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Apr. 11th, 2011

I'm retiring.

It's been a fun one, y'all.
However, it's time to retire Blondino5.  At least the Livejournal phase of the Blondino legacy.  
I feel like I've lived a lifetime since beginning this blog back in 2004.  Actually, I feel like I've lived five lifetimes since then.  

When I began this blog, I was new to the world of work.  Fresh out of college, I thought I knew my sh*t.  I thought I had life on lockdown.  

Obviously, I didn't.  And thus became the fodder for the blog.

I'm now firmly settled (if you wanna call it that) in a new phase of life.  I know where I'm from, I know where I am (save a few rough Saturday or Sunday mornings here and there), and I'm pretty sure I know where I'm going in this life.  

I'm lucky to have been blessed with an amazing family, circle of friends, a cute dog, and an amazing partner who firmly believes that I am meant to write.  He believes this so firmly, in fact, that he bought me my very own Tumblr feed that I hope you will decide to follow. 

My new venture will focus on what I've now been blessed with: 



I'll be able to update more frequently, post pics, use Twatter, get all techy.  And I'll be able to do all that without losing pages of writing or getting commented upon by Russian drones (Livejournal, y'all got some work to do).  

Hope to see you in MiddleClassHood.  Thanks for reading, throwing side eyes, crying, and making me feel poopular.

Blondino5, aka Ang.

Apr. 5th, 2011

Mashed potatoes are significant to me now.

Dear Mommom,
Last Sunday, LTR and I went shopping.

And I ordered mashed potatoes.

You know me. I'm not really a fan of instant mashed potatoes. I'm usually not so much a fan of fast food in general—remember that time for your birthday, when I made us a spinach and goat cheese salad and grilled cheese sammiches with fresh bread and non-individually-wrapped, non-American cheeses? And then I got a stomach flu; but I thought I had poisoned us both with too-healthy, too-fresh food before I learned you weren't sick too.  You ended up bringing ME stuff to make me feel better.  

But the Popeye's chicken was calling me in a unique way last Sunday. And of course, with the chicken and the amazing biscuit, I got to choose a side.

I chose the mashed potatoes. I didn't even really think about it until after I ate them, and the itis set in for the next day and a half. I was just drawn to them over the other choices.

The last couple of months have been rough. After Pop Myers passed in August, and Pop Leonard in January, I really, really looked forward to hanging out with you. I know you felt like hanging out at the house with you was a burden, but it was actually something to which we all looked forward. I liked that you didn't want to hear the buzzing of the TV (trust me, most news is bad news these days). I liked giving my liver a rest on a weekend night. I liked not having the Internet, or checking e mail, or having to wear real clothes. I liked looking in the 'fridge and seeing cheese sticks and baloney and other random comfort foods left behind for me, and for everyone, by Timbo and the others who knew they'd be back to hang out with you soon. I liked being surrounded by the pictures of all of our family members, and talking with you, and making each other laugh.

Even though you'd been losing weight, and your hair was not as kinky and full as it had been just a few months back, I still saw you in the exact same way as I always had. I still felt like, if I was bad, you could pick me up in one of those awful “bear hugs” you used to give us that forced us to calm down. I liked the way you still lifted your pinky when drinking from your water bottle. When we were little, I always thought you were a member of high society, or had been in some previous life, because of the way you drank from a tea cup—or a plastic blue cup—lifting your pinky and looking 'dainty.'

How wrong I was. You came from a very, very different childhood than I ever knew. Because you did the most amazing job raising your own nine children—and I know you usually focused on your weaknesses, but somehow all nine of 'em turned out right—I was able to know a safe, happy kidhood. One free of abuse and poverty (hand-me-downs are still clothes), and full of love, school, and family. I never knew how lucky I was until I got to college and realized that so few of my friends there even knew their grandparents. You, and Granny and Nana and Pop, were our neighbors. How lucky I am that I never had to get on a plane to come steal a gallon of your sweet tea (the tea that Mar and Uncle Rick refer to as 'CrackTea' because of its addictive nature).

I remember the first (and I think only) time you rode on a plane, when we went to see Matt graduate from Boston University. You were so calm, and collected, and handled flying like you were a businessman who commuted via plane. Remember that? I admired your patience and open-mindedness to try something new.

You approached dying with the same patience and open-mindedness. When you were first diagnosed, we were told that you would have an 85% chance of survival.

I really, really, really wish you had not fallen in the 15%.

But, I think you're okay that you were in that 15%. You prayed, and you tried to say nice things about everyone. You focused a little less each day on something of this world so that you could spend more time getting acquainted with your next home. For a while, you were watching TV, and reading, and talking with people. The TV became colder and colder as you kept it off a little more each day. Eventually, the TV stand became a flower and card stand. And books became coasters. And you spent time hanging out with us, and then with others you hadn't seen as recently: your mom, maybe Wolf, even Pop Myers (with whom I'm sure you had a lot to discuss). And you stopped eating most of the food you had enjoyed.

Except that one morning, when you asked for mashed potatoes.

It kind of startled me, when I heard you say my name so loudly that morning. And when I asked “You okay?” and you said “Mashed potatoes!,” I laughed a little.

