Lean Cuisine

Let’s face it…all Lean Cuisines, no matter the “flavor”, all smell the same cooking in the microwave.  No matter where you are… at home or in the office you can identify from one wiff, that it is indeed a Lean Cuisine.  It doesn’t matter what you’re cooking, the classic French Bread Frozen Pizza or the Butternut Squash Ravioli, it all smells the same. No run of the mill low cal frozen dish here…but the premier, crème de la crème of frozen diet letdowns:  Lean Cuisine.  Now, don’t get me wrong, I love Lean Cuisine.  I eat it all the time.  I’ve just decided that it is so much better when I add my own little twist.  And then I’m still eating well, because it’s a Lean Cuisine!  But, it tastes much better thanks to all the fattening, heavenly crap that I put on top.

I’ll get on to my killer recipe in a skinny minute, but I must preface it by saying Lean Cuisine is my favorite of all the “table for one” frozen dishes.  I’m sure I’ve tried them all.  Nothing says depression, more than a single serving of bland, tasteless diet frozen food.  They make it look so delicious on the box, golden brown, on a beautiful plate complete with parsley garnish.  You follow the instructions thoroughly in feverish anticipation of that beautiful dish that will also make you skinny.

First, remove frozen dinner from box.  Done.  Next, cut one slit about 2 inches long in the plastic film covering frozen loneliness dinner to vent.  (This part is tricky because I’m never sure if my slit is exactly 2 inches- too small? Too long? Maybe this is what it feels like to be a guy?). Step 2 Done.  Step 3: Microwave entrée for 3.5 minutes at 25%. (Shit, how the hell am I supposed to program the fucking Microwave for 25%??  Screw it, I’ll just combine it with Step 4). Step 4: Rotate frozen loneliness dish.  Wear protective hand wear as the gourmet delight may be hot.  Continue microwaving on 2 minutes. (Okay- so that combined with Step 3 should equal about 5 minutes on high?). Step 3 & 4 Done.  Step 5: Remove Film. Stir so-called vegetables. Return to microwave on high for 2 minutes.  Let stand in microwave for one minute after cooking. Enjoy!

Jesus Christ, that is a lot of instructions!  I might as well be cooking if I have to do all this rotating and film removing and shit.  The whole “remove from box” part- is why I love America.  We are so dumb, you have to tell us to take the crap we’re going to nuke out of the flipping box.  I also love America for being the home of the free and the brave, the crazy, the sane, the rich, the poor, the disenfranchised, the franchised, reality television, public television,  hot dogs and hamburgers, IROC Zs, all the Back to the Future movies and Chevy Chase.  I’m sure there’s more, but that sentence had long past the run-on statute of limitations. Oh and I’m writing about Lean Cuisine.  Ok- next blog entry will be about zesting up your Memorial Day festivity- which you’ll probably be doing by yourself- with an all American tribute Lean Cuisine Recipe!

So you’re really starting to wonder about the Lean Cuisine recipe du jour?  It’s really quite simple.  And genius is born from stupidity.  Is that a quote from someone?  If it isn’t, it should be.  I’m not really sure if it’s a compliment or an insult- but it does sound profound.  Anyhoo, I learned all my cooking secrets from no one else than dear, old Mom.  To say she was a whiz in the kitchen is like saying Stephen Hawking is an awesome figure skater.  Some people hate “diet” food, but that’s the only kind of food she served- and if it could just be microwaved or heated up as is- all the better.

Mom was always on a diet- probably is now- I don’t know.  I try not to get that “engaged” on the phone.  She may think we’re pals and want to talk every day.  As it is, I have her convinced that we have to rush the conversation since its, “long distance and all”.

But I digress, we’re here for cooking tips!  So you too can take your depressing dish of microwavable loneliness and jazz it up! One of my personal favorites: Santa Fe Style Rice and Beans by none other than Lean Cuisine.  Apart from not resembling anything on the box and tasting a lot like the actual box, the best thing I could say is the low calorie count was right.  But, really, how do I know it’s really right?  Can I test that?  Aren’t we just using the honor system and hoping they tell us the truth?  Shit, we may be on to a major conspiracy by frozen depression delights to keep us ensnared in their wicked web of frozen diet cuisine addiction.

Alright- here goes.  Just to recap, the Santa Fe Style Rice and Beans- follow all microwaving instructions thoroughly as demonstrated previously.  Gaze upon the pile of mush that comes out in the half melted cooking container and take in all its glory.  Because, gurl, it is about to get a whole lot better!  Step 1: Walk to the refrigerator. Step 2: Retrieve Sour Cream. Step 3: Get a big spoon. Step 4:  Take a huge, spoonful of that creamy goodness and plop it right in the middle of that bland, cardboard tasting so called food.  Step 5:  Stir that shit up and throw some s&p in already.  Step 6: Truly enjoy because when someone asks what you had for lunch you can honestly tell them you ate a Lean Cuisine. And then act all passive aggressive, high and mighty about how you’re sticking to a diet.  Recipe: Complete!

I’ve never seen Top Gun

I’ve never seen Top Gun.  I know…its completely unbelievable that any American in my generation has not seen this cinematic “masterpiece”, but its true.  And I never want to see it and you can’t make me.  Yes, I’ve seen bits and pieces.  And that is all I need to see to know that I don’t want to waste part of my life sitting through another Tom Cruise crapfest.

I can hear you gasping in shock that I just said “Tom Cruise crapfest”.  But its true.  In my humble opinion, (which I know doesn’t count for shit) he is the most overrated, overpaid, untalented actor of our generation.  Whenever I tell someone that I don’t like Tom Cruise, they look at me in disbelief; as if I’ve just said the world is flat and unicorns are real and can shoot lucky charms out of their asses.  Look, its not like I’m being racist or antisemitic or hurting anyone (except maybe Tom Cruise), I just don’t find him attractive in the slightest and the mere sight of him makes me want to vomit.

