terribleturnip: (Goat)
We all know that someone, maybe multiple someones. The "I'm a drama free zone" people. The "I had to quit "whatever" because of the drama. I can't be friends with this person because they're such a drama queen. If you hang out at Renaissance Faires, maybe you've seen the pins: "Drama-free Zone" or some variation on that. (Of course, if you hang out at Renaissance Faire, by definition a multi acre site occupied by actors and wanna-be actors and then declare yourself a drama free zone...you're sort of betting against the odds, there.)

You on facebook? if you're lucky, this hasn't happened to you. If you're normal, then you've had a "friend" announce that they're DONE, they can't handle it, they're leaving Facebook (or insert social media of your choice). Or, they can no longer be friends with/be in the same space, even look at someone else because that person is nothing but drama.

Here's the thing. When you wear that pin? When you publicly shut someone out of your life, when you declare that you DON'T DO DRAMA?

You're actually being a drama queen. You are FLOUNCING. See, you could just not tolerate drama, you could not have someone as a friend, you could just block their posts. And not tell anyone. That's actually just being an adult. Making a point, making a scene...um, that's actually being dramatic.

I mean, what is drama? It's having an audience. You can't do drama on your own. You need someone to see it. You need to involve someone, ideally someone not intimately or naturally involved. That's drama.

So, when you decide that someone in your life is creating unnecessary drama and you just stop seeing them, stop replying to them, stop inviting them, just gently and effectively cut them out of your life (because I'm all about setting effective personal boundaries) but are still polite and coolly cordial when you run into them in a social setting, that's actually just being an adult.

Dude, I get it. You want a clean break, you want people to know that you...wait, no, now you're looking for an audience. And that, my friend, is the very definition of drama.

Adult means doing the right thing and not caring whether someone sees you do it, because you're doing the right thing. Look, everyone needs some affirmation from time to time, but good heavens, try and be self-sufficient when it comes to maintaining your personal comfort zone. And when it comes to leaving behind people who create drama, that is a perfect time to be self-sufficient. Don't be like the very people you're trying to cut out!

I have zero drama in my being life - despite managing a renaissance faire, despite being surrounded by lovely people who have just a bit too much of a flair for the dramatic. How do I manage it?

Well, for starters, don't feed it. When people come to you with drama, just refuse to hear it. Smile, hold your hand up flat in front of them (oh, poppets, you cannot underestimate the power of the gesture. Smile, but hold up the stop sign, do the wave off...make the pfft noise, the rolling of the eyes, the shrug of the shoulders) and then tell them you just don't want to hear it, you just don't care. I don't want to hear it.

It's remarkably effective. Making it clear that you don't give a rat's patoot. They want sympathy, they want you to care, too! Just don't. Refuse the agitation. There are a times when people deserve sympathy and empathy -- ask yourself "is this really the time?" I pretty much always answer "no". And yet, the people I adore still seem to love me. So, seriously, try this.

Also, you have another tool, if you're more extroverted and assertive. Solve their problem. Hard, fast. They start to describe the issue...and you just jump in with "Well this is what you need to do." There may be sputtering. Don't let it distract you. Push your solution (delete their e-mails, stop taking their phone calls, move on, tell them how you feel, give less fucks, whatever it is, demand a hard stop). Smiling. You know what drama queens hate? Solutions. Because it ends the drama. Because they either need to do it, or stop bitching about it. Right? When you've told them how they should fix it, and they don't and then they want to talk to you about it... ask "did you do the thing?" and they're going to say "No, Reasons" and you're doing to hold up the stop hand again and say "do the thing and then we'll talk, otherwise, I got shit to do." I wield this like a boss.

Oh, Poppets, it's game over, then. You've effectively become a drama non-conductive zone. They get no affirmation, only instruction. Oh, drama queens HATE that. Solutions and non receptiveness are the drama killers.

You don't want it? Then don't feed it. Smile, stop hand, solution. They're not bad people. Just bad habits. Help them to be better, help yourself to be happier.
terribleturnip: (Goat)
Yep, it's that time again, hearts and flowers and chocolates, oh my!

Did I leave out the pissing and moaning about how it's all commercial bullshit designed to make single people feel like losers? Yeah, that's going to happen, too.

I originally titled this "Tough Love Day" because that's what I like to dispense, especially around this holiday, but I thought I would reach deep inside my compassion pouch (which is narrow, hard to get into) although, as usual, it was empty, so I had to justify "Love Yourself" on a technicality, which is that I'm dispensing the Tough Love in advance of February 14th.

Which means you've got a couple of days to get your shit together and act like a fully functioning adult.

Here's the thing: You are an adult now. You are responsible for your own joy.

"But Valentine's Day is just a reminder that everyone else has someone to celebrate with and I don't!" "Everyone else is happy and I'm not!"

And some of you are going to make a point of "today I'm going to protest by celebrating singlehood!" While I applaud you celebrating your singlehood...I urge you to restrain your desire to shit all over someone else's holiday. That's like me declaring "fuck all of these women getting cards and dinner and gifts for being a mother, I'm going to celebrate my malfunctioning ovaries and useless raisins of eggs!" By the way, you might think that the "so THERE!" is silent on that, but it's not, we can totally hear it. Try not to be a third grader, okay? Let everyone else enjoy their holiday and stop trying to make a damn point. You celebrate your Egg Raisins on some other day -- THAT'S cool. Rule #44: By all means, celebrate your thing, but don't shit on someone else's celebration when you do it.

Maybe you've never been in a relationship or maybe your past relationships were nothing but heavenly until they abruptly came crashing down around your ears like Trump University. But, newsflash, some of those people going out to dinner, getting cards, flowers, chocolates, jewelry are not necessarily happy. Some of them sort of wish that the person sending them would die in a fire. Some of the people sending them sort of wish that the person they're sending it to would drown in their bath. So console yourself with that.

