Pssst. You're using IE 8. My site is going to look like crap nuggets for you. There's a better way. You'll thank me.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

It's Not Fair...

It's not fair....

My mantra. My curse.

"It's not fair" can sum up most of my problems and issues.

It's not fair that certain people (who shall remain nameless) are total assholes and still get the world handed to them on a silver platter.

It's not fair that I work with people who don't respect me, no matter what I do.

It's not fair that I won't be able to give my kids the childhood that I had.

It's not fair that some girls don't have cellulite.

It's not fair that people can say anything they want about you behind your back and will never be held accountable for it.

You get the picture.

The trouble with "It's not fair" is that it is a useless thought, and frankly emotion. "It's not fair" is a state of mind. A dwelling. It's dark, it's lonely, and it wants to keep you there forever.

The fact is, just like your mother told you a billion times, life isn't fair.

"Wow! Really?? I feel so much better now! Life isn't fair...who knew? I'm going to go catch a butterfly now, so I can release it under a rainbow made of laughter ..."

Yeah, I know. It doesn't help to hear that. So now I am trying to think of it a different way. When we say, "It's not fair," what we are really saying is, "God doesn't know what he is doing."

Wait.

What?

Yeah, that got my attention too.

Either God has a plan or he doesn't. I think it's pretty fair to say that God not only has a plan, but a pretty darn good one. I don't know about your family, but when my family would leave to go on vacation, we always had to turn around at least three times to go back for things we'd forgotten. Even after that, I'm pretty sure we always had to buy things that we had left behind once we got to our destination.

Imagine trying to create an entire planet of creatures with free wills and destinies for centuries of existence...without forgetting something.

"Oops! Ozone layer! I knew I forgot something. Sorry about the melted flesh, guys, I'll go back and get it."

It wouldn't have been pretty.

Sometimes, though, don't you feel like God forgot about you?

Um..hello? Didn't you know I wanted that job? Why'd you give it to him?

Not fair.

Um...yeah....that was supposed to be my body type. Why'd I get stuck with this crap?

Not fair.

Um...I'm pretty sure that I should be getting paid more. That guy gets paid more. What about me?

Not fair.

On and on and on.

We never consider for a moment that maybe we got passed over for the job, because there is a better one that is going to come along in two weeks. Or maybe we didn't get Nicole Kidman's body type, because the man we are meant to spend the rest of our life with happens to like ours better. Or maybe that extra money we think we need right now is just more useless junk in the garage that we'll have to clean up.

Instead, we let the storm clouds of self pity settle over us. We throw a few things in a bag: old wounds that haven't healed, grudges we've held way too long, and maybe even some self indulgent bad habits for good measure, and we check right into Motel Unfair. You won't enjoy your stay.

I think even more dangerous than saying God doesn't know what he's doing, is the other true meaning behind "It's not fair", which is this: God isn't good.

If we measure things by our own very human, very judgmental, very narrow view of the universe, I think it would be fair to say that God isn't good.

People are starving.
My car has a dent.
The economy sucks.
Pamela Anderson has her own TV show now.

Not good.
Not good.
Not good.
Not good.

Fortunately for the world, God's goodness exists no matter what our pathetic, petty, picayune scales might say to the contrary. Maybe if we would step outside of Motel Unfair for five minutes, we would see it staring us in the face.

I know I have not spent my last night in Motel Unfair. I'm sure I haven't unpacked my bag of self-pity for good.

But at least now I can see the exit sign.

Monday, July 28, 2008

The Full Monty

Warning: This blog contains personal information regarding body waxing, extreme pain, and my hoo-ha. It is not for the faint of heart.

I've gotten bikini waxes. They hurt.

How much more could a Brazilian-Full-Monty-No-Muss-No-Fuss-Front-to-Back wax hurt?

The answer?

A HELL OF A LOT MORE!!!

