Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Can I Have Dinner First?

There's a little thing that my in laws do that is known by me, as 6 o'Fucking Clock Cake.  I don't know the origins of this annoying as hell phenomenon but I do know there are far too many of them throughout the year for my liking.  Basically my mother in law gathers all the family together to celebrate a birthday and she plans this gathering at 6 pm.  There is no food involved, just cake and ice cream.   Cake and ice cream at 6 pm.  Sometimes it's 5:30 pm... and then it's known as 5 Fucking 30 Cake.  Either way, I hate it.  I hate this whole stupid event.  And here's why....

  • 5:30 pm is a stupid time to have cake and ice cream.
  • Gifts are expected
  • 6:00 pm is a stupid time to have cake and ice cream.
  • It's always on a Saturday.  
  • Saturday at 5:30 pm or 6:00 pm is a STUPID FUCKING TIME TO HAVE CAKE!!!!!

Before we lived in Akron, we very easily got out of participating in this nonsense.  But we've been here for close to 9 years now and my in laws house is literally right around the corner.  Unless we have other plans, plans we have made prior to being told that 5 fucking 30 cake is coming up, we end up trapped.  At least we no longer have to buy gifts for everyone.  Sometime last year we made the general announcement that only parents and children under 18 will be receiving gifts from now on.  Brother in law followed suit with that and he no longer gifts either. 

And so on the occasion of January 22 it was, yet again, time for my 6 O'Fucking Clock Cake.  I'd be more than happy to tell them not to have it for me.  I've already told them not to buy me gifts.  But there was no way out this time.  It's not just my birthday, it's the niece's birthday and now it's also the other niece's baby's birthday.  And it was the baby's first birthday.  So 6 o'fucking clock cake was a done deal for us this year.  No outs. 

I know what you're asking yourself right now... do you bake the 6 o'fucking clock cake?   The answer to that is oh hell no, fuck no, absolutely not and there is no way in hell I'd ever make it!  Why?  Because they don't appreciate it.  I have offered many times to make 6 o'fucking clock cake.  You'd think having someone who does this for a living in your family would be a no brainer.  But one time when I did, I set the cake down in the kitchen only to find a box of Pepperidge Farm layer cake sitting there.  When I asked the mother in law what that was for the answer I got was, "that's in case someone doesn't like your cake."   Seriously??  When you make your shitty boxed cake do you have a fucking homemade pie sitting there waiting in case I don't like it?   No?  Then what the fuck!?   I can happily report that no one ate the Pepperidge Farm cake that day.  But that's besides the point.

On another occasion I asked mother in law if she would like me to make a cake.  I had a new recipe for a chocolate cake that was out of this world.  She didn't respond.  So I didn't make it.  When we arrived for that particular 6 o'fucking clock cake function there was no cake and very soon, mother in law was putting on her coat.   I asked sister in law, who's birthday it was, what was going on and she told me mother in law was going out to buy a cake.  I asked why and from the kitchen I hear mother in law slamming things and screaming, "SHE said she was going to make the cake.  SHE said it would be the chocolate cake."  Being the SHE in question here I was done, out, screw you guys I'm going home.  I told the Man there was no way I was staying and going to be treated that way and he said he'd walk me home.  On the way, we discussed how we were both in the room when I asked her if she wanted me to make it and we both knew she did not respond.  And in fact, she had called that very morning and never once said one word about the cake.  No "looking forward to the cake," "is it baking yet?"  Nothing, not a word.   So it will be a cold day in hell before I ever bake a 6 o'fucking clock cake again.

And so we're back, and it's time to open gifts.  Of course we all watch the baby open her stuff, or try to.  I am given several cards and ugh, two gift bags.  One I expect since the in laws will always buy something.  But everyone else, please... stop!!!!   And especially after this year.  After all this time, these people do not know me at all.  Really.  Up first, sister in law.  I open the bag and inside is a little box that says Willow Tree on it.  And inside the box is a small figurine of a child holding a cat.  Yes, that picture is exactly what I received.  Wow.  That might just be the most ridiculous thing I ever received.  Even the 11 year old daughter of sister in law declared, "I told mom, Aunt Lalia is going to hate that!"  And hate it I do.  She should have listened to the kid!

But wait, it actually gets worse.  After opening sister in laws gift and feigning joy, I got to open mother in laws gift.  In what universe would anyone who knows me think I would want something like this is beyond my comprehension but here it is.  It's a banner with a big wooden key at the top and a big heart on the banner itself.  It says, "The Heart of a Home is Love." "How lovely," I say, while my mind races with absolute horror.  Who are these people?  Have they met me?  I'm not trying to be all gift horsey, but I think if you knew me for five minutes you would know that I would not want either of these things.  These people have known me for 23 years!   I don't even know what else to say about it other than they must all hate me more than I ever thought.