I recently discussed my dislike for America’s sweetheart with a friend of mine and he asked, “you didn’t like Risky Business?”  Well, I guess there is an exception to the rule.  But that was also the first Rated R movie, I’d ever seen and it had boobies and whores in it and I was only like 8 years old, so yeah, I liked it.  I haven’t seen it in 30 years- so if I watched it today, my opinion might change.  But then again, who doesn’t enjoy a movie with boobies and whores?  And why was I watching such a racy movie at 8?  Because my Dad was in charge, he had the Betamax and was drunk all the time- so we pretty much got to choose whatever movie we wanted. Again, no sympathy for drunk dad stuff here- its okay- really.  I got to watch rated R movies at 8 and then write meaningless blogs about them 30 years later…so, thanks Dad.

To be fair, I’ve tried to weigh out all of the Tom Cruise movies I’ve seen and figure out if there is one that stands out.  The only one that comes to mind is The Outsiders.  If you haven’t seen it, I highly recommend you run to your nearest Erol’s video (oh, they’re out of business), Hollywood Video- oops them too, how about Blockbuster?  They at least still have those little kiosks- okay their shit kiosks are nearly invisible compared to Redbox- oh who are we kidding you can probably just find it on Netflix.  That’s what I hear all the young knickerbockers are using today.  Everyone keeps telling me, “oh its so easy, you can just hook it up through the Wii”.  I can’t fucking figure that shit out.  Anyone who wants to come over and achieve this “simple” task for me is welcome to…but my life is busy writing extremely important blog entries about how I dislike Tom Cruise- so I really don’t have time.

Anyhoo, back to The Outsiders.  This truly is a cinematic masterpiece about gangs in the 50’s or 60’s or I don’t know sometime back then when there were greasers, gangs and switchblades- sort of like West Side Story but way tougher- and no dancing or musical numbers….alright its really nothing like West Side Story- but still really good.  The reason I think this is my favorite Tom Cruise movie is because most people can’t even remember that he was in it- because he was a minor character and completely sucked balls.

The real stars of the movie were the teen heartthrobs, Ralph Macchio and C. Thomas Howell.  You all know good ol’ Ralph from Karate Kid.  But, his role as Johnny in The Outsiders is truly one of his finest and most memorable performances.  I’ll never forget him laying face down on the table in the hospital after being mortally burned saving kids from a house fire.  I decided then and there, that I would never be brave enough to rescue anyone, kids, dogs, cats, the pope…okay, maybe my own kids…from a burning house- but that’s it!  C. Thomas Howell played Ponyboy.  Why he had to have “C” in front of his name, I’ll never know.  Was there another famous actor that we were supposed to get him confused with?  If so, he certainly was not featured in the pages of Tiger Beat or Teen Beat or any other serious piece of journalism that ended in the word Beat.

Speaking of C. Thomas Howell, you may also remember him from the blockbuster hit Soul Man, quite possibly one of the most racist movies of the 80’s.  I’d say of all time, but hey, let’s not forget all that shit that came before the civil rights movement, and the 70’s black exploitation films, so relatively speaking, it wasn’t that bad- but racist all the same.  The premise was that this rich white boy could not get into Harvard or some other Ivy league school- I really can’t remember because, again, its been like 30 years since I saw this shitfest.  Moving along, for some reason the only way he could get in was to pretend he was black.  I guess this was supposed to be an anti affirmative action movie?  Or maybe it was supposed to be the comedic version of Black Like Me?  I have no fucking clue what the writers, producers, directors….well anyone involved in this movie was thinking.  So, C.’s (I’m guessing that’s what all his friends call him for short- because C. Thomas is kind of a pain in the ass to say all the time), as I was saying C’s character literally paints his face and body a really poor shade of brown and puts on an afro wig that looks like it came straight from those pop-up Halloween stores.  Magically, everyone in the movie is completely fooled and thinks he is actually black.  As you can imagine, hilarity ensues by heightening black stereotypes about watermelon, pimps and fried chicken until young C. finds the error of his ways by falling in love with a black chick.  So then, all us white people who are watching the movie (because I think black people were smart enough to stay away from this racist shit flick- but I’m not sure- I’m not black, so I can’t really speak for an entire people) are supposed to realize the error of our ways and leave the theatre and embrace every black person we see and sing Kum ba yah or some shit.

Anyhoo, this post is is supposed to be about why I hate Tom Cruise and not why Soul Man is a racist movie.  So let’s get back on topic.  Honestly, I haven’t seen that many Tom Cruise films, but that’s because they usually involve race cars, or hanging off cliffs or some other stupid thing that I’m not interested in.  So I guess, its more of a personal type of dislike than one based on any kind of real facts.  Okay, I know, my whole argument sucks.  But, shit, this is America and if I don’t want to like someone, I’m allowed.  So all you Tom Cruise loving idiots can go suck it.

He really sealed the deal for me when he went after poor Brooke Shields.  This was about the same time he went completely nutso and was jumping on the couch on Oprah and squealing in delight like a 13 year old girl over his new love Katie whatever her name is.  So back to Brooke, she had written this self-help type book- I don’t know, again I haven’t read it.  I know you think I have lots of opinions about things I know nothing about.  But so do all those political pundits on Fox News and lots of dumb ass (sorry to my dumb ass friends that watch that “unbiased” shit) people listen to them and take them seriously, so there.

