Saturday, March 31, 2012

Thank You (The Happiness Challenge Day 31)

This month's blog challenge has been a lot of fun, even on the days when it was - just as the title says - a challenge. Focusing on happy memories and the things for which I'm grateful has helped me avoid throwing too many pity parties.

I'm especially grateful for the other bloggers who joined the challenge. It would not have been the same without their contributions. Every day I looked forward to finding out what makes them happy, too.

If you haven't already, be sure to stop by their blogs, too:

When you focus on the good things, you find that there are an overwhelming number of good things about which you can write. We could probably keep this up every day for the rest of the year if we wanted to.

However, I'm a girl who is made of sugar and spice, a dash of snark and a heaping spoonful of sarcasm and I love a good rant, so I'm considering turning April over to the devil on my shoulder. ("Do it, do it," he whispers.)

We'll see.

Thanks to everyone who read my posts this month. I appreciate you more than I can say.

Friday, March 30, 2012

Friday's Random Thoughts - The Dominant/Submissive Edition

My drawings aren't this good. At all.
New Addiction

Playing Draw Something is a lot like dancing: Your level of talent has absolutely nothing to do with your level of enjoyment. I have laughed so much this week while drawing horrible pictures of Bruce Lee (thank you, J.J., for saying it wasn't the worst) or - if I do say so myself - hilarious pictures of Beyonce (thank you, Chris, for finding it equally hilarious)  and while guessing the answers to pictures of a storm (Boom! James Spann!) and Shrek (big and blue and fabulous). It's highly addictive. Just like dancing.

Realization: I'm Not F*cked Up Enough!

I have gone about this publishing thing all wrong.

Instead of helping my children through their grief and making sure they always remembered the love their father gave them, I should have been forcing them onto diets and yelling at them when they ate snacks at school. I should have thrown cups of hot chocolate into Starbucks trash cans like a toddler throwing a big, damn tantrum. I should have been like this woman.

Or, after Charles died, I could have gained 100 pounds and then gone on The Biggest Loser to drop the weight and get a book deal like this woman.

I'm also pretty certain if I had gotten a second job as a stripper like this woman who used to work for the Houston Chronicle and I'd started a blog about the stripper job and if I'd been outed for having the stripper job while also still working at Southern Living (GASP! WHY I NEVER!!!),  I'd have agents calling me right now. I am waiting for the news of her book deal to hit the Internet any moment now.

Every day, piles and piles of shit "authored" by the likes of Kim Kardashian, Snooki, and even that damned dog from The Artist get shoveled into bookstores on a regular basis.

The only way I'm going to get to be a part of this shit shoveling is if I do something to make my life a massive train wreck. I'm not sure yet what that might be. I'm in pretty good shape, I think, but I can't strip because I cannot wear those stupid stripper heels. I am also unwilling to gain 100 pounds. I can't afford the new clothes I'd have to buy.

It's looking more and more like one of these kids is going to have to step up and let me torture them in some way. Please drop your ideas in the comment section. Hardcore diets? Sweatshop employment? Daily sessions of P90X?

Don't Tell Me What To Do

Romance novels from the '80s are totally disturbing. For some reason, this week, I decided to reread a romance novel that I read when I was a teenager. Whitney, My Love is the tale of wild and outspoken Whitney and the duke who must have her for his own. Good Lord, the man is a psychopath. He hits her with a horse whip. He "all but raped her." That's the phrase from the book. No, dude, you raped her. He is constantly grabbing her arms and yanking her into his chest and threatening her. Eek. Then he seeks her forgiveness and calls her "little one." Dumb Whitney believes the duke's excessive jealousy and violent outbursts are a sign of how much he loves her. Oh, Whitney, my love, get thee to a therapist, please.

Whitney, My Love is decades old, but this scenario is what people still want to read. Fifty Shades of Grey is the new publishing phenom. It's being referred to as "mommy porn." It's on the cover of Entertainment Weekly this week. The book is all about a man named Christian, a dominant who is looking for a submissive. It started out as Twilight fan fiction. If you know anything about Twilight, you know that whole relationship is sort of dominant/submissive, too. (You also know that's some more shoveled literary shit.)