You wish you were getting chocolates and flowers? You're an adult now. Treat yourself to chocolates/flowers that are just a little bit above what you think you should spend on them. Why the hell shouldn't you have them? You are indeed loveable. I have flowers delivered to my office every year. (Yes, I have three partners. But apparently, my "type" is brainy, balding and complete rubbish at gift giving.) And I know that if I want a thing, I should make the thing happen. I get them delivered because it's a treat to not have to go buy them and then drag them into the office. And yep, I get some fancy chocolates because it's the one time of year where I can have them completely guiltfree. I'm celebrating my overall loveableness and man oh man my loveableness deserves me some fine chocolates and my body image can just shut the hell up for a couple of days.

And let's stop making this a "shower the chick with gifts" holiday. Think it feels weird to send your guy flowers or chocolates? Okay, it's not, that's actually just you being weird. But my guys are getting bacon this Valentine's Day, so feel free to break with tradition in more than one way.

Aromantic? Single and an orphan? Don't have anyone to send anything to? Shame on you. You do so. Now's a great time to thank a friend, a mentor, someone who's supported you over the past year. You don't have to make it a Valentine's Day thing, but since V-Day's happening whether you like it or not, use it as a positive force to remind you that there are people in your life who deserve a little love back from you. Just send them a funny card, a heartfelt thank you card, a felt heart in a card, whatever.

Look, I feel you, single people who really want to be a in a relationship. Despite having a veritable wallow of loving partners right now, I've been there. But here's the thing: if you don't love yourself, if you can't find some measure of peace and fulfillment within yourself without being reflected in the mirror of someone else's eyes...you're not likely to find it in a relationship. A relationship should amplify your happiness because you're putting two happy fulfilled people together. Otherwise, you've got two half empty shell people looking for someone else to fill their shell with happiness. Which means that not only will you be struggling to fill your own happy/fulfilled, you're going to have be constantly draining some to fulfill your partner's happy/fulfilled bucket. You're still going to wind up half empty at some point if you expect someone else to drain off their happiness to fill your emptiness.

Fill yourself. Buy chocolates, send yourself flowers, treat yourself to an expensive steak, have a lovely bottle of wine, dress up and go to the theater, stay in a fancy hotel with a spa, shower love on other people in your life. Go out to dinner with a friend -- and don't celebrate your singlehood...celebrate your friendship. Celebrate being a loveable person who might want someone else in their life, but is pretty damn okay all on their own.
terribleturnip: (Goat)
I organize a neighborhood event for Halloween -- we shut down the street to car traffic, decorate all of the houses on the block, host about 3,000 trick or treaters and people who just show up for the scene or to show off their own costumes. We collect some donations, which pay for some of the streetwide decorations/supplies, and have some stock decor that people can borrow, but really, each house funds its own display, buys its own candy, works really hard to set up something cool, so we can host a three hour party for 3,000 strangers.

It's a lot of work, but the looks on the faces of the kids and visitors usually makes it seem worth it. (I say usually, because by about 3pm on Halloween, having been up and decorating since 5am, I often have a crisis of conscience and think that I'm an idiot who should develop a hobby that involves more sitting around. But that passes. It always does.)

We've gotten a vanload of kids who live in an inner city neighborhood, who've never trick or treated because their own neighborhood isn't safe and think that our street must be what Disneyland is like. We've had foreign exchange students who reported at the end of their stay that this event was the thing that most represented the United States to them -- only here would people, on their own, with no government or social program, with their own money, just do something like this for the enjoyment of others. (I don't know that that's true, necessarily, but it's a nice compliment.)

People say to me all of the time, oh, I wish my neighborhood was that social and united. Look, I can't take credit for starting it -- the event was going on when I moved here, I just sort of got involved and then wandered into being in charge. (I've said in the past that like Tyrion Lannister "I drink and I know things"...which is true, but MORE true is "I drink and I make things happen") When I moved in, we had to buy 400 pieces of candy per house. We're now up to 2,000. I have a tendency to escalate things. And I'll take credit for keeping it alive through some rough patches when people wanted to cancel or bail -- 9/11, a local sniper attack, random rounds of apathy.

But here's the thing:
There is always a thing )
terribleturnip: (Goat)
Here, let me give you another way to be a happier person.

Be gracious.

Yep, that's it. I don't mean "practicing gratitude" as it's often referred to -- where you consciously think about the good things in your life, the things you're grateful for. I mean, okay, that's not at all a bad thing. But it's pretty expletive self-centered. I'd prefer you think about the good things that are in the WORLD, like just being glad that things like chimney swifts and olunguito and grimpteuthis exist. But, okay, baby steps, and if you're mired in all of the things in your life that are going to hell in a moldy handbasket, conscious recognition of what's NOT in that handbasket can be helpful. So, you go do that. And then come back, because I've got some wisdom to deliver.

Read on, my darlings )
terribleturnip: (Goat)
Let's talk about how you treat your vegetables. Side dishes in general, but vegetable side dishes in particular.

Go ahead, take me to a restaurant that serves up giant horsecarrots and zucchini slices, cut on the bias like that's going to help, barely blanched or practically raw with a random grill mark on them, with a little bit of salt and pepper. I won't make a scene because I'm genetically predisposed to not making scenes in restaurants, but there will be heated muttering and moues of disgust.

Note: I'm fine with raw vegetables. Really. I will just eat a bowlful of cherry tomatoes, or snap peas and be happy as a clam. But a lot of people are confusing "al dente" with "not bothering to cook" and it's pissing me off.