And so I made you mashed potatoes, the instant kind I had seen in the kitchen that morning, and you ate a few butter- and salt & pepper-sprinkled bites, probably some of the last bites of food you ate in this world.

Once I helped you back to bed, I ate a few bites myself. I wasn't hungry, don't even really like instant mashed potatoes, but it made me feel somehow, weirdly, closer to you.

And so that's why I ordered mashed potatoes last Sunday. And I hope you know that I was thinking of you with every bite.

But, they were nowhere near as good as the mashed potatoes I had with you that sunny morning on Pleasant Place.

I hope you're getting your fill of mashed potatoes, the real kind with real butter, now.  

We miss you, Mommom.  I miss you so, so much.

Ang <3

Mar. 15th, 2011

Happy LadyBits Day

Last week, “we” “celebrated” International Women's Day.
I write “we” in quotes because I am pretty sure this is not celebrated everywhere.
And I quote “celebrate” because PSAs reminding us that women still don't have equal pay, remain discriminated against, and suffer from rape and molestation more regularly than male counterparts, ain't exactly my idea of “celebrating.” Then again, I was raised Catholic, and I remember being confused as about “celebrating” not-so-nice events (sometimes, we even call them “feasts!”) like crucifixion and suffering. So maybe my view on “celebrations” is kind of off.
I celebrated International Women's Day in my own way. I read some great blogs, looked into some scholarships for college women who want to study abroad, and got to once again fall in love with my Diva Cup.
I also went to a weekly tutoring session with one of my fave little girls, an 11-year-old I'll call Skittles (this is her nickname with her 'crew') who attends my elementary alma mater.
I asked Skittles how her MSA testing was going, which I really didn't need to do considering she had cross-trekked the room 20 times over in our first 5 minutes together.
“It's BOOOORING, let's do something fun, I don't want to sit down, we did some math problems, I don't like working with other people, can we play a game?” She said all of this without taking a break.
If you have ever worked at a family center or school or been to a playroom belonging to someone in my family, you might know that choosing a game to play is no longer easy. The game has to be age-appropriate, not BOOOOOOORING, and somewhat educational while not being too reminiscent of school.
Not easy.
So, as I rooted around in the closets, I--never one not to drop a nerd bomb--asked Skittles if anything special was happening that day.
“Well, MSA testing, but it sucks. But we do get snacks!”
I told her that the day also happened to be International Women's Day.
She responded by looking at me blankly, then stuffing a finger in her mouth like it was a Twizzler.
I asked her if she had any women she looked up to, to which she responded her mom and her grandmom. I think we are programmed to say this growing up in Hampden.
Then she asked me, “Why do women need a special day?”

This got me thinking. And it actually got me sort of riled up as I continued to ponder it.
I didn't have the heart to tell her at the time that she, that I, that we, and our moms, and our grandmoms, deserve a special day because of all of the things we deal with as women. Hell, even Tosh.0 recently said we're still second-class citizens.
I didn't have the heart to say, “Soon, you may find yourself in class, not feeling well, and you may start bleeding for the first time. And the boys won't let you forget it.” Or maybe she'll think she pooped herself, like I did, and be ashamed and not tell anyone. Especially the uncles and male cousins I went with to the batting cages that first day of my official womanhood, feeling awful but still wanting to be active, and then having to walk around with wadded-up toilet paper in my underpants until I came home and showed Mom. Mom, who had to explain to me, at 11 years old, what was fully going on. I've had some uncomfy discussions while sitting on the can, but that one kind of tops the charts.

I also didn't want to tell her that, as she got older, those little buds on her chest would never be the size she'd like for them to be. If her breasts were too small, she'd get teased. If her breasts were big, she'd still get teased. However, she'd also get all kinds of other attention, not to mention she'd likely be perpetually searching for—and spending endless amount of money on—the right bras.

As a woman, too, she will deal with the seemingly endless television commercials for products that either inhibit or help her fertility. Recently, I feel like many of the ads on TV targeted at women are for either birth control—because we spend our 20s being, and/or dating, people who are not ready for commitment or babies—or to help us get pregnant. Face it: Many of us spend our very fertile years chasing after peer partners (not just men—I have plenty of gay ladyfriends who deal with this too) who are chasing after younger, maybe sexier, more carefree, less successful versions of us. Yea, pretty much me, and most of the people I know, when we were 22-24. When we do find that someone—sometimes someone older—it's still not easy to bring up the future, and babies, or lack thereof, because as a woman, she will either come off as baby-crazy or a professionally self-absorbed career woman. We are programmed to avoid talk of our uteruses, even though they actually have an expiry date, even with the help of a doctor and all those drugs being advertised on TV.

And, sidenote, all those hormones we pump into our body to make sure we don't get preggers make us crazy; there is something true in the old adage, “Women are crazy; men are stupid.”

While she absorbs the messages that these ads send about her body, and her choices, Skittles will also see the ads targeting men. These ads send the messages that (a) Men can—and SHOULD!--have sex (and even babies, if they'd like) into their centogenarian years, and medical experts are going to make damn sure of that!; (b) They'll likely be having sex with a younger wife; and c) Sometimes their penises just AREN'T big enough. (Well, she'll probably find out C on her own, but annnnyyyyhotExtenzmess....)