This sort of thing reminds me of a conversation I had with my friend Emily awhile back about Don Draper on Mad Men. We were discussing how Don is incredibly good looking, but he's probably way too much work. We agreed we both like to be catered to. Or made to laugh. Dark, brooding, vaguely dangerous? No, thank you. We're Roger Sterling girls.

Guys like Don and Fifty Shades of Grey's Christian and Whitney's duke demand you drop down and service them at a moment's notice.

To which I'd probably say, "Is it your birthday? No? Then hand me the remote and go fix me a drink."

The Crush List (The Happiness Challenge Day 30)

Obviously, I am someone who enjoys having crushes on people I do not know. I find crushes are way more fun this way. If you have a crush on someone you know, all you ever figure out is that instead of a "crush" it should be called a "smashed into smithereens." Also, if you don't know the person, they can never destroy your adolescent fantasies with reality. Blech. Reality - who needs it?

George Clooney

My crush on George Clooney is well-known and well-documented. I am aware this crush is shared by millions of other women in the world. I don't know who these bitches are, but they should just back off. George is mine. I have a long-range plan that is already working. Basically, George and I become connected in the minds of everyone so that when he is mentioned, you think of me (it's worked on you, hasn't it?). Eventually, this phenomenon spans the globe until everyone does this. And one day in the future, George will wake up, look in the mirror and think, "Amy Bickers."

This plan might involve some elderly dementia on George's part.

George is incredibly handsome, but what makes him crush-worthy is his fantastic personality, his sense of humor, his charm, and his determination to do something that leaves the world a better place. I've had friends attempt to fix me up with men who supposedly look like George Clooney. I met one of these men last year and, while I could see the resemblance, his personality was not for me. No thanks. Looks aren't enough. You have to have the whole package. Like my pretend boyfriend George.

Neil deGrasse Tyson

The other day at lunch with Todd and Chris, I revealed another crush I have. This one is on Neil deGrasse Tyson, astrophysicist, author, and first occupant of the Frederick P. Rose Directorship of the Hayden Planetarium. Despite the hate mail he's received from children (oh, you kids) about his insistence at the planetarium that Pluto not be identified as the ninth planet, Neil is totally lovable. (Eventually, the I.A.U. categorized Pluto as a "dwarf planet.") If you watch The Daily Show or The Colbert Report regularly, you've probably seen him. If you know your Internet memes, you'll recognize him from this one:

Neil deGrasse Tyson is seriously badass.
Here's an adorable GIF of him:

Watch this video featuring him and if it doesn't make you cry a little bit and ponder your role in this vast universe, then you might want to see the Wizard about getting a heart.

Just for fun, here's what NDT looked like in the 80s.
I will crush you with my knowledge.
Here's a photo of NDT this year. How often do you come across someone who is incredibly intelligent, who works every day at solving the great mysteries of this world and beyond, and who takes so much joy in it? I think that's what does it for me - the pure, unadulterated joy. Look at all we can learn! Look at all there is to discover! There is nothing better than that enthusiastic determination to wring every bit of knowledge we can from this world.
Hey, there's Pluto!

The Obamas

I have a couple crush on Barack and Michelle. They have the sort of marriage I admire. They're both intelligent. They seem to laugh a lot. You get the feeling they enjoy one another. (I hate to break it to some of you married folks, but a lot of you do not seem to enjoy one another at all.) This isn't about politics. This is just about seeing a highly successful couple who have been together for years, who are raising two daughters with common sense and kindness, who exude love and support for each other. They present themselves as a team. If there is any reason to be married, shouldn't it, at the very least, be to have someone who is on your team, who is your partner?

I also like that they clearly tease one another. That's always the sign of a good couple. Can you tease each other? Do you have inside jokes? Do you laugh? Laughter is the best aphrodisiac I know.