I have decided that I can no longer be trusted with myself. I need a conservator of my well-being. Someone who takes me gently by the hand and leads me back into the asylum.

I have been toying with the idea of getting a Brazilian for a long time. I've been getting bikini waxes for years, and Brazilians just seem like they would be so much more...um...thorough. Skimpy bikini here I come.

Four pant sizes later, I have no business wearing a skimpy bikini, much less subjecting some poor aesthetistician to my body contorted into all sorts of embarrassing positions. But I am going to Hilton Head and I want to be able to flounce around sans worries on the beach.

I figured it would be smart to test out the Brazilian before my vacation, in case I have some sort of bad reaction to it.

This is the last smart thought that I had.

Ben had already gotten me a full day of pampering at the spa. Massage, Facial, Eye Brow wax, Lip Wax, Pedicure, and Manicure. What a perfect opportunity to tack on the Brazilian I had always wanted to try?

What follows is an account of what happened in those hours at the spa. Names have been changed to protect the innocent.

Saturday morning I took three Tylenol extra strength tablets and headed off to Abu Ghraib...I mean the spa. After a lovely thirty minute massage with Sven, I figured I was plenty relaxed to survive the Brazilian like a pro. I was led into the facial room and Sadie the sadist, my aesthetistician, informed me that I would be getting all the waxing done first and then the facial. That way I could wind down after she was done.

Eye brows. Rip Rip Rip. No problem.

Upper lip. Rip Rip. Pointless. Fortunately, I don't really have that much hair on my upper lip, so she just removed the top layer of skin for no reason. Oh well, no biggie.

Now the moment of truth. I ask Sadie, "Does this hurt much worse than a regular bikini wax?"

Sadie replies, "Um..well...I have to be honest with you. I've never gotten one done myself before, so I don't know."

Red flag.

Run.

But I don't run. Instead I spread eagle and invite Sadie the Sadist to dive on in.

Now, in my mind, I had envisioned there was some way that these extreme waxers managed to remove every last hair without actually touching my most sensitive lady parts. I couldn't imagine how, and there is a reason...because there is no way to remove every last hair without actually touching my most sensitive lady parts. My gynecologist hasn't been that involved in my lady parts.

Now as mortifying as voluntarily being molested by a total stranger might seem, this thought really doesn't cross your mind. In fact, no thoughts cross your mind, because the amount of agonizing pain that you are in makes your eyes fog over and your brain bleed.

Think being smacked in the pubic region with a hair brush made of nails while making small talk...

For an hour and a half.

That's right, people.

One and one half hour.

90 minutes.

I managed to make it through without crying, but that was probably only because I was unable to blink for over an hour. All of Sven's hard work grinding the myriad of knots out of my back, was completely wasted now. The facial might have been relaxing, had my groin area not felt like someone had just run over it with a lawn mower. As I sat in shock, while someone whose name I didn't even catch rubbed my feet and painted my nails, I glanced over at myself in the mirror. I looked like a newly released POW.

Sadie has assured me that if I get Brazilian's regularly that it will only take half an hour and be far less painful.

I am waiting to see if Brazilian's are indeed like child birth. If I somehow mysteriously forget all the pain, maybe I'll be back in a few weeks before my vacation.

Maybe.

The things women do in the name of beauty.

At least I have pretty toenails, while I rehab my hoo-ha.


Thursday, July 24, 2008

Holy Anger Management, Batman!

Christian Bale was arrested this week on charges of assaulting his mother and his sister THE DAY OF his Batman London premier. I couldn't be happier.

Hello. My name is Ann Bransom. And I am addicted to celebrity gossip.

What is great about this story is that it has so many ingredients that hit my sick palate . For one thing it is Christian Bale, who prior to Batman was kind of a D-lister anyway. Once catapulted to A-list stardom what does he do? Reveals his temper problem. Beautiful.