I will be less disappointed with a restaurant that does something lovely with the veg, but then buries it underneath the protein treating it as just another flavor note to complement the protein. Then again, composed dishes always irritate me. I like to taste each component on its own and then in different combinations. I will allow that that's a personal quirk, but still...

Show the vegetable some love! Let it shine! Elevate it!

If I were enough of a masochist to start my own restaurant, the menu would be composed of vegetables and sides. I'd suggest some combos, but you could mix and match as you please, or have them all as small plates. There would be a couple of protein choices, but they'd all just be high quality, very simply prepared, so that they could complement all of the sides. Because seriously, it's not that hard to cook a good steak if you start with a good piece of beef and then don't fuck it up. But to make people swoon over broccoli or zucchini? That's what I'm proud of.
Here's how )
terribleturnip: (percy)
There are definitely some things I regret. Like not putting down new carpeting and flooring before I moved into the house. Because now that seems like such a daunting task with all of the furniture and other crap that every time I think about it I panic and pull out paint chips because repainting seems more manageable.

I regret that every damn week, I fail to spray down my bodice with vodka at the beginning of the week because that means I had to do it this morning so that it would dry in time to be packed this afternoon. And while I’m fond of alcohol, aspirating vodka spray at 5am on a Friday morning is…intense.

Like having fallen down on my box elder bug massacre maintenance this spring, because now the little bastards are EVERYWHERE. In EVERYTHING. And they’re all going to come inside with the Halloween props.

And speaking of Halloween props, I regret, once again, not having carved more tombstones in June when I had time and could do it outside on the deck. Because now I don’t…and the neighborhood needs more. Which means a living room filled with Styrofoam dust.
And I definitely regret letting my clear nail polish dry up. Because yesterday while getting dressed, I got a run in the foot of my stockings and had to use red polish to stop the run. Which meant later that afternoon, laying on the table at the gynecologist, feet up in stirrups, I had to explain why there was red all over my foot. Like it’s not ALREADY an uncomfortable situation.

But that’s about it, I think.

Because I tend not to have regrets. I suppose I’ve got some oh, I wish that’s – although those are usually just wishing that I’d been better at something, or made a better decision. But that’s pretty fleeting. After all, all of the things that I’ve done, all of the things that have happened to me, have made me, ME. Every hurt, every scar, every tear, every sleepless night… every laugh, every hug, every tear of joy, every moment of beauty has built the woman I am.

This morning I was thinking, ah, if only, when I was teaching myself to jump off a running horse and land running next to them, if only someone had said to me then “Hey, you’re a sturdy girl, landing that hard and fast on your right knee that many times, you’re going to feel that every damn morning once you get to be fifty years old” maybe I would have given that up. Because they’d have been right, I hammered that cartilage into oblivion. On the other hand, I could jump off of a horse in motion and most of the time, land running right beside them, or worst case, land and let a forward roll take my momentum and then come up. Which saved, if not my life, at least my spine, because I had to do a controlled bail-out on several occasions. So, yeah, I gimp around now – but seriously, I made some jaws drop leaping off crazy two year old thoroughbreds having temper tantrums and landing on my feel holding the reins still. Saved my neck when the stirrup leather broke on a cross country course.

If only…would I be richer, would I be less achey, would I be living near the ocean, would I have a horse still, would I…maybe. But I probably wouldn’t be any happier. It would just be different stuff I’d be worrying about. You can second guess yourself to death. Ugh. Who’s to say that thing you should’ve done would have made your life any better. Who’s to say it wouldn’t have brought you just as much misery, just dressed in different clothes?

Happy and no regrets? I’ll take that.
terribleturnip: (percy)
I’d say that I’m glad to see the ass-end of this year, but as far as I know, the Fates don’t hit a reset button on January 1st. And it’s my personal mantra that every day, every hour, every decision, every action, is a chance to do better than you’ve been doing, to do a more right thing, to behave better. There’s not a lot you can do about misery, except endure it, maybe consider whether you’re enabling it or letting it drive you. But joy, joy you can create. So, try to squeeze a little more joy creation into my life, that’s as far as I’m going in terms of resolutions. And pondering that joy, let’s do more of that. It hurts every bone in my Lutheran-WASP-New England body to consider congratulating myself for doing well, wallowing in it, taking pride in it. Yeah, well, sometimes you have to tell your heritage to go expletive itself.

Material things are the least likely to bring me lasting joy, but sometimes a quick fix is what you need. And then there are other things that just make me happy that I’ve discovered them.

If you live near a Whole Foods or Roots or Dawson’s or Fresh Market, consider treating yourself to Jeni’s Splendid Ice Cream, www.jenis.com. Or really splurge and have it delivered. Go, look at the flavors. Now, even better than the ice cream – and I only know for sure that the Whole Foods in Rockville has these, but they’re worth seeking out, find her ice cream sandwiches. They’re in little brown square boxes with white labels. Oh, I know, you’re thinking “$7.99 for a freaking ice cream sandwich?” But listen. For starters, half of one really IS a serving. If you can eat the whole thing at one sitting, we need to talk about your eating habits and learning to enjoy, and not inhale, your food. Listen again. Two almond and hazelnut macaron cookies sandwiching rich, creamy dark chocolate ice cream. Rolled in salted roasted hazelnuts. How good was it? I finished the second half several days ago, but the box is still sitting on the coffee table because it makes me happy just looking at it and remembering how freaking good it was.