Barack Obama's campaign offers a lot of opportunities to win a dinner with the president. I've thought of donating $3 so I can enter. But I'm only going if Michelle is going to be there, too.

This Guy I Used To Work With
OK, so occasionally I do develop crushes on people I actually know in real life. It doesn't happen often. This particular crush came at just the right time for me. I was newly divorced and quite certain I would never think about dating again. And, truly, I did not date for years. The reasons are so sticky and painful, I can't really explain them in one sentence. I can say this: You can find yourself willingly staying in a cage someone else has built for you, even after the key has been slipped into the lock. Even after divorce. Even after death. It was nearly two years after my ex-husband's suicide that I finally felt OK to date again, that I was finally open to it (sort of). 

Anyway, back to the crush. At the time, I just needed a reason to believe I could still feel something, anything. A slightly faster heartbeat, the low-grade fever of an embarrassed blush. Anything to prove to myself that I wasn't ruined for all time. 

Luckily, I worked with a totally hot guy. I'm not going to say who because it might embarrass him. Not me. I don't believe in embarrassment. Embarrassment is for suckers. Plus, having Amy Bickers have a crush on you is a HUGE compliment, people. 
But everyone who knows me knows who it is. 

Sometimes, when I'm out with another friend who knows him and we're drinking and bemoaning the lack of good-looking men in  Birmingham, one of us will say, "Hey, let's look at photos of ______ on Facebook." 

Yes, we are 12-year-old girls trapped in grown women's bodies, but who gives a damn? It's so much fun and it always makes us feel happier. 

Visit one of these bloggers I'm totally crushing on: 

Related posts: 

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Try Not To Laugh (The Happiness Challenge Day 29)

My computer was completely dead last night so that is my excuse for having no Happiness Challenge blog post yesterday. (I love how you can magically make a post look like it was written and published in the past. It's like time travel...except not really cool at all and without the magic of a DeLorean.)

I ran to Best Buy this morning to buy a new charger. $80 later, my computer is charging again and I'm thinking about how technology is ruining my life. I spent $100 on a new cell phone for Kate the other day because hers broke. I think the Amish might have the right idea.

Then again, if I were Amish, I could never spend valuable time looking up bloopers on YouTube. I love bloopers.

Here are some of the great ones, beginning with the best bloopers after a movie ever. Don't argue with me. I'll slap you harder than Burt slapped Dom.

Here are some outtakes from ER featuring my pretend boyfriend.

OK, that's enough. Go look up videos on your own. Or you could get some work done. You do have a job, don't you? Get back to work, slacker!

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Lessons From My Grandparents (The Happiness Challenge Day 28)

Jim and Virginia Rogers
I've been thinking about my grandmother a lot lately.

When I started The Happiness Challenge March 1, I knew I wanted to write something about her sometime this month. Tina even suggested one day that I write about my grandmother and how we used to yell out the wrong answers while my grandmother watched Wheel of Fortune. Frankly, I don't know what Tina is talking about. I only ever yell out the right answers.

When it comes to grandparents, I have been incredibly blessed. My dad's parents were amazing people, loving and kind and devoted to one another for more than 50 years. I hope in some ways that I am like them, that I offer the people important to me the same sort of unconditional love and understanding that Wes and Carlene Bickers offered all those who came into their lives. I wrote this essay about them: The Luckiest - A Love Story.

I also hope I am like my mother's mother, Virginia Rogers. My grandmother is 98 years old. For years, we have joked that she will outlive us all. I think we even started to believe it. This past week we have been reminded that it doesn't matter what we believe. It is not true. My grandmother, who has been in a nursing home for eight years, was moved into hospice care over the weekend.

When I was little and my grandfather was alive, I used to be afraid of his deep, booming voice. He was tall and strong and, when he spoke, the ground practically rumbled beneath your feet. If you know my brother, then you have a hint of just how deep that voice was. If you look at this photo of my grandfather as a young man and this photo of my brother, you will see why there was a day, many years after my grandfather's death, when my grandmother looked at my brother as if she was seeing a vision from the past.
Note: That chick is not my grandmother.
He ain't heavy. He's my brother.