At any rate, Brooke’s book was about her struggle with postpartum depression.  I’ve always been fascinated with the word postpartum.  When you break it up it is post, part, um.  So is that like after you part with ’em?  Clearly, this term was thought up by a man.  I’ve had two babies and suffered serious “after you part ’em” depression, and I can tell you you don’t feel like you’re parting with ’em.  Its more like “you’re completely overwhelmed with ’em and don’t know what the fuck you’re doing and are crying every second of the day for no reason” depression.

Apparently, he suddenly became an expert on postpartum depression and thought Brooke was completely irresponsible for telling people she took anti-depressants to help herself overcome this shit hole and be a better mother.  According to Dr. Tom and his crazy ass science fiction religion (no offense to those of you that believe all that crap about space people and shit- I’m pretty much skeptical of all religions including my own) you’re supposed to just “think positive” and then everything will start coming up rainbows and kittens and crap.  Well, Tommy boy, I’ve tried all that “thinking positive shit” and no rainbows or kittens are popping up so you can hop on you’re little space ship and get the fuck out of here.

In conclusion (that’s the term my 5th grade teacher always taught us to use to wind up an essay), I know, my argument that he’s a bad actor based on the fact that I haven’t seen most of his movies is not very strong or even a little strong.  I’m willing to admit its more about how everyone seems to love him, he gets paid millions of dollars and is a crazy fucking lunatic who grates my nerves. But, hey, I’m entitled to my opinion.

And, I really would like to get on this Netflix thingamabob because the old Betamax has kind of been on the fritz.  But, even if I get Netflix, I’m still not watching Top Gun.

God’s Mistake

I’ve always been taught that God makes no mistakes.  That whomever you are, whatever your condition, your lot in life,  what you have, don’t have etc…this was all God’s plan.  We were made in his image and therefore unmistakably perfect.  Well, I just found one little flaw in this theory; an anatomical mistake that God, Allah, mother nature, the universe or whatever crap you believe in overlooked in the grand design of the human body.

But before I let you in on that little discovery, I need to back up a bit and give you some background so you can understand how I figured this out.  If you know me… you know this, if you’ve read my blog… you know this, if neither of these apply to you, then I’ll just tell you:  I’m crazy.  Not the straight jacket, institutionalized kind of crazy.  Not that I wouldn’t mind a few days in the mental ward, the rest alone would do me wonders.  I’m quite jealous of celebrities that get to check into the hospital for “exhaustion.” How the fuck do you get to do that anyway?  Do you think if I rolled myself into the ER and said, “Y’all!  Check me in STAT- I’m exhausted!” that they would?  As greedy as big medicine and insurance companies are, I think not.  They’d probably tell me what I just tell myself all the time and probably what the celebrities need to be told as well, “If you’re tired, get some fucking rest.”

Its also not the doomsday prepper, Ruby Ridge, militia making, manifesto writing kind of crazy either.  That is, unless you call this blog my manifesto.  Perhaps it is, but I don’t think it quite measures up to all the great manifesto writers of our time like, I don’t know, Karl Marx or the Unibomber.  With all the whining my “manifesto” is filled with about my folks divorce, alcoholism, the cult, laundry, the fucking elf on the shelf- I’m pretty sure the Unibomber would look down his hooded little, bespectacled nose at my manifesto in disgust.  I mean really, I haven’t included any of the top manifesto topics like big government, conspiracy theories, the apocalypse, or how women should know their place.  One more thing to add to my list of failures:  poor manifesto writing.

Its my own special crazy or I guess just the regular kind- I don’t know… I’m not a psychiatrist, asshole.  Yes, I know there are millions more like me out there- but can you just let me feel special about one fucking thing here?  For the love of Pete, I’m asking for my own special kind of crazy- I don’t think anyone is going to wrestle me to the ground for the title of “craziest.”  So get off my back already. I’m not going to share all the gory details but let’s just say, my crazy includes bouts of deep depression that I expertly hide behind a lot of smiles, jokes, sarcasm and general gaiety.  I figure my “gift” is to use my misery to amuse others- done and done.

Anyhoo, being depressed is a pretty shitty place to be and I’ll try anything to get out of that black hole.  I’ve tried all the “tips” they give on the good old world wide web for curing the blues- well and the ones they tell you not to do too…pills, drinking, drugs, holistic healing, sex, prayer, massage, yoga, exercise…you name it, I’ve done it.

Recently, I went for my second Qigong massage.  If you’re not familiar- as I’m sure most of you are not- Qigong massage works with your meridian lines (whatever the fuck those are) through the use of pulsating acupuncture points and massage.  It releases all negative energy from your body and the effects last for weeks.  (I know it sounds like flake city- but it works, so you can go suck it.)  The first time I did it, I was completely blown away.  Its a powerfully emotional experience, most people will cry during the session and then boom- he somehow lifts all of that negativity away and you slip into an almost trance like relaxation.  (again- I know its sounds like total bullshit- but you can, again, go suck it).

At my most recent session, as he gathered my negative energy I found myself literally crying right there on the massage parlour table.  Tears were streaming down my face as he whispered in my ear and gathered the negative energy through the lightest of touches.  And guess what, I figured out God’s anatomical mistake.  When you’re laying down flat and crying, your tears stream directly into your ears.  Its quite uncomfortable if you’re trying to achieve your zen like trance, because all you want to do is interrupt his magical massage and say, “Can you hold on a minute while I get the tears out of my ears?”  So this time, I was so focused on the itchy, wetness in my ears that I couldn’t fully concentrate on the massage.  Argh…I can’t do shit!

So there you have it.  The big mistake is that your tears roll from your eyes directly into your ears.  I know, when you read the title you were expecting something way deeper, way more controversial.  But, what can I say?  I still believe the spirit in the sky doesn’t make many mistakes- but I think I got him or her- its probably trans-gender- on this one.