If—and I pray, pray, pray for this, harder than I pray for Ravens victories—Skittles goes to college and eventually travels abroad, she will have to face the fact that in some countries, she's just gotta accept being groped, harassed, touched inappropriately, her body commented upon, and not allowed to walk down the street alone.
She will have to cope with our government discussing what is “right” and “wrong” for her body, for her unborn children, for stem cells that come from her, making decisions about how her insurance will or won't cover birth control, and sometimes feeling like a second-class citizen.
She'll watch men be paid more than her for the same job, and she'll likely be treated as an underling by some older man at some job at some point in her life.

As a teenager, Skittles'll be confused that it's okay for boys, but not girls, to get around. They'll be allowed to talk about it, brag about it, and she'll hear them flaunt their [sometimes slightly embellished] stories of sexual conquests. However, she'll know that if she does the same, she'll be forever marked a slut. She'll probably date someone who criticizes the way she dresses or makes herself up—it's either too sexy, or not sexy enough. Either way, she'll watch that partner check out other women (regardless of how they dress). Skittles will probably be made to feel just a LITTLE less attractive when her partner—likely a man, but possibly a woman who is masculine-identifying (she's a bit of a girly-gal herself)--goes to strip clubs, watches porn or checks out other women, and is pelted by sexy women on TV. But Skittles will be expected to 'stay classy' in how she dresses and acts. Meanwhile, the extent of her eye candy will likely be the Old Spice Man, who she'll likely not fantasize over because most women are just not programmed like that. If she is a straight woman, she'll have to accept that most of her male partners will likely have a 'number' that dwarfs her own 'number.' And, if she expresses any insecurities about any of this, that expression may be used to justify her partner cheating on her. Of course I want to tell her that there are good men/masculine-identifying people out there; but, like most women I know, she'll go through her fair share of those that will hurt her before she gets with a good one.  And she may do some hurtin' on her own in order to allow herself the freedom to find what she deserves.

As she gets older, Skittles will realize just how many different, complex body parts she has, as she may be affected by any range of cancers or cysts or other conditions, particularly those specific to women. And that she'll always have to wipe back to front, no matter how impossible that can seem in heels squatting over a too-tall porta potty, because she might get an infection if she does it the other way. Meanwhile, if a guy does it, he'll just have nasty-nads 'til his next shower.
SO unfair!
So yea, I gots a little riled up.
I of course did not say any of this to Skittles. One, because I really like tutoring and I'm pretty sure I'd be asked to resign if I brought up Extenz in the Family Center.
But two, because I want Skittles to remain hopeful and happy. I want her to see the positives of being a woman as well.
And there are positives! I just had to get all that anger out first. I am a woman, after all, and I'm feeling slightly on the crazy side of sane today. (Blame my new BC—I think it's the 9th kind I've been on, BTW.)
Here in the U.S., us ladies are doing pretty damn well. I'm not saying life is perfect and equal, but I am at least allowed to open my mouth and express my thoughts in this country. I have the privilege of education, good healthcare, a say in my fertility, I can wear what I want, I get paid okay, I can buy my own house, I can write a blog blasting how women are treated, and not be killed for my rantings. (Dumped, maybe, but not killed.) I don't know many other places where half of my blog material would be considered culturally appropriate. (Actually, I'm not terribly sure it's considered 'appropriate' here, but at least some of you seem to like it.)
Women also have an uncanny ability to bond. And our bonds with each other, though sometimes stressful and heartbreaking, are also rewarding. I write this while I sit with my Mommom, in her little house in Hampden, her four-room corner of the world. Our bond is indescribable. It's the kind of bond that allows us to go into the ladies room together, see each other's cho-chas and watch each other wipe, have deep, gossipy conversations while we jog together, understand each other while we cry hysterically over trivial and not-so-trivial life happenings. It's a bond that doesn't make us question whether we're wasting our time together. The bond allows us to look at each other, roll our eyes, and say, “Men.....”
And it's a bond that can last through the worst fights. Most women I know are profoundly more sad when friendships fall apart than when romantic relationships end. And I'm pretty dude-ish; one of my guy friends told me, “I like talking to you, 'cause you're like a dude, but with tits.” But those ladybits bond me with others, regardless of race, sexuality, age, nationality.
Many of the men I know go through 'bros' like they go through Bohs. I'm not saying that our lady bonds are better, but---ahh, screw it. I am saying that, completely.

I guess the point of International Women's Day is to remind us, as women, that we have faced and overcome challenges by bonding together and working through—sometimes, with little more than a sense of humor—the unique issues and crises we face as women.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I have to go take off my bra, put my diva cup back in, and eat some chocolate.

Mar. 6th, 2011

I ask "Who Am I?"...and Scrapple answers.

Take a second to think.
(You may be asking, "How does she know I have a second free?" Well, you're reading my blog, and I am one of the most long-winded people on the planet, so I KNOW you must have some time free right now.  Bear with me.)
Your task:
Pretend that you don't know what you look like.