At some point, I came to the conclusion that it was my grandmother who was the scary one, the one you absolutely didn't want to scold you. I think I based this solely on the time she yelled at us cousins to stop sliding down the basement stairs in sleeping bags, a practice that left us shrieking and giggling convulsively.

I always thought it was fitting that I called one set of grandparents the more casual "Grandma and Granddad" and the other set was the more formal "Grandmother and Grandfather." Grandma and Granddad let us play soda shop with ice cream and Coke. They bought us marshmallow cookies. They listened to Creedence Clearwater Revival and Neil Diamond and Abba. They were only 40 and 41 when I was born.

Grandmother and Grandfather were of a different time. They were in their 60s when I was born. My grandmother wouldn't let us in the kitchen between meals. You want a snack? Have this stick of chewing gum. They listened to NPR and watched PBS.

Eventually, I understood that my grandmother was not scary either. I figured this out when I was in high school, but when did I know this for sure?

When I was 22 years old, I got pregnant. Charles and I lived together but we weren't married. I called my mom and told her. She yelled at me. (She called me back the next morning and said, "Well, we can't be anything but happy about it so let's be happy.") I called my dad and told him. Then, days later, I drove to my grandmother's townhouse to tell her. I was scared out of my mind.

I didn't want to disappoint her. I didn't want to face her harsh judgment. I'm not sure what I thought she would do exactly.

When I told her, what she did was this: She said, "Oh baby" and she pulled me into a hug.

My view of her as "scary" was never based on anything other than my enormous desire to please her, to have her admiration, to be seen by her as someone who does the right thing. Not just the right thing - the SMART thing. I like to joke that, in the Rogers family, we won't judge you based on money but we will totally judge you if you're stupid.

Not so long ago I had a couple of friends tell me that, upon first meeting me, I was intimidating. I laughed at this because, in my mind, I'm friendly and easy to please. One of them said, "When I met you, I knew this is someone who has it all together, who knows who she is." If this is at all true (it's not), it is only because I learned how to present myself by watching my mother and my grandmother. I cannot find one memory of my grandmother when she seemed insecure, uncertain, or unsure in what she believed and who she was.

James G Rogers Jr
There came a point in my life when my grandmother became like a friend to me, much as my mother has. I have always wished my grandfather had lived to see us as adults. I would have liked to have known him in the same way I have known my grandmother.

Grandfather died when I was in seventh grade so my memories of him are all from the perspective of someone small, looking up at an impressive vision of a grown man. He was retired from dentistry and the Navy and I remember how he would wear work pants and dirty boots and work on their property all day. He would come in around noon and my grandmother would fix him lunch, a sandwich cut in half diagonally, a pickle spear, a tall glass of cold beer. He let us drive his tractor around the property and I've always thought grandfathers are supposed to have tractors and pick-up trucks, button-down shirts and work pants, scuffed boots and wide grins. They should have deep baritones and sing, to the tune of Strangers in the Night, the word "Sagabagabu." Pictures of them when they're young should be black and white and look like images of movie legends.

Grandmother, Richard, David, and Grandfather
In the evening, after he had cleaned up, Grandfather would sit in his leather chair and watch the news and Wheel of Fortune. I remember one time he said I was beautiful. He might have said it more than that one time, but for some reason that moment stands out to me. I'm so grateful he could look past all those horrible haircuts my mother gave me when I was a child.

I remember the last time I saw him, he and Grandmother had come to our house for a short visit and they each signed my yearbook. It was sometime during the summer after sixth grade. And by Labor Day weekend, Grandfather was gone.

