bull horn o'plenty...

Thanksgiving is normally a tolerable holiday. It involves minimal cooking on my part (or, if I'm making my requested dish, fresh cranberry relish*, it involves no cooking at all) and only moderate driving. Seventy miles each way sure beats the 18-hour commute from Connecticut...

This year, tolerance was not on the menu. It was only the three of us this year, so there were fewer bodies to deflect the tension. Bad idea. I knew a cloud of melancholy would hang over the table since it's only been three weeks since my grandmother died. I was ready for that. I also expected the folks to be a bit gloomy because, in true southern style, they are displeased that their beloved college football team has a horrible season and just fired their coach. I cannot fathom why this is remotely important to them, but still, in an effort to stoke the fires of safe conversational topics, I willingly discussed football with them to the extent that my limited knowledge could sustain it. The conversation, not unlike a badly built campfire, dwindled in minutes.

But what I had not adequately braced myself for was the vicious political attacks. I hoped, foolishly, that a holiday truce would be declared - and honored. Wrong. My right-wing lunatic mother - whose intolerance for my political views is legendary (the woman makes Bill O'Reilly seem taciturn and respectful) - set a new record: I had been in the house all of 7 minutes when she launched into a diatribe. Seeing my tote bag (which was on the floor ten feet away, not even facing her) she hissed, "Take that off!" Having just arrived, I'm thinking, "My fleece? Um, okay..." But instead, I asked, "Take what off?" Thus began Round 1 of the heavyweight holiday political jabfest.

"That Obama-Biden button," she said, disdain dripping from every syllable. I had no idea she had seen it, what with it being on the front of my tote bag which was facing away from her and was now completely covered by my jacket. She had obviously been looking for something to bitch about. Oh, let me tell you: that was a monumentally bad idea. Everybody knows you don't provoke a mean dog and you don't start fights with bullies. And you certainly don't push my political buttons the day after I've had a second root canal in as many weeks and I haven't had my first dose of prescription Vicodin because I can't drive under its influence. But she did...oh, man, did she ever. I went from zero to bitch in roughly 2.3 seconds.

"No, ma'am, I will NOT remove that button. It remains on my bag just as the bumper sticker remains on my car. I am entitled to my own views and opinions, thankyouverymuch," I replied.

"Not in my house, you're not," she replied. So many things went through my head, but I bit my tongue.

She must have seen the warning shots fired from my eyes as I reached for the keys in my bag. My look said, "Keep it up and I'll drive home and you can sulk into your turkey without me." Since she hasn't spoken to my brother in at least 5 years, it would be a sad little holiday if she kept up the taunting.

I thought she let it go, so I proceeded to start making dessert. But nooooo...

She kept harping until I reached critical mass. Over the din of the football game blaring from the TV in the kitchen and the sound of her furiously stirring the mashed potatoes, I calmly stated, "Well, mother, he's going to be your president in exactly 54 days, so it does you no good to start an argument." Then I smiled and pretended, to the best of my ability, that she wasn't standing in front of me, snarling.

The rest of the evening went smoothly. I placated both parents with a homemade dessert and two hours of audio entertainment courtesy of The Vinyl Cafe CD of Holiday Stories. (Note to all members of dysfunctional families: it's hard for anyone to stay in a pissy mood when they're laughing hysterically to the tales of Dave and Morley.) But when it was time to leave, the terrible twosome of right-wing zealotry took a few more cheap shots about the president's so-called disputed citizenship and how the country is going to hell...blah, blah, blah.

I didn't wait around for proper farewells. I grabbed my leftovers and hightailed it home, where I could self-medicate into oblivion. It's sad (though quite common among my friends) that you'd rather spend a holiday at home with a bottle of Vicodin than tolerate a family gathering because your family drives you mad...

One holiday down; two more to go...