BTW- just in case all that shit the cult teaches is real…big ups to God.

Life Lessons

My father has always been under the impression that everyone else in the world is getting older except him.  That he is invincible and will live forever.  He runs everyday, swims in the summer, drinks like a fish, travels the world and lives life to its fullest.  I want nothing more than to feel the same way throughout my life.  He is approaching his 80th birthday and old age is finally beginning to rear its ugly, age spotted, gray haired bald head.  Nothing really horrible, just forgetfulness from time to time, the occasional unsteadiness on his feet, high blood pressure, low blood pressure, old people smell…you know, old people shit.

He’s had a few health problems as of late and went in for a check up a week or so ago.  The doctor took a blood test and told him to lay off  “the alcohol” for a week until the test came back.  Well, everything is looking hunky dory, and the doctor gave him the go ahead to “go back on the alcohol.”  However, he suggested he cut back his evening drinks from 3 shots of alcohol per drink to 2 shots per drink.  Btw, one drink for my dad is the equivalent of 4 for any normal person- if you’ve read this blog before, you’ll remember- he’s a professional.

So, after he told me the doctor’s “suggestions” regarding his alcohol intake I asked him if he was having a drink.  It was almost 9pm- an absolutely acceptable time.  Remember, he’s a professional, he doesn’t drink during the day- he has rules (alcoholics do not have rules, professionals do), 9pm is the magic hour- and then he only has TWO drinks.  Ahem- like I said two is the equivalent of four.  Anyhoo, when I asked if he was drinking he said, “Well, yeah.” (as if I’m an idiot) “But, its just wine- not whiskey or anything.  Wine is like juice.  It doesn’t do anything.  I’m only having 3 or 4 glasses.”  I love it- “WINE IS LIKE JUICE.”  Technically, he’s right- its grape juice- only fermented.  And isn’t 4 glasses the whole bottle?  But, who am I to tell an 80 year old man to part with his best friend?  Hell hath no fury like an 80 year old (or a toddler) who’s had his JUICE taken away.

This got me thinking of all the wise advice my parents have given me throughout the years.  Drugs are pretty much straight forward, don’t do them.  After all, my mother told me, “Marijuana killed Judy Garland.”  Well, if Mary Jane is what killed Dorothy then I definitely wanted to stay as far from that as possible.  My parents pretty much missed the 60’s entirely, being busy raising little ones of their own at that time.  So I don’t think she ever understood the difference between a joint and, I don’t know, shit like heroine, cocaine, prescription drug abuse…but whatevs.

She would also remind me every time I left the house on a foggy night, “Be careful, remember how Jayne Mansfield died.”  WTF?  First of all, Jayne Mansfield was a star about a million years before I was born and how the hell am I supposed to know how she died???  I’m pretty sure most of you are unaware as well.  So fyi, in case you’re ever on Jeopardy or something, on a foggy night her car went under a truck and she was decapitated.  Got it, Mom.  (Btw, I haven’t fact checked that- I’m just trusting that she knows her shit.)  Now, every time I see fog all I can think of is Jayne Mansfield’s decapitated corpse- yay- happy thoughts!  But, I digress.

Of course, my Dad was the expert on advice for alcohol or more like friendly suggestions.  I remember very vividly when Tylenol began coming in child proof bottles, I was about 8 and his “go to” for opening that shit.  One time in particular, as I popped the bottle for him, he told me (again I’m 8), “if you ever drink too much, just take two Tylenol before you go to bed and you won’t have a hangover.”  Good to know, Dad.  I followed this sage advice all throughout college.  That is until they figured out that- oopsy daisy- you could die of sudden liver damage by combining those two things.  Thanks, Dad!

My other favorite piece of advice from dear old dad is regarding drinking and driving.  Now to his credit, his story has changed as he has aged and he will NEVER drive after even one drink now and will not allow me to either.  But, as a kid, I really can’t remember a time when I didn’t have to kick beer cans out of the way to climb in the back seat of his mid-life crisis sports car. One time we were weaving down the road and were pulled over by our local Barney Fife and he asked him, “Sir, have you been drinking?”  Always the honest man, he said yes.  There my sister and I were, bouncing around the back seat, no seat belts and surrounded by empty beer cans and all the officer said was, “Well, I suggest you be careful and get those girls home right away.”  Thanks, officer!  For you youngins, it was the 70’s and they didn’t really take all that shit seriously.

In high school he told me a full proof way of getting out of a drunken driving arrest.  No matter that the legal drinking age was 21 and I was in high school- he is a realist so I guess he was trying to be helpful.  His advice went something like this, “Act real innocent and just tell the officer, ‘Oh my!  I never drink.  I just left the company party and they must’ve had something in the punch!'”  Yeah, I know you’re shaking your head, so am I.

A really great piece of advice they both gave me, and I mean this in all seriousness, was to major in something I loved in college- because once you get into the real world, unless you’re going to be a doctor or rocket scientist or something- nobody is going to give a shit what you studied or how well you did.  You should study hard but have fun, because the real world is a bitch.  I’ve been quite successful in my career and it wasn’t until just the past couple of years that the folks I work for figured out I majored in Theatre.  See, people don’t even read that little “education” part on your resume- its all the other bullshit you put at the beginning that matters.  Having majored in Theatre and had no jobs related to my field of study, I know, my friends, that this is advice you can take to the bank!

Watching them both, I learned that you have to let shit go, NOT CARE WHAT ANYONE ELSE THINKS, and go for it no matter what.  They didn’t always demonstrate these qualities, sometimes they did- but they showed me in their joy and their sorrows that life is meant to be lived….the best lesson of all.