When I was at Southern Living, I wrote an essay titled "15 Ways to Charm Her" and it included this line:  "Let's keep some things old-school. My late grandfather -- he of the East Texas upbringing, U.S. Navy captain status, and Cary Grant good looks -- would never have allowed a woman to stand while he sat. And if you want a Southern woman to love you, neither will you."
Grandmother, Grandfather, the cousins, Aunt Joann and Uncle James

After he died, my grandmother moved from Center, Texas to Shreveport, Louisiana, where we lived, so we saw her a lot more often. She took me and my brother to Leavenworth, Washington the summer after my grandfather died. Later, she couldn't remember what we'd done during those few weeks. She didn't remember that when her brother, our Uncle Hunt, would insist on a post-lunch nap, she would come up to the room we were staying in and urge us out the back door.

"Let's go for a walk and let the elderly people nap," she'd say. And we would walk along the road that wound up and down the mountain. Tim and I linked arms and walked like The Monkees and sang, "Hey, hey, we're the Bickers and people say we bicker around but we're too busy bickering to put anybody down."

Grandmother didn't remember any of that because it happened during the year after Grandfather died. I understand now how that sort of amnesia works.

Adele, Anne, Amy and Tim in Washington, 1991
After I graduated from high school, Tim and I went to Leavenworth again for the entire summer and stayed with Grandmother in her condo there. I went again a few years later and, this time, my best friend Tina came. We worked the first part of the day, she at her job at my uncle's hotel and me at my job at my uncle's bed and breakfast.

And, each evening, we yelled out the answers to Wheel of Fortune, answers I'm quite sure my grandmother already knew.

When I was in college, I lived with her for awhile in Shreveport. Here is what I learned:

She ate half a grapefruit for breakfast everyday.

She worked the crossword puzzle, the Cryptoquote, and the Jumble in the daily paper. She never left them incomplete. When I worked at the newspaper in Shreveport, it somehow became known that my grandmother had all the answers. One time a co-worker said, "Call your grandmother and see what this Cryptoquote is."

She clipped out stories she found interesting or comic strips she found funny and placed them in a photo album or set them aside to give to one of her children or grandchildren.

She always had crisp $20 bills in her wallet. If I asked to "borrow" $5, she'd give me $20.

She read a lot of mysteries.

She made the world's most delicious oatmeal cookies. When I was 21 and worked at Broadmoor Drugstore in Shreveport, a coworker bet me that her grandmother made better oatmeal cookies. She brought a batch of them to work one day. Grandmother came to the store and dropped off her batch. I won the bet.

She had long white hair that she always wore twisted up and pinned, but sometimes you could catch her in the morning brushing it out and it hung down past her shoulders. It was always a shock to see her hair down, like a glimpse into a parallel universe.

She had a cocktail every evening at 5 on the dot, not one minute earlier.

At 9 pm every evening, her phone would ring. She still had rotary-dial phones throughout the house and the ring tone was harsh and jangly. Many evenings I would pick up the phone, even though I knew who it was and who it was for, and my grandmother's friend, Mrs. Nance, in a deep and formal voice, would say, "Good evening." I learned that it is crucial to have a friend like this, someone who checks in to say "Good evening, how are you, how was your day" and then calls you again the next evening.

When I was 8 or 9 and visiting her in Center, she'd taught me to needlepoint. My first project was a small red heart. When I was an adult, Grandmother taught my good friend Gretchen how to needlepoint. Gretchen would come to the townhouse for lessons. Later, Gretchen and I would have "stitch and bitch" sessions at her house or mine.

When Grandmother came home from a trip to Europe or anywhere else, she'd tell you the bad stuff first, but she'd eventually get to the good stuff.

Grandmother also taught me these important lessons:

Do not drink anything you can not taste the alcohol in.

If you are gambling, put the money you are willing to lose in your left pocket and put your winnings in your right pocket. When your left pocket is empty, leave.
Family reunion, Center, Texas, 2005
Grandmother taught me that puzzles aren't difficult to figure out once you recognize that the same small clues appear every day. Fill in the easy answers first. Never give up before you've tackled the big problems.

She taught me that life is long and that it must go on, even after you lose the people you love way too soon.

