sun’s still up

Counting out my change
Losing my keys, my handbag,
Scowling at children

I’ll not eat again
Not ever again, I say!
It’s unthinkable!

What did you just say?
There’s a cake in the breakroom?
Well, just a small piece.

Unacceptable!!! (September ’08 Remix)

I believe it was Elbert Hubbard who defined “righteous indignation” as “your own wrath as opposed to the shocking bad temper of others.” This is because Elbert Hubbard was a bit of a jerk. OK, not really. Sure, he may have indirectly created Scientology by inspiring his nephew L. Ron with his wit and wisdom, but you can’t hold a man who said something as brilliant as “Genius may have its limitations, but stupidity is not thus handicapped” accountable for Tom Cruise and his silent-birthing, couch-crushing, Holmes-brainwashing shenanigans.

There are, however, others who must meet the business end of my wrath, and woe be unto them this day!

To wit:

Gas Station Guy Just Ahead Of Me Who Refuses To Pull Up Enough To Allow Me To Get Gas, Even Though His GIGANTIC HUMMER Could Easily Do So: UNACCEPTABLE!!! You are hereby sentenced to drive this for all eternity:

If it's good enough for my three-year-old niece, it's good enough for you, buddy.

If it's good enough for my 3-year-old niece, it's good enough for you, Chester.

Kroger Cashier Who Treats “Civilians” As Though We Are Incapable Of Grasping The Labyrinthine Complexities Of PLU Codes: UNACCEPTABLE!!! I know you’ve had extensive training, lady. I went through it myself, back when I was an indentured servant wasting my precious youth at the Evil M-Pire. However, you don’t exactly need to bust out the Rosetta Stone to determine that the PLU for black plums is, in fact, 4040; even if I didn’t already have it memorized, IT’S ON THE STICKER.

ON THE FRUIT.

RIGHT HERE, IN MY HAND!

But I digress. You are hereby sentenced to memorize all UPCs and PLUs for all products in the store and only consult the Thracian version of the PLU cheat-sheet (translation key removed).

Coworker Who Has Known for Three Months that They’ll Need a Loaner Laptop, But Tells Me about It the DAY BEFORE They Leave: RIDICULOUSLY UNACCEPTABLE!!! You are hereby ordered to surrender all computer equipment and make do with this abacus, quill pen, and stack of vellum! You may have up to three pigeons if you need to send an e-mail.

Frito Lay and Their Latest Creation, Spicy Sweet Chili Doritos: DELICIOUSLY UNACCEPTABLE!!! OK, so actually these chips are flavor-tastic and utterly acceptable. What I find completely unacceptable, however, is their tendency to vanish within hours after I open the bag. I innocently tear into a package of these mysterious and magical chips, and within a short time, all the chips have disappeared into thin air! I hereby command Frito Lay to investigate these unstable (albeit delicious) chips and invest in technology that will prevent them from evaporating (the only logical explanation for the disappearance of an entire bag of chips in such a short time, I assure you).

American Express Corporation, Along with the Marketing Agency Responsible for AE’s Latest Series of Ridiculously Condescending Small Business Card Adverts: NOT ONLY SMUG BUT UNACCEPTABLE!!! Seriously, I understand that cards featuring kitties and/or The Flash might be perceived by certain parties as unprofessional, but I wonder how many potential card holders are alienated by these ads as compared to those who cast aside their customized card featuring The Wonder Twins in favor of a shiny piece of gold snobbery. American Express dudes, you are here by sentenced to pay for your next lunch meeting with a card featuring Hello Kitty or this guy, (depending on which you personally find more abhorrent):

The worst part? That's not a hat.

The worst part? That's not a hat.

My Married Crush, Who Enjoys Flirting and Absorbing My Abject Worship But Will Never, Ever, Ever, Ever Follow Through Due to Being Straightjacketed by Societal Expectation: UNACCEP – Meh, I guess it’s kinda acceptable. Really, it’s been years now, and although our flirtatious exchanges and her fondness for dressing in a manner reminiscent of Doralee from 9 to 5 are great fun, she’s living in hubby-and-kids land, I’m over here in smartass lesbian land, and Chuck Woolery isn’t stepping up to help out. I hereby sentence MYSELF to get the hell over it.

And barring that, I guess I just need to remember not to buy any cats.

Audience Members in the ScalpMed Infommercial, what with the Fake-Ass Clapping & Repetitive Nodding Seeming to Indicate a Suspicious Familiarity with ScalpMed & Its Dark Magic: CREEPILY UNACCEPTABLE!!! (Except for the hostess, who is MILFy and therefore borderline acceptable) We all need something to watch when the musical guest on SNL isn’t to our liking…and in my case, the percolating phials of follicular fiendishness known as ScalpMed was what caught my eye this evening as I waited for the Kings of Leon to finish whingeing their way through whatever it was they were doing (nice Tina Fey glasses, by the way, Nathan). You are hereby sentenced to rub ScalpMed all over your face until you either turn into a werewolf or a member of Kings of Leon.

Idiots of the world, beware! At any time, your behavior could push you from mere annoyance to a place you’ll never want to visit…a place where you have become…UNACCEPTABLE!!!