*Fresh Cranberry Relish (serves 12)

2 bags fresh whole cranberries
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 cups chopped nuts (pecans or walnuts)
juice from 2 large oranges
zest from 2 large oranges
2T pumpkin pie spice
(or nutmeg & cinnamon)
1/2 cup Grand Marnier

Chop cranberries in food processor.
Add remaining ingredients.
Adjust sugars & liqueur to taste.
Store for several hours before serving.
(Even better if made 1-2 days before.)
Serve chilled.


midnight madness...

A midnight movie on a weeknight. Holy hell, I have become a fan.

I abhor excessively commercial, trite literary pablum - especially when its target demographic is the "young adult" crowd.

Confession: I never read even one page of the boy wizard series.

So imagine my surprise when I finally broke down and read the first installation of the teen vampire novel/saga/enterprise. In one sitting. I became one of those people. I also abhor those people - the ones who gush about each plot twist and discuss these fictional characters with such unbridled enthusiasm with their human counterparts that they positively reek obsessive mania.

OK, so I haven't gone that far over the edge. But when all branches of my local library could not provide a single copy of the second book, I did run to the 24-hour box store and purchase it at oh, midnight yesterday. Then I stayed up til dawn devouring every page. (It's a good thing I didn't have to work today.)

After reading the second book, I promptly purchased a ticket for today's midnight showing.

Hmmm...maybe I have gone over the edge. (The last time I stood in line for a midnight opening was for each installation of the Matrix trilogy.) And damn, if I don't have to work tomorrow...

Somebody shoot me. I have become enraptured by cheesy mass-produced writing. In respect to my dearest friend and other talented souls who can actually write, I won't call this author's works "literature" - but damn, if it's not like word crack. I'm jonesin' for a fix. Now I can finally understand what all those Harry fans felt when they sat mesmerized for hours with each new release, unable (or unwilling) to participate in their life until the last page had been turned.

In my own defense, I will offer these points as testimony to why I am predisposed to liking this otherwise unnamed series:

  • I am a bibliophile, a nightowl, and a hopeless romantic (these three are key)
  • I am a sucker for beautiful - no, painfully handsome men (what woman isn't?)
  • I love stories where I can relate to the heroine (this definitely applies)
  • I love to drive fast, take risks, defy authority, and break rules
  • I love darkness and loud music* but also tranquility and the outdoors (both are central themes)
  • I love drizzly, rainy, gloomy weather (another key to setting & mood)
  • I kinda sorta have a deep, dark, twisted, erotic thing for vampires (immortality plus super powers is the ultimate fantasy!)
That said, it is little wonder I responded so overwhelmingly to this series. Come midnight, I will finally savor the silver screen version of my fictional escape, in all its technicolor, surround sound, special effects glory.

I can only hope I won't be disappointed.

*OK, it's mildly creepy to me that the author of this series draws inspiration from many of the same bands I love. The playlists available on her Website are eerily similar to my iTunes collection... Does it annoy me that while we've been listening to the same bands for years, her creative fires led to her six-figure contract and untold royalties from the subsequent movies while I've been writing meaningless blogs and research papers for school? Annoying? Hmmmph...



Actual t-shirt available @ thinkgeek.com

Meh is now an official word, recognized by the British. Seriously. Sure, it's not the latest entry in the beloved OED, that bible for word nerds like me...yet...

Still, I am nine kinds of pleased.

And on an unrelated note, a patient at work today informed me that my city has a championship Scrabble club. (It's my all-time favorite game.) They meet at my favorite local [code for: non-franchised, affordably priced, fair-trade selling] coffee bar. (Coffee is, of course, one of my all-time favorite beverages.) And they meet on Thursdays. Did I mention Thursday has always been my favorite weekday? That's like a rare leisure time trifecta. Oh, I am in word nerd heaven. :)


podcasting in 3..2..1...

Stay tuned
for updates about my upcoming audio podcast.
I'm still working out the details. Apparently this site isn't particularly conducive to podcasting.

The research continues. Here's a teaser for your amusement: intro.mp3


shut your pie hole...