She taught me that, no matter when you lose the people you love, it's always going to be way too soon.

Note: Virginia Boyd Rogers passed away March 31, 2012. 

Oops (The Happiness Challenge Day 27)

Yesterday I failed to write a Happiness blog post.

Excuse No. 1: I spent several hours yesterday actually being happy at Urban Standard with these two guys. We had an amazing discussion that hit a range of topics including Jesus, aliens, hoodies, Rick Santorum, Andy Kaufman, Kim Kardashian's flour bomber, "squatch" hunters, homophobic fools who use far too many exclamation marks on Facebook, interior design, driving on 459, Lost, Mad Men, The Walking Dead, the irrational resistance by some right-wing conservatives to the concept of taking care of the planet ("Because God is totally my janitor"), and tight-rolled jeans.*
*That list does not represent the entire content of our conversation. 

Excuse No. 2: I spent last night playing this game on the iPad:

Monday, March 26, 2012

Sacrilicious (The Happiness Challenge Day 26)

Three things I enjoy: 

1. Snoop Dogg
2. Blasphemy
3. GIFs

Snoop Dogg will perform May 5 at the Schaeffer Eye Center Crawfish Boil in Birmingham. Also performing that day: The Cult and Jane's Addiction.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

The Snickers Snacking Strategy (The Happiness Challenge Day 25)

Snickers is my all-time favorite candy bar. 

I rarely allow myself to have one. That fact that I have to watch what I eat and that eating a daily Snickers bar isn't a healthy choice is just another reason this world is stupid. 

When I do eat a Snickers bar, I like it cold, not frozen but slightly chilled in the fridge. I eat it in sections and I bite the chocolate off first, a section from the side, a section from the other side, a rectangular slice of chocolate from the bottom, then from the top. The top bit of chocolate is the only section that doesn't pop right off because it's nestled up against that gooey, chewy caramel. Then I take a bite of the delicious, nougatty, peanutty center. 

And repeat. 

Happiness is being a total weirdo. 

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Good Times Never Seemed So Good (The Happiness Challenge Day 24)

Now's your chance to get in on the happiness. This particular brand of happiness will take place June 6 in Atlanta, Ga.

It will sound like this:

I texted Erin last night the minute I found out Neil Diamond would be performing in Atlanta this summer. She texted right back, of course.

Who's in?

I have wanted to see Neil Diamond in concert my entire life, in large part, as a way to pay tribute to my amazing grandma, to jump up and down and sing along and be reminded of all my wonderful childhood memories with two of the greatest grandparents a girl could ever have.

In an essay about my grandparents, I wrote this:
"My grandparents owned a pontoon with seats covered in bright orange fabric and we spent our summer days floating on Geist Lake in Indiana. We ate O’Malia’s fried chicken and Mike-Sell’s Old Fashioned Potato Chips. At the end of the day, when the sun was setting and the temperature dipped, I always wanted to sit next to Grandma, wrapped in a beach towel and in her arms. My younger brother Tim would “drive” the boat with my Granddad and I would sit close to Grandma. She was soft and always warm. We would listen to Abba and Neil Diamond cassettes as we crossed the lake to the boat dock. When I hear Neil Diamond songs now, I cry. My grandma loved him. His voice is part of the soundtrack of my childhood."
Back then, "Love on the Rocks" was my favorite song. Just pour me a drink and I'll tell you some lies...
Or maybe my favorite was this one:

I'm embarrassed to tell you how many times I, as a child, saw The Jazz Singer.

Just kidding. I'm not ashamed. You know I think embarrassment is for suckers.

I once worked with a newspaper editor who expressed disdain for Neil Diamond and said, "He just talk-sings." My basic reaction was this: "Uh, yeah, he does. So what? Are we done here?"

Click here for concert details.

Sometimes the journey to happiness is as simple as buying a ticket.

Related post:
The Luckiest - A Love Story

I Want To Go To There

Cherry Blossom Avenue (Bonn, Germany) by Marcel Bednarz. Go here.