And fuck, I just read that last paragraph- it sounds like they’re dead.  No…rest assured, they are alive and well and still giving me “awesome” advice all the time.  I’ll be sure to share it with you another time.

What will my children say?

If you’re a loyal reader or are new to my blog, you’ll find that I talk a lot about my parents, their shortcomings, their divorce, their impact on my psychosis- you know the usual crap we’re all dealing with.  You’ll also know that I know, even though they drove me and continue to drive me bat shit crazy, that they love me.  Since I started a few months ago, I’ve had friends ask me on more than one occasion, “what do you think your kids will be blogging about you?”  Yikes!  I’m sure it will be filled with things like, “yeah, she sure yelled a lot” and “that woman could put away some vodka” and “all the cuss words I know I learned from dear old mom” or “she wasn’t real good at filing”.  I can only hope they remember that despite the yelling, drinking, cussing and paper piling bullshit, they will also remember how much I love them.

The one image I hold in my mind of my mother is of her asleep on the couch.  The woman was depressed, beyond depressed and downright tired ALL THE TIME.  She was always “resting her eyes” on the couch.  I am quite certain that when my children look back, their mental image of me will be of me standing in front of the dryer, folding clothes- because that seems like ALL I DO EVERY SECOND OF MY LIFE!!!  Grant it…I have a full time job, I write this amazing blog, I am an actor, a runner, a Girl Scout Leader, a mom, a wife, Bigfoot Hunter, tv addict, ghost whore, Alien chaser and all around busy gal.  But, that damn laundry basket is NEVER empty.  I mean come on people- if you’ve had something on for less than an hour, fold it up and put it back in the goddamn drawer, for Christ’s sake!

And don’t even get me started on clothes that are inside out.  Why do you have to turn a shirt or socks or underwear or fucking anything all the way inside out to take it off?  I don’t do that- but for some reason everyone in my family seems to think that turning it inside out is the only way to remove clothing from their bodies.  So then I’ve got to not only, wash and dry the flipping clothes, but spend extra time turning them right side out so I can fold them and distribute them to their rightful owners.

Now, I know, I’m a complete idiot when it comes to this whole laundry thing.  As soon as I was tall enough to see over the machine, my mother had me doing my own laundry, her laundry, my sister’s laundry- really anything that needed to be washed.  And my oldest is plenty tall enough to take on this task herself.  But, with all the yelling, drinking, cussing and paper piling I do- I feel like this is one of the few ways I can show my children I really love them.  (I know, I just looked back and read that- and I’m a total lunatic- one day my kids are certain to say, “yeah, mom was a total bitch, but I know she loved me because she did the laundry”).  Ahhh….my head is hurting from my eyes rolling so far back in my head.

And with all my talk about laundry, you’d think I’d have the whitest whites, all our sheets would be pressed and every drawer neatly organized.  Boy, are you a dumb ass!  I don’t treat stains unless it is on my own clothing.  I figure if you’re not smart enough to either point it out to me as I’m putting it in the machine (not two days before when it happens) or better yet- DO IT YOURSELF, then I’m not treating it.  You can live with that stain on your clothes for the rest of your life.  A scarlet letter of what a sloppy eater you are for all the world to see.

Secondly, if you’re pressing your sheets, you are wasting your life.  Please just fold that shit up and shove it in the linen closet like the rest of us lazy asses.  You’re going to lay down on it to sleep, why the fuck do you need to iron it?  I find once I stretch it out over the mattress, the wrinkles pretty much take care of themselves. Furthermore, you’re going to put a comforter or blanket or something over them- so even if someone does mosey through your room- they will not be aghast at your wrinkly bed sheets- because they won’t fucking see them, asshole.

And lastly, everyone in this family has way too many clothes.  And despite all my good intentions of cleaning out the closets and drawers with each season to update our wardrobes for the appropriate weather (like Martha Stewart tells me to do)- let’s get real here- that’s never going to happen.  So I basically just keep shoving shit in until either the drawer breaks- or I have a mental break down because I can’t close the fucking drawer anymore.  Then I’ll start flinging shit out of the drawer, cussing with every shirt, sock, and worn out, pilly bra I come across until its complete- I’m organized for at least 2 days- or the next load of laundry gets done.

Ok- so this post started out as some kind of altruistic, introspection of who I am and how I want my children to remember me.  And it turned it to a rant about laundry.  My kids are so fucked.

Reflections

As the new year approaches, I feel the need to reflect on 2013.  At least that’s what Facebook told me to do and according to Mark Zuckerberg the highlights of this year included a lot of drinking and dragging my kids from place to place.  Yay me!  Carrying on the family tradition of drunk parenting.  Humph.  I hate you Facebook.

In all honesty, its been a very good year for me, I created my own position within the company I’ve worked for for 13 years, started performing again in a most fulfilling way, continued to hone my improv skills, reconnected with lots of old, positive friends, made new friends that support me in a meaningful way and started writing seriously again.  And yet despite all that I’ve accomplished and all I have to look forward to in 2014, the terrible monster inside me that tells me I’m not good enough is still lurking inside.  A friend of mine told me he calls his Carl.  I’ve decided to call mine Nancy, as in Negative Nancy.

Nancy is a real bitch.  She is constantly telling me I’m not good enough, not smart enough, not pretty enough, not wealthy enough, not thin enough, not anything enough!  Despite many great triumphs this year, she is harping inside me that this is all a facade and that everyone will figure out I’m really just a scared 14 year old girl who doesn’t know what the fuck she’s doing.  And Nancy is right.  Most of the time, I’m totally faking it.  I don’t know what’s going on, I don’t feel confident, I don’t feel good enough, I’m heavier than I should be, I’m don’t manage money well, I can hardly manage my day to day life….but if I just keep telling Nancy to go fuck herself long enough to get through whatever it is, then things are okay.