This was me two hours ago, sitting in the dentist's chair having the second root canal of my life. OK, that pic isn't me; it's some cheesy stock photo because A.) I'm too hopped up on Percocet (mmmm...good stuff!) to maneuver anything more complicated than typing, therefore anything uber complicated like hooking a USB cord up to my digicam and uploading photos is waaaaay beyond my grasp and B) I'm much too vain to pose for full-frontal toofer pics. I mean, c'mon, a girl's gotta draw the line somewhere. T and A? Sure, why not? Bicuspids and molars? Dude, that's just nobody's business...except, of course, the dude who dug & drilled and suctioned (if only my body had seen that much action - oh wait, I digress) then gave me a lovely 'scrip for these yummy pills.

Wait. What the hell was my point?

Damn. I know there was something blog-worthy that I felt compelled to discuss. OH YEAH! Some of these damn people in the news really need to learn to shut their fucking mouths. I mean, seriously...I have to vent this.

  • FIRST...to the former token chick on the losing party's presidential ticket (I refuse to type her name she annoys me so much) - look here, Caribou Barbie: your 15 minutes are up now. You will make us all very happy if you will just exit stage left right fucking now. Seriously. You are like the Energizer Bunny of Dumb - you just keep talking and talking and talking and continually proving me right. ENOUGH ALREADY! This chick really needs a ball gag.
  • SECOND...to the idiotic egomaniac rapper who today proclaimed that he is "the voice of his generation" I say this: um, no, you're not. Dude, I saw your lame-ass show at Bonnaroo and I'm STILL fucking pissed that I wasted 4hrs of my life waiting on you to come on stage. You are not even close to being the voice of your generation. News flash, there Einstein: your declaration of a personal opinion in no way constitutes validity of said opinion. I could easily say I am Queen of Planet Earth, but honestly dude, it's just words. I still have no tiara and no powers (but these marvelous little pills make me care a whole helluva lot less, so it's all good!) OK, Mr. Too Big for Your Lo-Rider Britches: get a clue and shut the fuck up. You are NOT the voice of your generation. Sorry, bro, but that title deservedly belongs to the man we elected last week to be #44. And no, don't get all street and put that on a jersey or a hoodie because that would be tacky.
  • THIRD...to the pregnant man who has just announced his second pregnancy: umm, who cares? Look, I'm all about some gay rights and freedom of sexuality and what not, but who honestly gives a flying rat's ass that you're a transgendered woman who grew a beard, strapped on a dick and gave birth using your original incubating oven? Science hasn't changed the fact that you still pee sitting down, so let's face it: your 15 minutes of fame were up about the time your water broke the last time. This cash cow ain't mooing right now, honey, and frankly, none of us care anymore. So get back to lactating or ovulating or whatever the hell you do and be happy living your life...out of the spotlight.
  • FINALLY...not everyone in this world has trouble keeping their mouths shut. This is a travesty, because sometimes idiots REFUSE to speak up and tragedy results. I saw online with great horror that a 4-year old child died this week of starvation in this country at the hands of his legal guardians. This is unspeakable. A child died in Mississippi because his grandmother refused to feed him. But the horror is that other family members were aware of the abuse AND DID NOT SPEAK UP! What is wrong with this country?

What has happened to this world? It boggles the mind...


it's political Christmas...

The day has arrived. I am excited and anxious (somebody get me a drink or a Xanax!) and can hardly wait for the long journey to reach its hard-fought conclusion.

Despite being a red state blue voter, I had zero problems at the polls. That's only because I voted two weeks ago and waited maybe 4 minutes, tops. This means I have free time today (because I took the day off, per Ferris Bueller's instruction yesterday on Huffington Post) to assist others on this historic day.

Today, history will be made - thanks to you and me for standing together and doing our part.

Making history has quite an electrifying feel...


Opus is sleeping...

With those 3 little words, the end came.
Goodnight, Opus...

Thank you, BB, for a simple and serene denouement. :)