Secondly, of all the people for him to assault, he chose his own mother. I can take or leave the sister. But his mother??? I have heard two versions of the story, one being that his sister asked for 100,000 pounds (he loses points for the fight involving foreign currency that I can't convert. I mean was she asking for $10 or a $1,000,000?). The other version was that his mom was talking smack about his wife, from whom he is on the verge of separating (points for bringing a failing, fake Hollywood marriage into play AND for the fact that his wife used to be weirdo Wynona Ryder's assistant).

I don't care which story is true, but Christian has admitted to having a temper problem and that's all I need. Christian, in the immortal words of Chris Rock, "There is a reason to push an old man down a flight of stairs, just don't do it!"

The only way this could be improved upon, is if Christian and his family got their own reality show. I'd be the first one setting the series recording on my DVR.

Other stories I am currently obsessed with:

1) Michael Lohan possibly having an illegitimate daughter, who clearly wants her 15 minutes in the spotlight. Don't worry little darlin'. If he is your dad, then you are about to develop an eating disorder and a cocaine addiction, which will launch you to stardom. If he isn't your dad, congratulations, Michael Lohan isn't your dad. Win win.

2)Michael Lohan being banned from Lindsay's I-Am-Pretending-To-Be-A-Lesbian Party. (Bonus points because Dina Lohan said publicly that she was "thrilled" he had been dis-invited. Ouch!)

3)Emphysema suffering crackhead, Amy Winehouse, saying she wants five kids when her husband gets out of jail. Amy, there isn't enough oxygen in the world.

4)Anything involving Denise Richards and Charlie Sheen. Has anyone seen two people less aware of how they are coming off to the world? Anyone? Give the kids to Amy Winehouse. They'll have a better shot.

5)Dr. Drew (Pinsky) publicly diagnosing Britney Spears mental disorder as Federlinus Syndrome. Dr. Drew said, and I quote, "If you take Britney's life and put a moment in time where things started getting bad, it's the moment she got involved with Kevin Federline. That's when things started to unravel."

Thank you, Dr. Drew. Thank you.

Alright. I know today's post was stupid, but I needed something to do on my lunch break.

Adieu.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Jingle Bells...

I have had Jingle Bells in my head all morning. I've been humming it. I've been whistling it. I have been driving my dogs nuts. I am soooooo ready for winter. I know, blasphemy! I'm sorry, but my ancestry has not prepared me for 103 degree heat indexes. My people were hiding in caves for longer than most for a reason...it was hot outside!

I am a person much better suited to fall and winter. That smell the first day the leaves start to fall. The sounds of football games drifting through barely cracked windows. The taste of popcorn right out of the kettle at the local pumpkin festival. The hollow thumping of an over-sized spoon scraping gunk out of a jack-o-lantern.

Then the sky settles into the soft gray of winter. A light snow dusts the ground. Tacky lights are strung from shrub to shrub. Santa looks lovingly down onto the Baby Jesus in the manger (at least in my neighborhood). The kitchen becomes a symphony of sounds and smells. Cinnamon, nutmeg, baking bread. Family seems closer. Childhood not so distant a memory. Everything a little less bitter, a little less hard.

I can't wait.

Maybe the reason I am longing for the seasons to change is because this one has been particularly busy and strange. This past week brought new floors, new dog trainers, a death, more work. The yard is overgrown. The house is a mess. That bikini body I am trying to develop seems miles away. The vacation I was so looking forward to now seems like more of a financial burden than anything else. I just feel so negative lately.

BLECK!

I just want to take all that negative-thinking, self-defeating, over analytical crap and spit it out, curl up with a blanket and some hot cocoa, and watch the leaves drift aimlessly to the ground from the trees behind my house.

That's still a few months away though.

For now, I'll leave you with a thought, as my lunch break is almost over.

"It's not fair."

Ever said that to yourself? Ever dwelt on it? Obsessed over it? Cried over it?

I have and this week I have had not so much an epiphany, as a thought. An idea. I'm still turning it over in my mouth, moving it from one cheek to another, tasting it.