That might be difficult to do. Especially if you're a few of my friends for whom I've pondered making t-shirts with mirrors on the front so you can look at yourself as often as possible.  (Yes, there are several of you.  It's okay.  You are all hot.  Trust.)
So, pretend you're on a dating site where you don't list any of those things. You don't list your race, your gender, your hair color, your B to G ratio (Bust to Gut, for those of you not in the know), your body type, your style, your age.
You list instead where you're from, maybe where you went to school, what you read, your sense of humor (which you OBVIOUSLY have a great one of, BTW, if you're reading THIS blog!), your confidence (mine is at epic levels), the music you like, the books you read, the booze you drink, the food you like.
Imagine someone ACTUALLY decided to go on a date with you based on just your profile.

When you meet up with this person, is s/he expecting to see YOU?

I've been thinking about this complicated matter of identity lately for several reasons. One, because I'm helping to lead a program to South Africa in a few months, I've been doing a lot of reading about identity, and how apartheid-era South Africa was really several different South Africas: Boer South Africa, Afrikaaner South Africa, Colored South Africa, Black South Africa, Urban South Africa, Rural South Africa, Township...
There were a lot of South Africas.
But that's a nerd bomb I'm sure I'll focus on greatly in a few months. So let's get back to identity....

Second: As you know, my Pop passed a little while back, my Mommom's not doing so well, and her ex-husband, Cantankerous Pop we'll call him, passed back in August. With a lot of my family roots leaving this world--I'm fortunate enough that I remember many, many stories told by my grandparents, and my huge family would always gather at one of the grandparents' houses back in the day for holidays and Sunday get-togevas--I've been thinking a lot about how I've been shaped by my grandparents and my family members. And how I'm lucky to have been (and continue to be) shaped by them. After all, it was my Nana and Pop who told me my first dirty joke. Also, not only do I now live with someone who has here and there pointed out when I’m doing something “like my mom” or other relatives, but I also now notice when I sound like [relative’s name], whine like [relative’s name] and am starting to sag in this place or gain weight in that place like [many relatives’ names]. Not to mention that LTR gets slightly overwhelmed and concerned
when my middle brother or mother and I talk at each other, at the same time, and we think this is totally normal conversation. (Isn’t it?)

Third: My friends and fam make up a pretty diverse group in terms of ethnicity, careers, religion, sexuality, preference of liquor, communication styles, you name it. A few years back, when middle bro and the Beige Brotha and I lived together, we had a bookshelf where we displayed our books from college and grad school. Not only were we trying to impress dates/people who came over (I separate them because most of the people who came over were definitely NOT there as our dates. SAD.) but our parents were members of the “Our basement is NOT your personal storage, fool!” club. So middle bro took up a few shelves with his engineering, physics, and calculus textbooks. I, on the other hand, used the shelves to display my mostly-paperback collection that proudly (?) conveyed my pursuit of--not one, but TWO--liberal arts degrees (and the related pursuit of a salary likely never to top $50k---wooo hooo!). And because Beige Brotha and I shared many academic and personal interests, our bookshelf had multiple copies of books by bell hooks, All About the Beat: Hip Hop in America, books by anthropologists who ‘immersed themselves’ (read: used crack) in high-rise Chicago projects, and a few collections of radical black feminist writing, political theory and urban planning. (You’d have THOUGHT our well-roundedness would’ve made us all so much more appealing to opposite sexes! Alas, it did not. But man, did we have fun together.)
Then, a few weeks ago, my girl LA, who is extremely ethnically ambiguous (no one knows what she ‘is’) and with whom I’ve had many discussions about ethnicity and sexuality and gross lady-happenings, sends me this e mail:
“Hey girl: I found this, which I thought was interesting. Aside from your unhealthy love for ghostbusters, I'd have to say people like you and I just do not fit these kind of molds.
According to this article, white people (women) like Tom Clancy, Nicolas Sparks, Diet Coke (ick, nast) baking, decorating, ‘dmb’ (they still exist? I thought to myself), flip flops, baths (we know I can’t take those anymore), and country music.
Black people (women) like lip gloss, hip hop, soul food, church, ‘sexy,’ Coming to America, india arie, writing, and The Color Purple.
(If you have five minutes to spend, read the article. You may THINK you’re looking for a tall, dark, handsome stranger, but maybe you really want a hot ginge guy who wears flip-flops and drinks chai tea, because that’s who shares your likes. Or is your exact opposite. Ya never know.)

And finally: My lovely and amazing coworker LJo (who IS from a good family and don’t gotta pretend) is dating someone we’ll call RRJ (for Ron-Ron Juice). Now, when I go into work, I often pepper our informal discussions about data entry and application processing with my own diarrhea of the mouth: stories about my dog, pooping, my family, you name it.
Given the stories LJo tells RRJ about me--and I don’t know what she tells him, but it’s likely all true--RRJ assumed a lot of things about me.
Namely, that I am black.
And, that I am single.
RRJ was apparently surprised to hear I was white. And then, a few weeks later, shocked to learn that I had a boyfriend, with whom I live.
I about keeled over in the office from laughter.

Who the hell am I? Given the many ways in which I could answer this question--and I’m pretty sure I made you suffer through my attempted long-winded workthrough of this question in the many paragraphs above--I’ll just say that I don’t think too many people could REALLY answer this question terribly quickly.  Race and ethnicity are (duh) overt, but constructed so narrowly.  We’re all shaped just as incredibly by who we’re born to, the people we meet (by choice and otherwise), the places we go, the inherent personality traits and instincts we sometimes try to change without much success. After all, wasn't Steve Martin also born a poor black child?