Friday's Random Thoughts - Saturday Edition

Again, I'm a day late with my own random thoughts.

Yesterday was a busy day. I babysat my favorite one-year-old, Alex, for several hours. Then I drove two-plus hours to Mississippi to meet my in-laws and pick up Jacob. Kate, lucky girl, went from there to the beach with a friend. When Jacob and I got back to Birmingham, we went to the 9:45 showing of The Hunger Games. By the time we got home, Friday was over. Thus, random thoughts on a Saturday morning... Here we go! (Warning: F-word ahead.)

Random Hunger Games Thoughts
Stanley Tucci is fantastic in EVERYTHING he does.
Lenny Kravitz has convinced me that a man wearing gold eyeliner is all kinds of ABSOLUTE HOTNESS.

The movie stays pretty true to the book. Jacob and I picked out all the differences but we weren't upset by any of them.

It's worth seeing in the theater. DO NOT sit up close. There is some jerky camera work that will absolutely make you ill if you sit too close to the screen.

Random Racism
Saying that Trayvon Martin's hoodie was as responsible for killing him as George Zimmerman was is the equivalent of telling a woman that she was raped because of the clothing she was wearing.

This is exactly what Geraldo Rivera did on Fox News and in a series of tweets.

His hoodie killed Trayvon Martin as surely as George Zimmerman.
— Geraldo Rivera (@GeraldoRivera) March 23, 2012
Justice will come to Zimmerman the Fla shooter-but I'm trying to save lives like Trayvon's-Parents Alert: hoodies can get your kid killed
— Geraldo Rivera (@GeraldoRivera) March 23, 2012
My own son just wrote to say he's ashamed of my position re hoodies-still I feel parents must do whatever they can to keep their kids safe
— Geraldo Rivera (@GeraldoRivera) March 23, 2012
Its not blaming the victim Its common sense-look like a gangsta&some armed schmuck will take you at your word
— Geraldo Rivera (@GeraldoRivera) March 23, 2012
Its sad that I have to be the one reminding minority parents of the risk that comes with being a kid of color in America—channel the rage
— Geraldo Rivera (@GeraldoRivera) March 23, 2012
I'm so sick of this. One one hand, idiots like this on Fox News will say this shooting wasn't about race. On the other hand, they will say black boys shouldn't wear hoodies because they will look "gangsta" and someone will shoot them.

I'm sorry, before they can work there, is everyone at Fox News required to take a psychological evaluation that will determine they are complete and utter asshats incapable of recognizing their own hypocrisy?

If you have a teenage son, then you know what I know: They ALL wear hoodies. They wear them every single day. Jacob has a blue one and a gray one. I once tried to buy him a navy blue pea coat. He looked fantastic in it. I almost had him convinced but I walked away from the racks for a moment. When I came back, he'd put the pea coat up and was holding a hoodie. $%#@!

I wore a gray hoodie all day yesterday. It was raining in the morning so I had the hood up. I never carry umbrellas. It's one of my dumb quirks. I don't even think we own one. The only time I think about umbrellas is when it's raining. The minute the rain stops, I forget I don't own an umbrella.

Anyway, I'm a white woman so I get to wear a hoodie with the hood up without being stalked and shot and then blamed for it afterward. But what if I wore my hoodie with a miniskirt? Am I asking for it?

A hoodie is a sweatshirt with a hood. It is not a dangerous garment of destruction. This is a dangerous hooded garment:

Dear Mr. Rivera (and everyone like him),

Like a lot of people, I imagine my own teenage son when I read stories about Trayvon. I cry. This death is unbelievably senseless. When people argue the Stand Your Ground law and bring up that George Zimmerman was acting in self-defense, I want to scream.