Nancy has been with me my whole life. Not in that fucked up Sybil multiple personality kind of way, but you know, the regular fucked up way.  I grew up in one of the wealthiest counties in the US and we were far from being anywhere close to the median income.  Thus Nancy started out very early in life comparing everything about me to everyone else.  My parents were the first of anyone I knew to divorce.  Nancy made sure I knew what a freak I was about this and used every opportunity to point out whenever another parent would look at me with pity.  If there is one thing I despise most it is pity.  I’m strong, I stick up for myself and even though I may end up in the fetal position crying my eyes out from time to time for no apparent reason, I don’t want to be pitied.

Nancy whispers into my ear all the time that everyone I know is having a “let’s have fun without Amanda party.”  And she’s right.  I’m sure there’s a party going on right now somewhere, where everyone is toasting and yucking it up over how much fun they’re having simply BECAUSE I’m not there.  You sons of bitches- if I ever walk in on one of these parties- well I don’t know what I’ll do- but the party will definitely be over, because…well, I’ll be there and then what’s the point of the party?  So there.

Nancy second guesses every compliment I ever receive.  Now, I do have some manners.  I know that when someone gives you a compliment you should just say, “thank you.” But inside, Nancy is telling me they don’t really mean it, they’re just saying it to be nice, they really just feel sorry for you and what a fool you are.  Fuck you Nancy!  Why can’t I just receive a compliment and enjoy it?

Nancy is even looking back at me every time I look in the mirror.  She is sure to point out every imperfection.  She especially likes to turn the mirror to the magnifying side so I can get a real close up look.  Ahhh..I’d never noticed that one little black hair that’s growing out of the wrong place on my face, or those fine lines beginning to form around my mouth and eyes, or the black heads that go unnoticed by everyone else, but in that magnified mirror, well they’re like the goddamn Alps.  She sees every dimple in my thighs, every stretch mark, every scar, every new spot (my mother calls them age spots- I like to think I’m just super hip and am developing a leopard print on my face- because, ya know, leopard print really never goes out of style).

2013 is the first year that I made a New Year’s resolution and actually stuck to it.  Now, it wasn’t very hard, but at least I accomplished it.  I ate on the fine china every goddamn day of 2013.  And even though Nancy was against it from the get go, she did not win!  I’ve even become a bit superstitious about it.  If I have something extra special happening that day, I make sure I eat off the fine china or I fear things may not go so well.

I don’t know that I’ll ever be able to fully kick Nancy’s ass.  I’m pretty sure she was born with a black belt, nunchucks, and chinese throwing stars.  But, I’m going to try very hard in 2014 to ignore her nasty comments, to tell her to go fuck herself everyday, to tell her she’s the one with the complex and to evict her from my head.  They (whoever “they” are) always say you should make resolutions that are attainable to achieve a sense of accomplishment.  I’m pretty sure Nancy will be with me to the grave, but if I can just learn to duct tape her ugly little mouth shut more often- well I’ll take that as a success.

Elf on the Shelf

Disclaimer:  If you think the “Elf on the Shelf”  is the greatest thing since sliced bread- then beat it sucker- this post ain’t for you.  If you’re a relatively new parent and considering purchasing an Elf on the Shelf- then let this post serve as fair warning.  And for those of you like me that have stuff to do, I don’t know, like earn a living…you’ll appreciate this (I hope).

It all started out so innocently about 7 years ago.  My eldest was a lonely only and just 3 years old.  I was still bathed in the hope that I could be the mother I always longed to have; create cute family traditions, wear an apron and greet my children with cookies and milk when they got home from school.  Ahh…what a fool I was.  I don’t know why I thought the fact that a child had grown in my womb would somehow change my crass and cynical personality.  But, when your little one is still just being naughty by not eating her peas, or saying no all the time, you somehow think you can still achieve the unattainable.

The most wonderful time of the year was swiftly approaching and I was starting to feel the anxiety of creating the best Norman Rockwell holiday season for my small family.  My boss lady/dear friend and I were having lunch at a beautiful gourmet restaurant, surrounded by the city’s most fashionable.  I was telling her of the trials and tribulations of the terrible 3’s (the terrible twos are just a myth- created by someone who couldn’t find some good alliteration to go with the number 3).  And then she so kindly offered some friendly advice that she had just learned of from a friend of hers:  The Elf on the Shelf!  It was the latest and greatest parenting tool that you could only find in the most elite boutiques.  The Elf would magically appear just after Thanksgiving and then keep an eye on your little ones and report back to Santa.  An easy peasy way of getting your little ones to behave- right?  Wrong!!  Mind you, she’d never done this with her own child, who was practically grown at this point, so she was blind to the terrible horrors she was about to unleash into my life.

For those of you unfamiliar with this little demon spawn, let me explain.  You (the parent) are supposed to read a cutey patootie booksie about a cutey patootie elfie that the jolly fat guy himself has somehow sent to your house – but don’t tell your friends because they might not be as special as you and have their own private elf.  Each night after your little one is so sweetly tucked into bed… after fifteen trips to the bathroom, 47 bedtime stories and 75 billion other excuses for not sleeping….you’re supposed to REMEMBER to go move the fucking elf to a different location.  Then, oh what fun, when they wake up each morning they get to search the house to find this little motherfucker hanging out somewhere.