The greatest struggle for me is answering “Who Am I?” by compromising who I WAS, who I IS, and who I WANT TO BE. (And struggling to stay grammatically correct while doing so. Fail.) It’s not easy.
I’ll use the example of scrapple.
Growing up, having hot breakfast on the weekends was awesome, but we didn’t always have breakfast meats (bacon, etc.). When we had scrapple, it was a good weekend.
And I love scrapple. I actually enjoy the taste, the texture, the ambiguity of the various bits of meat that make it up.
But it stinks up the house, and LTR is not a fan of scrapple, and I can’t buy a whole block of it and eat it myself. (Okay, not true: I CAN physically eat a whole block of it, but I kind of want to live past 35, so I probably should not eat it by myself.)
So when I see it on a menu, I order it, but I don’t buy a supply for the house. See? Not so easy combining the who I was, is, and will be.

Alls I know is that now, with all this talk of scrapple, I am now in the mood for some serious soul food and my sweat pants. And definitely NOT diet Coke, or Rush Limbaugh, or politics, or thinking about how white people are oppressed.

Maybe I am a single black woman after all.

Feb. 9th, 2011

[Literal] Pains in the Ass.

Every person has a mental running list of things that pain them in the arse.  This list likely includes:
  • Bosses
  • Kids
  • Pets
  • Parents
  • Chores
  • DVRs (hey, pains in the arse can be self-made--no one's MAKING you record 60 hours of TV in one week that you now feel compelled to watch)
  • The Ravens
  • Home maintenance
  • Car maintenance
  • Periods
  • Uncontrollable body hair
  • Hangovers
However, this list rarely includes something that recently appeared on my personal list of pains in the ass.  
Because my list, as of approximately 2AM Tuesday morning, became literally its own title:
My pains in the ass became my pain in the ass.
Yep, that&apos;s EXACTLY what I looked like holding my butt.  (Not really.)
I apparently suffer from Proctalgia Fugax.  Proctalgia fugax, according to my doctor, is "just a fancy term....
...For rectal pains."
Thanks, doc.  I gots it.  
This isn't a new thing, mind you (or my butthole).  But I'm sorta glad to have a semi-answer.  ProcFug (we're cool like that, so that's her nickname to me) and I, we goes WAyyyyyy back.  Like, when I was living in a closet in Greenbelt, Maryland way back.  
I remember the first time she visited me.  I was about 22 years old or so, and woke up in the middle of the night with pain like no other I'd ever experienced.  
Even worse, this pain was centered on my general butthole region.  
No amount of clenching, pushing, or pressure was helping.  I imagined I was going to give birth out of my butthole.  
Fast-forward a few years.  After a night of indulgence during Restaurant Week with a bunch of friends at Fogo de Chao (which should be subtitled: "How to gain 10 lbs in one night and learn to love MSG!"), I met ProcFug once again.  She was like, "Hey, way to try to avoid me with all that fresh spinach and stuff.  Pssshh.  Your ass [literally] loves me.  Mazel Tov!" 
And I was like, "Ouch...."
She's come and gone since then.  I assume she's whoring around with people with much worse diets (and much larger butts) when she's not checking in with me.  
But apparently my number was called Monday night/Tuesday morning.
Because b*tch arrived with a vengeance.  
I woke up in the middle of the night, and began wretching with pain.  And of course, because I'm smooth, I'm trying not to wake LTR.  Or the dog.  Or our neighbors.  
Of course, I am shaking and breathing heavily and feeling generally harassed by ProcFug, and so LTR naturally wakes up.  Poor soul.  He's like, "What's wrong? You okay? Did I do something?"
I have about two seconds of energy between clamps of my buttcheeks when I can muster, "My...buttt.......pains....."
And he's like, "Ummm, what?"  Then he came to and, because I often talk about the goings-ons of my greater metropolitan butt and pelvic region, he knew immediately what I was experiencing.  
He got me some Advils, and I drank, and eventually the pain went away.  And I woke up the next day feeling like I had just gotten a full body massage, because my muscles were so worked out and my body had no choice but to relax.
So I have a few weeks/months of awkward ass (not 'awkward-ass,' although that's likely applicable too) appointments ahead of me.  It's cool. At least the next time any dudes I know try to complain about colonoscopies or prostate exams, I'll be like, "Seriously? You wanna talk about going to the OB/GYN at 11 and then hitting up the poop doc at ages 17, 21, and 28?   Yea.... Didn't think so.  Don't make me drag my friend ProcFug into this.  A sphincter says what?"  (That last part I just won't be able to stop myself from saying.)
And maybe I'll start a ProcFug fundraiser.  I mean, people walk/run/grow mustaches for all sorts of causes, right?  Why not run for your own pains in the ass?  
At least we'll all get cool butt-themed t-shirts out of it.  And the four of us who have ProcFug can get together and have a beer and Advil fund.  