Plus, also, these people:

I want to kidnap these people and make them help me with Scary Perry -- so much creativity, working with household objects and a baby. And the photos are staged beautifully. Plus, their story – hey, we moved, have no social life and all these boxes. I’m so jealous of their creativity, I want to hate them. But the pictures make me so happy, that I forgive them.
http://cardboardboxoffice.com/

If you are a baker of cookies, you should do this now, so that you’re ready for next year’s cookie baking, because these two things have made a huge difference in my cookie baking experience. You need to buy the parchment sheets from King Arthur Flour – they’ll fit your cookie sheets perfectly, and save all that time you used to spend greasing sheets, washing them, or cutting parchment to fit. Now you can spend it chasing that runaway dragee around the kitchen floor. While you’re there, also buy the folding cooling rack. It stores flat, and opens to hold four cookie sheets, safely and securely. Or, you can keep putting random cooling racks all over the counter, knocking one into the other and shooting the one at the end off the counter completely. Plus, less cat sneezing on your cookies.

Okay, I know I sound like a shill for Whole Foods, but sadly, they’re the only place I’ve been able to find the best chicken sausages I’ve ever tasted. If you’d asked me a month ago, I’d say there is, really, NO chicken sausage worth eating unless there’s no possibility of finding a pork sausage or you’ve got some kind of bizarre porcine allergy. However, I’m a changed woman, and honestly there are plenty of pork sausages I’d pass up in a hot minute to lay my hands on a Brat Hans chicken sausage. Especially the DogfishHead special sausages. I can’t seem to find any more of the DogfishHead varieties, which I hope is just temporary, but stocked up on the regular varieties. Who would have thought I’d have a freezer full of CHICKEN sausage? Not me.

Also, I’ve managed to keep an orchid alive for over a year and it’s sent up a flower spike. It’s going to bloom again. I’ve never managed to do this before, mostly because I’ve always assumed I couldn’t, and that I’d just waste a year coddling something that would never bloom or do much beyond shoot out gnarly roots and then die. Wah, it's too HARD.

Sometimes it’s worth it to try it again anyway. Think on that, would you? Don’t assume you can’t. Maybe sometimes you can't. But sometimes? You totally can.
terribleturnip: (chef)
War on Christmas. Bah, humbug! Seriously, we need a cure for the thing that makes people feel better about themselves if they feel under attack. Why do do people keep falling for that carp? I know, I know, it’s all self-reinforcing, your beliefs about whatever are made more valid if you find a person or group that gives you constant feedback about how right you are. And an enemy outside the door makes that camaraderie powerful and strong.

Look, I’m an atheist who spent the first weekend training a Pandora station to play my favorite Christmas music. It’s pretty much all God, all the time, since I abhor darn near any Christmas song written after 1900. I celebrate the solstice – hey, tree, lights and other pagan traditions! Most of my Christmas cards say “Merry Christmas!”…mostly because I’m sending them out because I’m celebrating Christmas and that’s why I’m sending an expletive card. I’m not above “Happy Holidays” or “Seasons Greetings” if I happen to otherwise like the card, but I honestly don’t delineate between holidays here. Honestly I hope you have a great expletive YEAR. I hope it’s all unicorns and rainbows all the time for you. That’s what I would really wish. But I’m going to go with small, attainable goals, and just hope you make it through Christmas, New Year’s and whatever else you’ll be celebrating. Come Epiphany, you’re on your own – I don’t have enough mojo to make things good all year for you. I mean, clearly I can’t even do that for myself.

So, you can put as much Christ in your Christmas as you want. I don’t care. I don’t care if you wish me Merry Christmas. I don’t care if you ask God to bless me. I don’t care if you say you’ll pray for me. And by the way, do you know what the correct responses to those platitudes are, even if you don’t believe or agree with them? In order: Merry Christmas to you, too; Oh, thank you; Oh, thank you. That’s expletive it. If you can’t bring yourself to say Merry Christmas back, then you can substitute “Oh, thank you.” And make response genuine, because Santa, Krampus, Shelf Elf, Pennywise, whatever keeps you on your toes, is keeping a list.

I got forwarded an e-mail from a relative, asking for support in the War on Christmas, and to only shop in stores that use the word “Christmas” instead of “Holidays”. With a big giant exhortation to join "us" in being proud to say "Merry Christmas!" Because you know, the secularists are trying to make that illegal. (Wait, WHAT?)

War on Christmas, my big atheist butt. As an atheist, (currently ranked as the nation’s least trustworthy and likeable group of people, even below Congress. The latest poll has, I think, a Satanist having a better chance of being elected president than an atheist, because at least they believe in SOME kind of religion, thanks a lot, America, that warms the very cockles of my possibly soulless self. Sigh.) I have only one issue. One. Religious displays belong on private property. Your yard, your church, your private hunting grounds, your car, your person, wherever.

(Oh, now I’ve thought of the best worst Christmas sweater ever. It’s a nativity scene. Only the wisemen are separate and Velcro backed, so that each day you can move them closer to the manger. Which should totally be on a breast. Of course that means you have to put it on when Advent starts and wear it until Christmas, inching the wisemen ever closer. I suppose you could just wear it on Advent Sundays, but then you run the risk of not creeping out your colleagues.)

Anyway. Honestly, I don’t really care. They’re just statues to me, unless it’s a live nativity and there’s animals and then I’m all “DONKEY, I love donkeys…..yes, baaaaaa to you too, sweetheart, what no camels?” But, here’s the thing: I AM all about inclusiveness. If there’s only ONE, then yeah, you’re sort of promoting Christianity, or whichever religion made it onto the green, above other religions and implying that the state supports THIS religion. And the pesky Constitution sort of says “NO” to that. Plus, it’s not fair to only allow one. So, if you allow one, then you have to allow ALL of them. And then the town green looks like an expletive yard sale. Just light the damn tree and let’s move on, okay? (An ancient symbol that no longer carries any religious connotation – oh, someone out there’s offended, but seriously start at the beginning of this post again – and is just freaking pretty during this cold, dark season.) Anyway, I fully support your right to have a giant blow up nativity scene all over your front yard. (Although I may plant fast growing shrubbery come springtime.)