Well, soon word began to spread, the elf was no longer available exclusively in high end boutiques.  Every fucking card shop, drug store and convenience store was selling these little shitbirds.  And soon, moving the little fucker- which I could barely remember to do anyway, was no longer good enough.  Pictures were popping up on Facebook with the elf getting into mischief, eating cookies and spilling milk, taking a shit on the toilet, or tearing up long rolls of toilet paper.  What the fuck??  I thought this little shit was supposed to make my kids behave by reporting back to Santa- not SHOW my kids how to misbehave.  And besides all that, I can barely remember to move the blessed thing each night to a new location- much less give him creative activities.  You know who has to clean that shit up??  Me- that’s who!!  Like I need one more thing to do in my life.

And how many times, have my children asked forlornly, “Look mommy, the elf is in the same place as yesterday. Do you think he forgot to go see Santa?”  The answer is too many to count.  Fuck- knife to my heart- just one more item to add to my long list of parenting failures.  “Oh no, sweetheart, I think he just found that spot so comfy he decided to go back to the same place.”  Yeah, they only buy that lie one time- but when you’ve forgotten for 3 or more nights in a row, well let’s just say the magic starts to wear off.  Even they stop looking for him- the bastard.

Now, I know, I have a lot of very talented friends.  They love to post cute things their little elf is doing around the house on Pinterest and Facebook.  Some of them even find time to move the little motherfucker several times a day.  I’m happy for them that they get such a kick out of tricking their children and creating more work for themselves.  But, stop making the rest of us losers feel bad.

And on top of it all, I’m now hearing that having one elf is not good enough.  Oh no…-you must have an elf for each of your children so they can take it with them when they’re grown and shove this beautiful, consumer-driven tradition down the throats of their own little ones.

Today is the day after Thanksgiving, and I’m going to have to have that little shit show up sooner or later.  I look forward to the days when my children can look back and laugh- or perhaps they’ll just be crying in therapy.  Either way, at least I won’t have to move the fucking elf anymore.

We’re Not the Rockefellers

My dad grew up poor, dirt poor, poorer than dirt, maybe middle of the earth molten lava type poor.  He was born during the Great Depression, the son of a plumber and a nurse in Charleston, SC.  The Holy City, as locals call it, had still not recovered from the “Late Unpleasantness.”  For you Yankees or foreigners, that’s Southern speak for the Civil War.  There was little money to be had and even less opportunity for any kind of advancement.

My Papa, (pronounced paa paa- like what a sheep says except with a p; that’s Charlestonese for grandpa), was not a very good plumber.  In fact, I think he hated every minute of it.  My father was his right hand man on most jobs and Papa dubbed him “Colonel Brokem” because apparently all he did was break shit.  They didn’t always have enough to eat and sometimes my dad would sneak over to the Star Gospel Mission (run by those heathen Prodestants) for a free meal.  He was poor, but he wasn’t stupid.  Well, apparently, that never sat well with my Irish Catholic Papa because if he found out, Dad would get an ass whooping like nobody’s business.

My Mama (again pronounced like what a sheep says; Charlestonese for grandma), hated being a nurse.  She graduated first in her class from nursing school, despite the fact that she had smacked the head nun in the face at some point, according to family lore.  I think Mama (not yo’ mama- remember like baa baa) and I must have had a lot in common, because I often find myself wanting to smack people across the face.  To date, I can report I’ve been mostly successful at refraining from doing so, mostly.  Anyway, my Papa used to say that the only part Mama liked about being a nurse was pulling the sheet up over a person’s face.  That means they were dead and she could go home.  I always like getting off work early too.

So like I said, they were poor and like all parents Papa wanted a better life for his children.  He knew the way to a better life for my father was to go to college.  At that time, all you needed to get into the local municipal college was a recommendation from your high school principal.  Being good Catholics, my father had spent his entire educational career in the parochial system;  being beat up by nuns and told how he was going to hell for even thinking about anything at all.

On a side note, he has always insisted that that was the main reason he made sure we did not go to Catholic school.  Although, I’m pretty sure it was more the fact that you actually had to pay for it when we were coming up, and the man was thrifty.  Okay, thrifty is too nice a word, let’s just tell it like it is, he was cheap.

Anyway, as senior year came to a close my Papa marched my father over to Father Manning’s office to request a recommendation for college.  Apparently, not only was my father good at breaking shit at home, but he also had a reputation for being down right stupid at school.  Father Manning told my Papa that he would not write a recommendation for my dear old dad because he was too stupid for college and suggested Papa continue training him in the plumbing trade.  God bless my Papa, because he insisted on the recommendation on the grounds that my father had to go to college because he was too stupid to be a plumber.  Remember this was  the early 1950’s and really nobody gave a shit about your self esteem or crap like that.  Sometimes, I think we all need to be a little more frank about shit like this- honestly, telling people the truth can be all the motivation they need to stop acting like a complete asshole.

In my dad’s defense, he went on to be a commissioned officer in the Navy, a high ranking government official and traveled the world has a high paid bullshit consultant.  So, for being so “stupid”, he did pretty good for himself.

My father made all of us painfully aware of his poor upbringing to make sure that we were thankful for every single cent he ever spent on us.  He never understood the fact that teenage girl’s needed to have the “right clothes” and try to “fit in” for their mental wellbeing.  All he could see were dollar signs.  He constantly behaved as if we were two pennies away from the poor house and as he said about EVERYTHING…”if we buy that we’re going to lose the house!”  Really, we’re going to LOSE THE HOUSE, because you won’t buck up an extra $20??

I remember one time I needed a pair of sneakers, so he decided Sam’s Club would be the perfect place to go buy my new kicks.  I don’t know if you’ve ever been shoe shopping at Sam’s, but shoe selection is not their strong suit.  If you’re in the market for giant industrial tubs of peanut butter or huge bags of rice that could feed all the people in China then they’ve got your back, but shoes, not so much.