Let's say my son was walking to the bus stop and someone in a car was slowly following him. Let's say my son put his hoodie up because he was scared. Let's say he started walking quickly because he was scared. Let's say the stalker got out of his car and confronted my son. Let's say my son cried out for help and physically defended himself because this is what we have taught our children to do. Since they were old enough to walk, we have told them about stranger danger and kidnappers and pedophiles. Let's say that man shoots my son and says it was self-defense. Let's say all this happened to a white boy with red hair.

What then? Are you assholes really the Mississippi jurors from A Time to Kill? Can you really only understand that a death or an attack on a child or teenager is senseless and tragic and horrific if Matthew McConaughey tells you to picture that teen as white? Then fuck you.

Why can't we all just agree that people shouldn't be murdered no matter what they're wearing. Even if they're wearing Crocs.

Random Asshole

This happened in Louisiana yesterday during a visit from Rick Santorum. What passes for humor to some of these people is not, in fact, humor. It's just another conservative asshat being a hypocrite. What do you want to bet this lady is "pro-life?"

This sort of thing, this "joke" about assassinating a president, seems to happen a lot. Do you think it's funny? Yeah, so funny...hahaha

This is the sort of thing that makes me sick of this world and ready for the zombie apocalypse. Except I'm afraid the zombies are already here. The zombies watch Fox News (or work at Fox News) and attempt to shred to bits anyone who has a working brain.

Friday, March 23, 2012

The Eddie Vedder Post (The Happiness Challenge Day 23)

I once told a friend that my ideal man would look like, act like, speak like, vote like, make jokes like, and - basically- be George Clooney. But he'd sing like Eddie Vedder.

Friends, if you're going to dream,
                                     dream big.

Yesterday, I saw this photo on Eddie Vedder's Facebook page. A big thank-you to whoever runs that page. This photo makes me happy.

The man on the left is Glen Hansard. If you don't know who he is, go look him up. Better yet, go rent Once. Then download the soundtrack. Then listen to it as often as your hurting heart can handle it.

Eddie Vedder and Glen Hansard are going to do some shows together in Europe. Damn you, Europe, you get all the good stuff, don't you? The crumbly old buildings, the great museums, the cool accents, the liberal attitude toward female body hair.

Here's a shaky YouTube video of the two of them singing Glen's song "Falling Slowly."
No shit, no roses.

I'm going to have to remember that. Some days I say, "It's been one of those days." One of these days, I hope to have not quite so many of those days.

I called this month of blog posts "The Happiness Challenge" because happiness is, in fact, a challenge. It is not easy. It is not a given. It's a choice. Some days I'd rather choose the dark and bitter joys of wallowing.

But perhaps all of the "one of those days" are the fertilizer for a rosy future.

Anyway, back to Eddie Vedder. That man's voice is roses, people. I adore the sound of him singing (plus he's adorable in that slacker/hipster/effortless way that I find totally sexy).

I love his version of this song. If you could wear out an iPod like a vinyl record, I'd have already worn mine out on this:
Three years ago, I had the Pearl Jam song Better Man as my ringtone. I don't anymore for reasons that are simple yet complicated and briefly explained in Chapter One of my book that may, one day, see the light of day. Now I just have a normal old ring. 

Not so long ago, I found this video online of a Pearl Jam performance of Better Man from 2006. I love the way the crowd starts belting the song out as soon as they hear those few opening chords.
It's not all plaid flannel angst up in here. (Note: Eddie doesn't really wear plaid flannel anymore.) Erin sent me this video several weeks ago. "Eddie Vedder is charming, talented, fantastic..." Too funny.
I've written about my Sorry for Myself playlist before. It, of course, includes some Pearl Jam. "Just Breathe" is No. 5 on the playlist.
I love this song. It makes me cry every time. I guess that's not very happy, but it helps when I'm mucking about through the fertilizer, when I'm wishing that I hadn't said what I said, that instead I'd said, "Stay. Let's just breathe." That maybe things could be different.

Here's to accepting the challenge that faces us all every day. Here's to finding the right set of songs for whatever the day might bring.

No shit, no roses.

Find less shit, more roses at one of these wonderful blogs:

Thursday, March 22, 2012