Besides, the “soul soldiers” defending Christmas against secularism (for the record, you Christians started that present giving/consumerist debauchery. We atheists probably would have just done with the tree, a firkin of good beer, and annual debate over the origin of lighting the tree) should be looking behind you. Because there’s the REAL war on Christmas. Your even more conservative brethren? They think that YOU are going to hell because you celebrate Christmas. That’s right. They think this whole gift giving and dressing up for a nice Christmas dinner and Christmas Carols, even the Baby Jesus ones, Christmas mass, all that is sinful. They want to blot Christmas out of existence. They succeeded for a while, in the early days of this country, but eventually got overruled. Well, guess what my friends, the uber-Fundies, the Neo-Puritans, have discovered Facebook and Twitter. And they’re getting themselves all worked up to bring you back to the true path…

(I’m now switching gears and talking to all of YOU now, the actual readers. The ScoldFinger ™ might be deployed.) In any case, for crying out loud, hold yourselves together for a couple of weeks and practice goodwill toward men (and women). Stop assuming that people are out to offend you, trample your rights, ruin your Christmas or attempt to ignore Christmas. You are responsible for your own joy. If you’re all busy being offended and pissed off, your joy will be tiny and stunted. And that’s just a stupid waste. (You’re making the Baby Jesus/Buddha/Hanuman/reindeer cry.)

You know what the biggest miracle of this season is, and the biggest truth? Your joy grows the more you share it, like some crazy holiday cornucopia of Happy.

So get out there, and get on with spreading the Happy.

Even to that expletive that just stole the parking space you were waiting for. I didn’t say it would be easy. Just do it anyway. You’ll feel better. If nothing else, because that jerk will now be worried that you’re planning some Dexter-esque revenge later on in the mall.
terribleturnip: (willow)
Okay. Riffing on the old analogy of “when you’re up to your ass in alligators, it’s hard to remember that your objective was to drain the swamp”…

The alligator level went zooming past my shoulders a long time ago. Swamp? I can’t even SEE the swamp for the alligators. As a matter of fact, my problem now is that I may even be INSIDE one of the damn alligators.

I’ve been trying to review this all of the entry work on a contract to make sure it was done correctly, since 8am this morning. I JUST finished. This is a 15-20 minute job. But those alligators……

This here is your trigger warning for sexual assault and also some rough language. Because I am mad. )
terribleturnip: (percy)
http://themetapicture.com/how-to-recognize-the-artists-of-paintings/

I know this was on facebook, but I found it inordinately delightful. In many cases, it helped me recognize what it is that BUGGED me about a given artist. I’m looking at YOU, Carvaggio. I remember needing to make a conscious effort with Breughel and Bosch to remember which one was the really crazy vs just slightly unnerving.

No matter how badly your day is going, there is something about loading your car up with $200 worth of booze during your lunchbreak that makes you feel much, much better.

I’m going to share some social rules with you, because clearly many, many parents have failed their children in this regard and while I’m the first person to say “look, a handwritten thank you note is lovely…but seriously an e-mail, text, or just telling me conversationally is perfectly acceptable” I feel like THESE rules are sliding a bit too far south for me.

When you are invited to someone’s house for dinner, you’re supposed to bring something as a host/hostess gift. It can be small, it can be inexpensive, a little jar of jam or pickles you made or bought, a beautiful bloom you picked form your garden, or handful of herbs, a card with a little poem about friendship, or you can go with the old standbys of a bottle of wine or flowers. But really, it should be something. Sometimes you forget. Or were in a hurry and honestly, it’s better to be on time and empty handed. But later, a couple of days after the dinner – a card or e-mail is thoughtful. Exceptions: you guys get together all the time, so it’s pretty much a family dinner; you’re just getting together for takeout; it’s spur of the moment; you were specifically asked or expected to bring food or some other supply.

And remember, both host/hostess and hosted: technically speaking, the wine is NOT to be drunk that evening. Gift, as in for the host/hostess LATER. If you want to bring something to drink that night, go for it (although understand that your host/hostess may well have chosen specific wines for each course and doesn’t want your Cab Sauv muscling in where it wasn’t invited) just bring two bottles then. (I’ll admit, I’ll let this one slide if you bring me wine, mostly because my friends and I can do rip through some SERIOUS quantities of wine. But if you see me sneaking off with something lovely that you brought and hiding it, don’t rat me out.

And if the invite says 7:30pm…you do NOT arrive before. Park your car a block away and chill. Four to fourteen minutes late is the acceptable time to arrive. Exceptions: It’s a surprise party so you really need to be there on time so you don’t blow the surprise (if you’re throwing one, make sure you tell your guests not only when they need to be there, but also when you expect the surprisee to arrive, so if they’re running late, they know when they just need to wait a block away so they don’t blow the surprise.); there’s some other time sensitive activity; you’ve been asked to help out, or checked ahead of time to see if you arriving early would help.

To be clear: this is not directed at any specific person, or occasion. If right now you’re feeling guilty, wondering if the last time I had you over…heh, remember, it’s ME. I have told people that they’re early and they need to go back home or go sit in the car because it’s not time yet. My Danish is far better than my Subtle…and the only things I can say in Danish are Thank you and Beer.

I have gotten all lazy about using LJ cuts unless I'm thinking that things got egregiously long. If I'm messing up your friends feed with crazy long posts, do let me know. Now that so many bloggers are trying to up the number of clicks to make ad revenue grow, I find myself getting annoyed at having to click through. But if I'm making you have to click more on your friend feed, well, THAT'S not fair.
terribleturnip: (percy)
Oh, Matthew Inman, I love you more than cheese and even bacon. I may even love you as much as I love cultured butter with sea salt crystals.