I ended up with the dorkiest, ugliest, off brand sneaks you’ve ever laid your eyes on and I cried in the line to pay for them, I cried on the way home and I cried every time I had to wear those stupid sneakers.   And did my father care that I didn’t like these shoes?  Not one iota.

In college, cell phones were in their infancy.  My very best friend and roommate was the daughter of a highly successful urologist.  And therefore in my opinion- RICH!!  She had one of those fancy cell phones.  Now for those of you that are under the age of 30- you may not know this….but cell phones didn’t always fit in your pocket.  No, hers was in a giant leather bag that you had to carry around with you and plug into the car every time you wanted to use.  Have you ever seen those old war movies, where the army guys in the heat of battle would call into their COs on the giant wind up phone?  Yep, it was pretty much like that.  Oh, how I envied that bag phone.  I vowed then and there that I knew I would be successful in life when I was able to buy my very own bag phone!  Even though, I’ve now got my nice little smartphone that lets me do a billion more things than that bag phone, I’m still yearning a bit for the posh notoriety that came with carrying that giant bag.

Anyhoo, I decided I couldn’t wait until I could buy one for myself.  So I put together the pitch to my father on why it was so important for me to have a “car phone”.  Yes, back in the olden days we didn’t even call them “cell phones”, they were “car phones” because of course the only time you’d need to use it was inside your car.

The pitch included all the important talking points: safety, safety and of course safety.  I didn’t dare mention the word “cool” in the pitch at all.  I knew very well that my father did not give a shit whether we were cool or not.  But, as you can guess, the pitch went no where.  It started out, “Dad I’ve been thinking I need to get a car phone…..” end of conversation.  He just completely freaked out and said, his favorite retort for everything I’ve ever asked for, “No! What do you need that for?  We’re not the fucking Rockefellers!”

So, no, I did not get my car phone and am fully aware that I am in no way or will ever be a Rockefeller.

My Purple Dress

As every parent knows, your greatest dream for your children is to provide a better life than you had.  Luckily for me, my parents made this task extremely easy.  Not that they were bad parents, they loved me and I always felt that, which is the most important thing.  But, there were just a few items that might’ve made things a bit more enjoyable.  So my top three rules I try to follow to achieve the aforementioned dream are as follows:

1.  Stay sober (well, not exactly all the time, I am Irish after all).

2. Clean the house (at least every once in a while).

3. Provide 3 CONSISTENT squares a day (alright, mine aren’t always square, sometimes triangle, rhombus, octagonal, but ALWAYS three)!

My parents had a mixed marriage, Catholic and Methodist; I know, quite shocking.  They were married in 1961 and being the good, obedient woman of her day, my mother readily converted to the cult.  However, I don’t think she really bought into the whole Catholic thing hook, line and sinker.  She taught us the prayers she grew up saying and ACTUALLY READ THE BIBLE.  If you’re Catholic, you know, we don’t exactly do that.

But, she made sure we went to Mass every Sunday, signed us up for CCD and got the big four sacraments: baptism, confession, communion and confirmation .  For you non-Catholics, CCD is sort of like Sunday School for Catholic children who go to public school…except its not always on Sunday.

You may remember from an earlier post that I have two older sisters.  Things must’ve been going pretty well for them when they were receiving their sacraments, because I’ve seen the pictures.  At first communion, they both had pretty little white dresses and the requisite bridal veil.  I’m still not sure why the cult insists on making 7 year olds look like their getting married when they’re having their first bite of the holy host, but whatevs.

My parents marriage went downhill pretty quickly after my birth.  Hmmm….always made me wonder if it was my fault?  But, they’ve assured me time and again it was not.  Remember, they weren’t great at cleaning and staying sober and shit, but they were good at loving me.

So by the time my first communion rolled around, they were in the thick of their divorce.  Ahh…what happy times those were.  They went from yelling and screaming at each other right in front of us, to standing in the front yard speaking in hushed tones, while we waited inside.  Yeah, it was great.

Anyhoo, first communion is usually held in the Spring somewhere near Easter.  My favorite color was purple (still is) and I had a beautiful, flowing taffeta purple Easter dress.  It had a satin ribbon around the waist and twirled out when I spun.  I remember it quite vividly and how much I loved it, until I hated it.

Being in CCD, we all received our First Communion together at Mass in front of the whole congregation.  Well, of course, I’m 7 and have no idea what any of the cult’s customs are, because really for any kid in any religion, church is just one long torture session.  But, you’d think after 20 some years of marriage, my mother would have had a handle on the situation.  I guess my Dad could’ve clued her in, but remember, he was drunk.  (Again, its okay, don’t feel bad).

So the big day rolled around, and all of us girls and boys made our way down the aisle hands folded in a prayer like stance.  All the boys wore little suits and ties and the girls had the most beautiful white gowns and flowing veils- even little white gloves.  ALL THE GIRLS, except me.  I had my purple Easter dress on…ya know, the one I loved.  Except now, I despised it.  Why the fuck didn’t I have a beautiful bridal veil and white gloves?  There’s proof of this disaster in pictures somewhere.  The whole second grade communion class together on the altar, with me sticking out like a sore thumb in my purple dress.

As an adult, I’ve asked my mother about this debacle.  She blames it on the women’s movement and says she thought the cult had moved past that tradition.  Really?  The cult has 2000 years of tradition that they keep intact and she thinks a little old thing like the “women’s movement” was going to change what a bunch of old men at the Vatican think?  Honestly, I think she was just a little too preoccupied to pay any attention to what I was wearing.  So I forgive her.  But, I’ve made damn sure that my girls have a beautiful white gown and bridal veil!

So I guess the 4th item should be:  Provide appropriate clothing for monumental moments in life.