Jan. 25th, 2011

Dear tummy, I'm sorry

Dear tummy,
I know, I know.  It's been a while since we talked.  Actually, I think the last time we had a solid (not literally) talk was during the great Poop Attack of 2010, when I was trying to figure out what I did to you to deserve your wrath.  
This weekend, of course, was different.  
I know EXACTLY what I did.  
See, the poop attack weekend was sort of like when your parents fight when you're little, and all you do is accidentally jump off the couch and make the record scratch (yea, the record Mom's playing to drown out Dad, or vice versa), and all the sudden you're sitting in your room facing the wall, making your Barbies make out (with your one Ken that has to be the town slut, 'cause no one had enough Kens for all their Barbies), wondering why your own flesh and blood HATES you so much.  (Unless they're NOT your flesh and blood, and you're adopted, but that's way too much of a complex to get into here. Sorry for your issues, braahhh.)
This weekend was more like when you lie to your parents about going to a girlfriend's house for the night, and then she tells HER parents she's headed to your place, and then you go to a party that gets busted up, and your parents realize what happened, and your ass is grass for the next two weeks.  

Yea, this weekend was more like that.  I was tempting fate.  Like it hasn't been bad enough with all the anxiety from the funeral, and my perpetual desire for warm, cheesy foods this winter, and my half-ass attempts at dieting (what's soooo wrong about a Slim Fast shake with a side of Cheez-Its for a mid-afternoon snack)....
I deserved your wrath.  
I promise never to eat duck fries....
Followed by veal sweetbreads...
Finishing up with mussels in a chorizo cream sauce....
All accompanied by red wine...
EVER again.
You deserved a break.  I deserved the nausea.  LTR and I deserved to see each other wretched over in pain for our first anniversary.  'Cause the statements, "Babe, are you SURE we didn't pack any Pepto?" and "I might throw up in this cab" definitely translate to "I love you, sweetie!" in everyday speak.  
Truce, tummy?  

P.S. I apologize in advance for any beverages, followed by 2AM pizza, that may be consumed this weekend.  

Jan. 20th, 2011

Oh I'm a lucky girl

Are you ever driving to work, and you hear a song, and it makes you have an extreme reaction?  You either laugh, or cry, or decide you reallllly need a 600-calorie chocolate croissant and a triple venti something-or-other pronto just to even finish the drive?
Well, the past few days, I have sort of felt like that every time I get in the car.  
And also, every time I turn on the TV, look at my e mails or Facebook, and pretty much wake up. 

My grandfather passed away last week.  Actually, a week ago last night.  It has been a long, emotional week.

Pop's death wasn't unexpected.  He had cancer--mysothelioma--which is asbestos-related lung cancer.  (My thought on this: If it's too hard to spell, humans should never be able to get it.) What's been unexpected for me has been how hard the last few days--the days after the viewings, the funeral, and the wake, as I've gotten myself together and went back to the trenches of work--have turned out to be.  It's okay to cry during those first few days, and at the funeral home, and as the Ravens lose, and then the Patriots lose, and as you realize you're ACTUALLY somehow related to a lot of the people walking through the funeral home doors who think it's okay to wear platform open-toed heels in mid-January in Baltimore.  It's okay to cry during all those times. 

It's not okay to cry at the McDonald's drive-thru because a Plain White T song comes on and makes you said because the guy mentions "heaven" in one verse.  It's not okay to cry at work because you see a guy who thinks a Raven polo shirt means he's in work attire (much like many of the men in my family, including my Pop).  

I am a serious ball of emotion right now.  Not to mention, my lady parts have been acting awry for the past two months, and the holidays just passed, and I'm moving, and my other grandmother is also very sick.  God, please help LTR, my coworkers, my goldfish, and any other unfortunate soul who has to deal with me on a daily basis.

I can't unload on them anymore.  

Enter: BLOG!  Usually I use my blog to vent, be funny, make myself laugh, make others laugh, and make fun of myself.  And, on occasion, others.  

But right now, I'm going to dedicate this to my Pop.  In the past week, the one thing that actually KEEPS me from crying is thinking of my brother's section of the eulogy, so I'm going to reiterate some of what he said, because it was pretty good.  

Pop was a great grandfather, and I've made it this far into the entry without crying, so while I'm on a roll, let me just write out the important lessons I learned from my Pop:
1.  "You need a nice car more than you need a nice house.  'Cause you can sleep in your car, but you can't drive your house."
2.  "Dress nicely.  If you look like crap, and you ask someone for some money, they're not gonna think you're good for it.  But if you LOOK like you can pay them back, you'll get the money."
3.  It's perfectly acceptable to say "Whatchamacallit" when a word escapes you.  Even if that word escaping you is your kid's name.  
4.  Orange juice should really only be served with a side of eggs and bacon.  And Absolut. 
5.  Work vans can easily become RVs with the removal of tools, and the additions of a mattress and several grandchildren.  (And lax 1990s safety belt laws help too.)  In a related note, it's possible to get to Florida in 12 hours.  Yepppp.....in a work van.
6.  Your real friends are the people at your funeral who look at each other very suspiciously, and with lots of doubts and side-smiles, when the priest says that you are forgiven for EVERYTHING you've done and you're up in heaven.   
7.  Daughters and granddaughters are ALWAYS treated differently than sons and grandsons.  
8.  It IS possible to know everyone who drives or walks up your street.  And it's okay to sit on your porch every afternoon for hours just to say hi to those people when they happen to pass by.  
9.  Duct tape fixes everything. 
10.  "Enjoy your money while you can, 'cause you can't take it with you."