And I love that so much that I pay just as much for shipping as I do for the damn butter. It’s THAT good. Vermont Creamery, you can order from Murray's Cheese. You want the kind with sea salt crystals in the little basket. You’re welcome. It's awesome.

And so is Mr. Inman’s latest…and it perfectly sums up my thank you note to the internet for reminding me on a daily basis that most of humanity is a moron and if it weren’t for opposable thumbs, ThudChinchillaSpawnofSatanCat Pushkin would give most of them a run for their money.

http://theoatmeal.com/comics/ohmygosh_link

And yes, I’m tired of people telling me (via the internet, again…and let’s all take an irony-break while we think about what we’re both doing right now, in the separate nows we’ve had on this post) how this THING – Crossfit, giving up dairy, burning sage and spinning widdershins daily, wearing some damn armband that reports not only the number of steps you take everyday but also how many times during the night you woke up, drinking a cup of vinegar a day, daily meditaion, what the hell EVER.

Happy and Healthy is a multidimensional, multidisciplinary endeavor. And if you changed one aspect of your being and everything is different? You’re not paying enough attention to your life. Or maybe you’re a simple idiot. Or maybe your life is so small…no. NO. You’re just wrong. It wasn’t that ONE thing. You just think it is. We’re not discussing this anymore. I’m giving you this link because this woman gets it:

http://iambeggingmymothernottoreadthisblog.com/2013/06/24/twelve-habits-of-happy-healthy-people-who-dont-give-a-shit-about-your-inner-peace/

I did not watch the VMA’s. I have no desire to see Miley Cyrus’s performance. I can’t even BELIEVE I just typed her name. I would have sworn that would never happen. But okay. I’ll own it. It does rather perfectly exemplify what’s been pissing me off about the internet and humanity’s access to being able to opinionate repeatedly about something that someone else did. Holy bedbugs, when did we all become qualified critics?

(Irony break.)

Gah. It’s bad enough that people make the mistake of thinking that just because they have mouths and voices, everyone wants to hear what they have to say. Now every moron with a keyboard and an opinion is spouting off on a daily….nay, hourly basis. But this is nuts. It’s like this chick is the veal on which we get to ladle whatever sauce we think is best.

So, here we go: thanks for aiding/abetting the patriarchal notion that women are just sex objects and the only way they can own a stage is through overt sexuality; you go, girl, men have been doing that sort of thing for decades, you be your own woman and do what you want; thanks for highlighting the awful way that black women are treated as back-up objects and only as sex objects; screw you, racist bitch for continuing to treat black woman as back-up/sexual objects and appropriating our culture.

(That last one, I had to look into a bit, read farther. I’m thinking…foam finger thingy?...ah, no, twerking. Okay. Newsflash. Women have been doing that for centuries. Women of all colors. Not on the dance floor, mind you. In private. Or on a certain kind of stage with other like-minded individuals. But yeah, I’m now officially old enough that I’d like to sort of see people DANCE, instead of mock-expletive each other. No, wait. I think I thought that in high school as well. )

What else? Oh, yeah, there was the mocking because the whatever she was wearing didn’t fit right and may not have been complimentary. The mocking because frankly, it sort of sucked. The mocking because….

Oh, god, I can’t even THINK about it anymore. A whole expletive nation of hand-twisting, judgmental, neighborhood tongue-waggers.

Seriously. Get outside. Read a book. Watch television worth watching. Write a book. Learn to cook something. Go cut the branches that are hanging over that stop sign that the county can’t seem to get to and somebody’s going to get t-boned when someone breezes right through it.

Okay. Well, that’s what *I* was doing. Instead of writing a blog post about….

Whoops.
terribleturnip: (percy)
My inner twelve year old still thinks of camels or moles when I hear that. A local radio station makes that a juvenile joke every Wednesday, using the other meaning. I'm wondering how many more Wednesdays will I waste seconds wondering why they're sniggering at camels. Or moles -- before we played croquet, we always had to even out the mole humps in the yard. There are mole crickets, which don't have or make humps, which remind me of camel crickets which don't make humps but do have them.

Speaking of bugs, this story made me cry a little:

http://www.npr.org/blogs/krulwich/2012/02/24/147367644/six-legged-giant-finds-secret-hideaway-hides-for-80-years
the perserverance of life, the cuddling of the pair bonded insects, watching the new born hatch out of that tiny egg, like a clown car but with a single GINORMOUS clown. You think your day is hard? Watch the video.

Plus all these people working so hard to rescue this giant insect and now they have to rely on an island community to make up their minds whether or not to let them back to their original home. I dunno, New Zealanders, for some reason I feel as if it might be possible - yeah, mate, exterminate the rats, bring the giant bugs back.

As opposed to say, Anacapa Island in California where it's a huge firestorm of opposing forces. And a perfect example, really, of ANY environmental issue: people who say screw it, don't care, don't spend ANY of my tax dollars on saving some damn animal; people who say save this animal at any cost; people who say OMG, you can't poison rats, they deserve to live too, don't kill anything, ever, even if we lose a species or eco-system; and people who say hmm, this is a complex issue and maybe we need to study it a bit because history gives us many examples of unintended consequences. Although those people tend to get drowned out in all of the rhetoric from the louder, more fanatical, more black and white, simplistic solution people.