I'll elaborate later...

For now, enjoy some Gus. He too is ready for some Jingle Bells:



Monday, July 14, 2008

Pink Slipped...


Nola has been officially pink slipped. After a short and glorious reign as alpha dog in this house, she must now come to terms with her new position as lowly pack member. And who can we thank for this long overdue usurpation? A little Angel of Mercy known as Vanessa Bell, a la Bark Busters.

After a mortifying five minutes of watching Nola and Gus maul her, during which Vanessa tried to "ignore" their behavior, I could tell that even the seasoned Bark Buster knew we all had our hands full. Especially, after Vanessa's dominating growl, meant to strike submission into the heart of any dog, only made Nola declare, "Ah! A duel!"

Ben and I both needed an education, and boy did we get one. Essentially the chewing, the nipping, the jumping, the not coming when called....all only symptoms. The illness? An unbalanced pack. One in which Nola apparently has assumed the roll of Alpha Dog, creating a tremendous amount of stress for her. She is, after all, only about 60 lbs to Gus's 100 lbs, Ben's 225 lbs, and my none of your business lbs.

She has been officially relieved of her duty. It was not pretty. She peed on the floor. She cried. She jumped. She scratched. She was visibly shaken. From what horrific torture you ask?

Sit and stay.

That's it.

Sit and stay sent her reeling into a dimension of confusion that she is still recovering from.

I could go on all day about the training process, but I'll just say this for now. Bark Busters is awesome, and my dogs are already visibly improved. Our biggest obstacle now is Gus thinking the Alpha Dog position is vacant. It isn't. He'll figure it out just like Nola did. They have a long way to go, but now I can see the light at the end of the tunnel. Stay tuned for updates on how their training is going.

Wait...

What's that?....

Oh, I'm sorry, I almost forgot.

Two other members of the household want me to make an announcement...

THE BITCHES ARE BACK!




Friday, July 11, 2008

Little Snotprints on the Window Pane...


Little snotprints on the window pane
Gone tomorrow
Never troubling me again

Okay, so maybe that poem was about "little fingerprints". And maybe my grandmother just made it up, even though she swears it's real and that she just can't remember the title. It is still very poignant and very true.

My dogs are two of the most obnoxious, ill-mannered, destructive maniacs that were ever born. They have cost me a fortune in home repairs and shoe replacements, not to mention the expense of just feeding two hundred pounds worth of dog. They jump, dig, chew, bite, and just generally act a damn fool. Gus was actually expelled from obedience school.

That being said...

I still love them so much that I actually stayed up half the night crying into their fur, because of a little book called Marley and Me.

Thanks, Dad. Great read. I'll have my therapist send the bill to your house this week.

I am officially a member of the Bad Dogs Club. I am one of those people who doesn't care how bad my dogs act. I still love them like children. And it's a good thing, because in anyone else's house they probably would have bought themselves a one-way ticket to the pound.

Sunday. 12:30. It all comes to an end.

Bark Busting is about to begin.

I fully intend on giving this dog training my all, if not for the fact that it is costing me half a paycheck, then for my own personal sanity. However, if at the end of the day they are still delinquents, I will love them anyway.

We have them for such a short while. They give us their loyalty, their love, and their undying friendship...no matter how we treat them in return.

And then they're gone.

So, I'll keep hiding my shoes in the closet. I'll share my bathroom with the cats, so the litter box will be behind closed doors. I'll replace the vacuum cleaner once a year. I'll keep looking out the window through a film of snot.

It's all a very small price to pay.

If you can't understand that...

get off my planet.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

The Food Must Go On!

In spite of the fact that I am on this insane 1500 calorie a day diet, the food must go on...so to speak. Cooking is one of my greatest joys, and, oddly, one of the things that seems to surprise people most about me. I think I inadvertently give off the impression that I am too much of a Diva to cook, but it couldn't be further from the truth. Not only do I cook every day, but I thoroughly enjoy it!