Okay, I started to tear up around #5, but I otherwise did really well.  

I love you, Pop.  And we'll miss you.  Terribly.  But you'll have the best seat in the house for every Raven's game from here on out. 

And I'm a lucky girl to have even gotten to know you.  

Jan. 4th, 2011


 **Perhaps the most overused Facebook Photoalbum title of 2010/2011.

Imagine: Kids yelling and running away from their parents, and given food and toys to keep quiet.
Adults gossiping and throwing side-eyes at relatives, neighbors, and smelly older ladies who are just far away (or deaf) enough not to hear.
Men demanding attention from people who won't listen, then speaking anyways.
Women wondering whether or not so-and-so is preggers (AGAIN) or just fat.
People pretending to know what to say. 
Older ladies pretending not to drink as much as they actually did from their glasses.  
And, finally, a matriarch and patriarch who look down on all of you.

That's right.  I'm describing holiday gatherings.  But not just any holiday gatherings.  I'm talking about the one holiday gathering that I think I've never missed:
Christmas Eve Mass.

No, I don't go because I'm a devout Catholic.  I go because I'm a guilty Catholic.  There is a difference.  (Not really.)  
I have other reasons for attending as well. For one, I love spending time with my mom.  (And not JUST because she sometimes forgets the words to "O Little Town of Bethlehem" but continues to sing randomly off-key in another language until she finds the right page of the hymn booklet.  I was DYING of laughter.  But I digress...)
And I do like seeing the Church on Christmas Eve.  It's quite charming, and pretty.  Plus, the little kids put on the Manger scene where Baby Jesus gets born--MIRACULOUSLY--from underneath the alter (!!!) where we all know the priest keeps his good sh*t.  (Maybe that's why Baby Jesus is so peaceful up there, huh? Am I right???  Yea, I know.  I'm going to hell.)  The kids are usually pretty entertaining, too.  One year, some little girls went up and stole Baby Jesus from the manger to play with him near the church band.  Can't say I blame them.  I mean, if I saw a Cabbage Patch doll or a Baby Real Life all by its lonesome when I was about 4 years old, well, I woulda plucked it right out the patch and made it my own.  
Lastly, and most importantly, I present perhaps my saddest reason for attending church on Christmas Eve: 
That mass is a MAD good place to catch up on neighborhood gossip.  
Have you ever BEEN to mass in a neighborhood where you grew up on Christmas Eve?  Well, let's just say, that steeple is like a live version of Liz Smith's/the Village Voice's/the Baltimore City Police Blotter's very own local gossip column.  
I can go into Christmas Eve mass, not having seen a soul since the prior year (or the recent Roosevelt Rec softball league, which ends all the way back in August), and in about an hour, I am fully up to speed.  I know:
1.  Who had babies
2.  Who didn't have babies
3.  Who MAY have had babies
4.  Who passed away
5.  Who MAY have passed away
6.  Who got married
7.  Who got in that fight the other night at Zissimos and isn't at mass for obvious reasons
8.  Who broke up with who (see #s1-3, and in some cases #s4 & 7)
9.  Who got moved to another parish (awwwkkkwaaarrdddddd)
10. Who might be trying to take the priest's good stuff after mass is over (again, see #7)

My mom always gets mad at me for taking communion because I haven't been to confession.  Besides the obvious response of "Confession would probably take way too long for me Mom, and there are certain things that should remain between only a girl and her Diva Cup," I always remind my mom that, hey, we never make it in time to sit up front, and going to get communion gives you not only the life of Christ, BUT ALSO allows you to see all the people in front AND in back of you that may have gained weight/lost weight/got prison tattoos/be holding a new wee one.  And you can't get all the good views by doing that awkward shake-hands/give peace signs thing after the awkward "Do I hold or not hold strangers' hands?" Our Father phase of mass.  (I have also been known to say I went to receive communion so that I could 'get a better look at the flowers.'  That's right, St. Peter.  I don't expect a welcome from you.)

And, hey, this isn't a one-way street either, folks.  All those people I haven't seen?  They get to go home and tell their relatives/grandkids/wives who used to be my classmates that they saw that Angela S. girl in church with her mom alone AGAIN and that she still hasn't had kids, and her ass is getting bigger every year, and she's probably an infertile lesbian.
And really....isn't that what Christmas is all about?
Hope everyone's holidaze were as enjoyable as mine.  