Case in point -- The Don't poison the rats to save the murrelets, or whatever bird it is, Faction claims that it's actually boaters and tourists that disturb the birds and keep them from nesting/breeding successfully. (Could be true, could be exaggerated. Certainly it's not HELPING, so maybe we should restrict that.) That there's no proof that the rats are eating the bird eggs/nestlings. (This also could be technically true...but only on the lack of proof part...we know rats, and we know that they will eat ANYTHING. And if they are not kept in check by predators, of course they will eat the eggs and nestlings. Hellooooo, they're rats! It's why they're so successful and like us, as a group, they will eat anything that tastes good and a lot that won't. And in a closed loop eco-system, island, has the potential to eat everything unchecked until the whole system's crashed.) You're accidentally poisoning other things on the island's eco-system they also claim. (This is probably true. Poison, while the easiest and most effective, most cost efficient, doesn't really discriminate. And I think they're air-dropping pellets, which is just dumb, albeit cheap. Bait boxes, if you must. But if the other populations aren't endangered...you can lose of lot of them, and then without the pressures of rats, they'll probably bounce back quickly.) But the dead animals!

Pick any environmental issue you want that involves something endangered and the only thing I can guarantee you is: the whole situation is way more complex than ANYONE who's grabbing media attention will reveal; none of the decisions are easy; and of course there will be unintended consquences, so you have to do the best risk assessment you can, and be prepared to be wrong...but it's probably better than doing nothing, and even if you fail, you take away learnings.

So, my children, beware of anyone who proposes a simple solution, because the simpler it is, the more facts they're burying/ignoring. You know who you want fixing things? The person who reluctantly agrees that something has to be done, they're not sure if this is the right thing, but it seems to be the best possible solution, and then they sort of look like they're going to throw up just thinking about it, will definitely loose sleep during the project. Give him or her a package of Zantac and Sominex, because that's the person who will make the best decisions, even if they're not right.

Not it! Not on this one. Because I'm already thinking about building a vivarium and seeing if I can lay my hands on those insects, just in case Lord Howe Island doesn't come through.
terribleturnip: (percy)
Even after my last post, some of you may doubt the utter adorability of a sloth in a bowl. I give you this:
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/06/02/sloth-pictures-images_n_3368628.html

Dear Gateway: Did you seriously design a tower with a top that is perfectly cat-sized…and put the on/off button right where the cat’s paws rest? Turnip, why is there concertina wire and broken glass on top of your hard drive thingy? Oh, to keep cats and pigeons from shutting off my computer about A DOZEN TIMES A DAY.

(For the record, I don't actually have pigeons in the house. You're thinking of my grandmother. I only have fifty pigeon EGGS in the house. But that's a story for another time.)

Dear Clydes of Tower Oak: Okay, I get the whole hunting lodge vibe you’re going for. And the dozens of saddles used as décor…the smell of leather and colors/patterns of saddles certainly make me feel right at home, although they don’t lead me to think “oh, let’s eat” but more like ah, I need to get back in shape and get out more, and maybe if I was riding again I wouldn't be so fat. Or maybe if I ate LESS. But that’s probably just me and a small handful of people. And again, hanging saddles on the dividers between booths…makes me sort of feel like my booth is a stall, and maybe I should be ordering a bucket of grain, instead of a ribeye. But, looking around at the clientele, again, it’s probably just me, AGAIN. I do want to thank you, though, for hanging those saddles so that they sit pretty much at temple height for men, and because you don’t have the stirrups run up properly, the stirrups are hanging dangerously at temple height for women. Because I’ve had a blast all night long, watching people duck suddenly, or take a hit right in the head. Seriously, finally I understandsome people’s inability to look away from a television screen in a bar. My date probably thinks I’m incapable of maintaining eye contact. Hopefully he thinks the occasional giggles are because he's so amusing.
Back in the saddle, writing-wise, at least in terms of length )
terribleturnip: (percy)
Here’s a lesson I’ve circled around to several times in my life, but have now wholeheartedly embraced…and like all converts, I feel that your life too, would be much better, if only YOU would embrace it!

Luckily for you, I have only so much time to worry about your life. And Yankees in general make crummy proselytizers. We’ll tell you once. And then laconically raise an eyebrow and sigh when you continue to get it wrong. And wait for you to come to your senses. That’s about all we’ve got.

So, here’s your once. )
terribleturnip: (percy)
Okay if you haven’t seen the “goats screaming like humans” video, you should, it’s hysterical, although not as funny as “How to Piss off a Frog” which is short and bellylaugh inducing. Admittedly, experiencing schaudenfreude from watching animals get revenge on humans is perhaps my second most favorite pleasure in the world.

Although I need to make a point. Actually, some of them are sheep. There, I said it. I feel much better. It would be the highest form of geek douchebaggery to post that whenever anyone posts the video, but it’s been hard to resist. But here’s the thing: you really HAVE to resist. Because, for starters, that’s not the point. Let’s face it “Sheep and Goats screaming like Humans” is unwieldy. And “Caprinae screaming like humans” is the best possible title from an accuracy standpoint, and extremely appealing to geeks like me, but let’s face it, you didn’t spend hours gathering and editing goat and sheep videos so that it could be appreciated by the 125 geeks in the world who’d run across it, know you were talking sheep and goats, had the time to click on it and weren’t at work or someplace that bans YouTube or headphones. You did it for the adoration of the masses, and I applaud you for it.

But there’s something in a geek’s brain that won’t let inaccuracy rest, even in the face of seeming like an expletive jerk. Which is why we get beat up all the time in middle school and high school…at least until we develop an internal editor or are so ostracized that our only company is other people who start a lot of their sentences with “Well, ACTUALLY…”

And that’s your cue right there. When you realize that the sentence you’re about to utter begins with the word “Actually”? Think long and hard on your audience, Bucky. Because the frequency of sentences you utter that start with the word “Actually” will be in inverse proportion to the number of friends you have. And if you’re not careful…you will die alone. Smart, but alone, and nibbled on by cats, or your whateverdoodle, or ferret or hermit crab.