My kitchen is like an orchestra. Constantly alive with the sounds of chopping, mixing, and sizzling. It also has 3 rules:

1) There should always be something baked from scratch to offer guests.
2) Everything that can be homemade, should be.
3) Everything must get used, one way or another.

For example, tonight I had 3 bananas that had gone too ripe. We do not throw away overly ripe bananas in this house. Instead, we make banana bread.

Of course I don't get to eat any of it. Not enough calories budgeted for banana bread. Luckily, I am engaged to an eating machine, and he is only too happy to oblige. He could barely wait for me to take the picture!

I have, however, found some of my recipes can be worked into my diet. The following will be featured on this week's menu:

Chicken and Dumpling Soup
Pork Fajitas
Potato Soup
Chicken Tetrazzini

I am salivating just thinking about. For the record, naysayers, in spite of eating only 1500 calories a day and running every day like a maniac, I actually gained half a pound this week. Half a pound!!! It might as well be twenty pounds, I am so depressed.

Oh, well.

5 days and counting until Bark Busting....
6 days and counting until laminate floors....

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Independence Day?

For the Fourth of July, my aunt was sweet enough to invite my family up to her house for a cook out. As usual, I brought my camera, in the hopes of perpetuating the myth that I somehow know what I am doing with this piece of memory catching equipment. I truly don't, and yesterday I didn't get very many good shots. I'd love to take a class, but I can't seem to find any in Lexington, KY that are for amateurs. Oh well.

Something was off yesterday, though. In an ironic way, it sort of drove home something I've been recently pondering. Why can't I bring myself to depend on somebody?

Over 200 years ago, our forefathers declared themselves "Independent". Tired of being in a relationship where they weren't validated, valued, appreciated, or treated as an equal, they said, "Enough!" Sound familiar ladies?

And while every year we get together with friends and loved ones and celebrate the concept of being independent with the traditions of overeating and blowing crap up, do we truly value independence in our culture?

Being a single gal in her mid-twenties, unwed, and with no children of my own, I can say that my Independence Days have never drawn as much as a sparkler. For example, I have never:

1. Been thrown a Congratulations-On-Buying-A-House-By-Yourself shower
2. Been given a photo album devoted solely to pictures of the day I got a huge raise
3. Had my parents shed tears, because my cats learned how to use their new cat door for the first time
4. Come home and found balloons and a sign in my front yard, proclaiming, "It's a Promotion!"

I recently joked on Mother's Day that I was declaring a "Single Non-Breeders Day", where everyone had to shower me with gifts and come fix stuff around my house. Only my sister was amused.

Our culture certainly doesn't value DEpendence either, though. Magazines are covered with headlines reading,

"Single and Loving It"
"How to be Happy without a Man"
"How She Moved On"

How many times have we seen a woman on a talk show finally making the decision to leave an abusive jerk and the crowd goes wild, Gloria Gaynor comes blaring through the speakers, and confetti rains down from the ceiling?

So which is it? To be Independent, or not to be...that is the question.

And I think I may have finally figured it out.

We value Interdependence. Allowing yourself to depend upon another human being, who shares your values, your ambitions, your principals, and ultimately those experiences that make us part of the larger human experience. A man and a woman devoting their lives to one another in front of family and friends. A mother letting go of a toddler to take his first steps, but still being behind him in case he falls. A father receiving a pile of tacky gifts once a year in June and still being truly happy, because he knows those gifts mean he is surrounded by love.

It's not that we don't value independence. It's that we value interdependence more, because it means simply...that we are not alone.

That we are in the frame.

Not just taking the pictures.

Most people remember the first line of the second paragraph of the Declaration of Independence, "We hold these truths to be self evident, that all men are created equal..."

I like the last line better.

"And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes, and our sacred Honor."

In other words, we rely on God for protection, and each other for support.

Happy Interdependence Day.