Dec. 15th, 2010

Housing Phases [Me]

In life, most people go through a number of phases in terms of where and how they live.  The phases (and the corresponding accommodations) could pretty much be broken down in the following way:
1.  Mom's uterus
2.  Jail (also known as a crib and playpen--and hopefully the last time you live in a place with this title)
3.  Shared room with a sibling who thinks he can wipe his boogies on the carpet w/o getting called out on it, b/c the carpet is green (perhaps this applied only to me)
4.  Own room, where one writes names of crushes on the wall in hand-drawn heart frames and keeps a favorite shoebox of notes passed in class under the bed (and/or masturbates, if one is a 13-year-old male)
5.  COOOLLLLEEEEGGGEEEEE!  A shared room with a random stranger/s who become your besties or your worst nightmare if she threatens to whoop your ass when you accidentally change the TV channel while she's taping Dawson's Creek (and then you get back at her by having your drunk visiting friend change her away message from "In the lab AGAIN!" to "Taking a massive crap, been blocked up for days!") ....again, maybe that's just me
6.  Post-COLLLLEGGEEEEE shared house or apartment.  In this place, you actually begin to learn how to cook for yourself (EasyMac doesn't cut it after an 8-hour workday) and that it is actually nice to have a clean bathroom.  
7.  Own place.  WHOOOOOOO!!  You learn you can actually keep yourself company and that it's okay to walk around naked and LOVE it.  (But don't cook naked.  That's a different blog altogether.)
8.  Cohabitation with a better half.  
9.  Cohabitation with better half and pet.  
10.  Cohabitation with better half, pet, and others just entering phases 1,2, and 3 outlined above.  
11.  Back to #8 as chirruns enter Phase 5.  And pet probably died.  (Unless you have a parrot.  Those bitches live forever.)
12.  #9, but at an 'assisted living' place.  And, btw, don't write it off!  Stuff gets good in those places, according to LTR's nana, who basically runs shiznit at her #12.  It took a while for us to get the goods from her, but it is like some straight-up Real Housewives/A-list drama in there.  The Residence Board is campaigning against these out-of-control scooter drivers ("They drive too fast!" said Nana, which catalyzed me to search for "Scooter boots" on the internets) and a new Scandinavian dude moved in, and he's driving the ladies Cuh-RAZY.  But I digress....

So it turns out, I'm somewhere between phases 7 and 9.  And I guess that's pretty typical for 28 years young.  

LTR and I each own a place.  I own a beautiful garden-level condo in the boonies (okay, it's like a mile into the county) and he owns an awesome house "with potential" (my Dad's most hated words) in my current neighborhood crush (as Lee Future calls it) in the city.  Things are moving along (I did threaten to poop in his shower, after all) and we are both tired of carrying around walk of shame/stride of pride bags when we stay over.  It's a pretty clear choice at this point.  So for us, the discussion of Phase 8 involved less of the, "Should we" aspect, and more of the "WHERE should we" aspect.  

And you know me with my lists and charts.  I love them.  And so here, I present my Comparative Analysis of Potential Living Spaces Chart in a good ol' fashioned "his vs. hers" way.  

Where should I live?
Decision Point Mines's LTR's Winna    
Location, location, location Walkable to a natural market, a park, and a synagogue.Walkable to everything else.  Bars, restaurants, shops, park,parents'. Too bad I'm notJewish.  LTR. 
Bathroom Full tub, one wall is an entire mirror, toilet is small enough for my feet to be flat, storage for my diva cup readily available. Stand-up only shower (total bro renovation), too-tall toilet, mirror that only allows one-at-a-time use. Mines's.  Luckily LTR is taller than me so I can do make-up and he can shave at the same time.  And I amMASTERINshaving whilst standing up. 
Personal space Huge closet, big bedroom, pull-out couch for visitors.Two floors with smaller rooms.  Well, now that I demanded my own room (the 2nd BR upstairs), moved pull-out couch to LTR's LR, and realized that a floor of space in-between is necessary sometimes, I really think my inner bitch wins this category. 
Amenities Pool, tennis courts, free heat, and learning Russian as a second language.  And of course, the synagogue.All the music video channels (I can't pay for that kinda cable ALONE), hardwood floors, ceiling fans.  And an attractive man and awesome pooch.Sort of a draw, but really, who needs free heat when you have a dog and an attractive man to keep you warm?

Winner: LTR.  Less because his place is better, but more because he's there.  And I don't really mind swinging my legs when I poop, anyways.

Nov. 18th, 2010

I'll never valet park again.

My e mail to my kickball team on why I can't make the game tonight and why I'm without my car for the foreseeable future.

Sent: Thursday, November 18, 2010 12:20 PM
To: BR
Subject: Re: KICKBALL PLAYOFFS 11/18

O, it's a doozy...I guess life in Richmond is not the most exciting, because the valet boys get their rocks off by driving sexy yellow cars around for 8 miles (which is what they added to my odometer).  They make sure to have the air conditioning on full blast (even though I had the heat on when I arrived in VA) and turn the radio to loud country music (definitely NOT the station or volume I was listening to when I pulled up to the hotel).  O, and they leave a Burger King bag in the car. 

Then they take it a step further and bottom the car out.  Yep.  So, I am paying for a new muffler, which was gouged somehow, and my insurance company is suing the Valet agency.  Good times!! :-) 

On a high note, I sounded like I put an exhaust on my car and have been especially obnoxious when pulling into the college parking lot in the morning. (Especially when I see the President or the Provost walking in.  They need to know how 'hood I am.)

Good luck today if I don't see you guys!!


Thankfully some of my Hampden friends used to valet park for a strip club and told me to ALWAYS make sure I noted my mileage when I valet parked. 
My luck is just astounding sometimes.


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