Personally, I recommend you start a semi-hidden blog like this one, hidden amongst the reeds of friends who get you and complete strangers who don’t even know you or really care, so you can get it out of your head before it births a tumor or something.
terribleturnip: (percy)
Here, libertarians and other people who think that regulation and watch-dog agencies are crushing the free market, here’s my rebuttal:

Horse meat in your beefburger. Maybe not even horsemeat, perhaps donkey.

Not bad enough?

Pork in your halal meat.

A manufacturing plant that knew its peanut butter was contaminated with salmonella and continued to ship it anyway.

DNA testing demonstrating that really, all of those labels and restaurant descriptions should just say “Fish” because half the time, whatever it’s being called is not what it actually is.

China. Any food that comes from China. Good luck with that.

For the record, that’s just the tip of the iceberg. Go outside the food industry and have a field day.

Although you'll run the risk of losing all faith in your fellow humans... )
terribleturnip: (percy)
Oh, that feeling you get, after you press “send” and you realize that while it was a great idea to send a note to your supplier, giving him feedback on his team and the stellar presentation they delivered to your client, it might have been a better had you not misspelled Bobby’s name and called him Booby.

Also, while I’m having name issues, please, no more naming your children Michael or Jacquelyn. I cannot spell either name correctly without backspacing, re-typing, SEVERAL times. I’m going to go to my grave without ever mastering either name, so you’re going to have to be Mike or Jackie and just deal with it.

How many glasses, out of a 750 ml bottle of cherry cider, will it take before I accept that it’s really foamy and I’ll have to pour very slowly and carefully or wind up with cherry cider all over the counter? The answer is: ALL OF THEM.

Oh, hey, colleagues, when I said feel free to forward the happy hour invitation to other associates, I didn’t really mean upper management. Especially since I used this phrase “But seriously, if you don’t come to happy hour, you’ll probably be confused by the unseasonably warm temperatures, put on shorts, go outside…catch pneumonia and die. And no one wants that.” Because then you get an IM from a senior exec that reads “Wait, did you just set up a “come to happy hour or die” scenario?”

I love this, love this, love this: http://skepticalmothering.com/2013/01/16/do-you-have-forers-disease/

And now I get all opinionated and bossy. Shocker. )

2012 review

Jan. 3rd, 2013 10:19 am
terribleturnip: (percy)
An unexamined life is not a life worth living. I don't remember who said that, but I take it very seriously. A new year, time for taking stock? Oh, what you don't want to do it because everyone else is doing it? Oh, you feel like you're selling out to peer pressure doing it, just because everyone else is?

What, are you in high school?

I'm talking to myself here, but if the shoe fits you, feel free to borrow it. It doesn't actually matter, as long as you've thought about it, thought about why, and then decided you want to anyway. More thoughtfulness, that's what the world needs.

So anyway, here we go )
terribleturnip: (percy)
The good news, the fingertip is healing nicely (and for the record, it wasn’t the ScoldFinger, although I’m thinking that a chewed off fingertip might’ve added some street cred). It may even be completely unnoticeable, once the nail grows back. Testament to how rapidly your fingertip cells multiply, as opposed to the cells on the inside of your forearm. (Ahem. Yes, I’m talking to YOU, Forearm Scratch that I don’t even remember getting, but after five weeks still looks like a mountain lion attacked me.)

The bad news, I’m an expletivenut, got cocky and in the interests of being able to type properly, didn’t bandage it up today. Which was FINE until fifteen minutes ago when I SLAMMED it into an upright folder divider and all of those brand new baby ultra-sensitive nerve endings are so OUTRAGED that I am hunt and peck typing this. A little easier since I sharpied the letters back on the keyboard.

Although still a pain in the patoot to type, so that was as far as I got with writing last night. Aaaaand, did I remember to bandage it today? No. Am I out of bandaids here at work? Yes. Did I remember to grab bandaids, or bandage the finger when I had to run home to accept delivery of my new coffee table earlier this morning? Of course not.

Par for the week, my friends, par for the week. Monday I set my alarm for 5pm, instead of 5am (one of the reasons why I get up at the same time every morning, no matter what, is to minimize my odds of expletiving up the alarm time) was late into work…not that it really matters to anyone here, but it puts me mentally behind all day long. And I froze all day long. I love being near a window, but being near this giant poorly insulated window does mean that I’m a bit more at the mercies of the weather. Oh, and left my phone at home, which for once, I really had to have with me, since I was coordinating several deliveries and faire activities. So I got to spend my lunch break going home and fetching it.

So, Tuesday, I was determined to do better. Checked the alarm a half dozen times. Dressed warmly when I got up – long sleeve shirt, long sleeve jacket, tights and fingerless gloves! Left on time! Aaaaaand, forgot my purse. So, turning back home, fetching, so much for getting in early. Oh, and they cranked up the heat at work, so I sweated all day.

Today….we’re only half-way, so I’m not tempting fate. Beyond failing to bandage my tender digit. And, I did impale the side of my thumb on a pair of scissors in my desk drawer. Other hand. It must have been feeling neglected.

Oh, and I had to go down to Human Resources to turn in paperwork, and as I passed by someone’s cube, she headed out of her cube at the same time. As she was coming out, she tripped over her trash can (my sister!) and sort of yelped and fell into my path. Which made me yelp. Because you always want to make a SCENE when you’re in HR. And then I had to make it worse. As we were laughing about it, with all of the people who’d prairie dogged to see what the fuss was, I said “Honey, if you’re looking to off yourself, I’d suggest throwing yourself in front of a train or a fast moving vehicle. I’m just going to trample you a bit.” Because when you’re down in HR, you always want to make jokes about suicide.

I don’t need any enemies; I do just fine by myself )

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