And now it's time for cake.  Mother in law has made her patented ginormous cake... two boxed cake mixes made in 9 x 13 pans and then sandwiched together with instant pudding in the middle and Cool Whip on top.  No, there wasn't a homemade pie sitting there in case me or someone else didn't want that piece of crap.  But there was a homemade pie waiting for me at home.  So as soon as the singing was over, the baby dug her hands in her personal little cake, and everyone was served, we made our escape to go home and have dinner and then partake of the pie.  Happily there isn't another 6 o'fucking clock cake party to attend for a few months.  Maybe I'll get lucky and need a root canal that day.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Stop It Right Now, I'm Becoming Mom!

I realized something this week.   I am becoming my mom.  It's frightening and disturbing.  Don't get me wrong, I love my mother.  We're very close.  I talk to her every day.  But she is the quintessential people pleaser, especially when it comes to my dad or any other member of the family.  She wouldn't force my dad to get off his ass and move around more because she didn't want to make him mad.  She doesn't make food she likes if it's something he doesn't like because he won't eat it.  I never understood that.  She will eat it, so???  Whenever we have a big family function inevitably I hear the words, "just go with it, don't make waves" as in if someone pisses me off, suck it up and deal.   Well I'm sick of sucking it up.

Becoming like my mom was partially explained in my blog a few days ago, that I should have called a birthday bitch.  I tend to try to accommodate others at my own inconvenience, mainly to save myself the aggravation of being bitched at.  As the youngest in the family, my needs, my wants, my opinions never matter.  It doesn't matter that I'm now 45 years old.  It only matters that I'm the youngest and therefore know nothing.  At least in the eyes of the rest of the family.   It doesn't matter that I took care of my parents for the better part of a year.   It doesn't matter that I still do everything for them.  It doesn't matter that I run my own business.  All that matters is that when I was three I put a stone up my nose because it was pretty and I wanted to save it.  That is who my family sees when they see me.  Family functions are an exercise in humiliation as my sister tries her hardest to come up with the most embarrassing memory she can and relay to all. 

I suddenly realized that I was letting them rule me.  I was letting them dictate how I react, how I behave, and how I do things.  And this stops NOW.  I got a new tattoo this week and I actually went through the trouble of blocking everyone in my family and friends of family from the posting about it on Facebook.  My plan was to keep it a secret until summer when I could no longer hide it and then just deal with the reactions.   It took a few well meaning albeit blunt friends to point out how ridiculous that is and that I'm a grown woman and can do whatever I want.  Dammit, it's true.  So one day after trying so hard to hide the new tattoo I called my mom and told her I got it.  Was she mad?  Kind of.  But not really.   There was that air of disapproval that I'm used to every time I dye my hair a new color or get a new tattoo.  But it's short lived.  She was over it all within a minute or so.

So why the drama?  Why tiptoe around it?  I don't know.  It's Mom Syndrome.  I keep telling her not to get so bogged down with making Dad mad and just do what she has to do.  If he gets mad, so what, what's going to happen?  Nothing.  So why couldn't I follow my own advice?  When I called to tell her about the tattoo I told her straight out, this is the only life I have and I'm going to do what I want.  She didn't get upset that I said that, she just said OK.  Is it possible that even if my siblings don't see an adult that maybe my parents do?

Thursday, January 20, 2011

To Richard, With Love

I've talked about my love of men before but I never tire of the topic.  I love men.  I love how they look.  I love how they smell.  I love how they taste.  I love every little bit of them.  I love talking to them.  I love kissing them.  I love fucking them.  And I don't give a rat's ass if I sound like a freak.  I love guys. 

I think generally, guys are more honest.   Of course, this isn't always the case.  There are no absolutes in such things.  But the guys I know well, that know me well, that I can confide in, I know they are honest.  It's something I value very much.  I'm not saying my female friends are dishonest, not at all.  But sometimes if you ask a girlfriend a question, she will kind of dance around the absolute honesty to spare some feelings that might get hurt.  But if I ask a guy friend the same question, there is no dance, he'll go straight to the "that's a great idea" or "stop being such a fucking idiot" reply.  For me, no one embodies this more than my friend Richard.

When I'm sad, he makes me laugh.   When I'm upset, he has encouraging words and good advice.  When I'm bitchy, he calls me on it.   When I'm being stupid, he tells me so.  When I do something or write something good, he's encouraging and complimentary.  He's my go to guy for anything and everything.  He makes me laugh.  He makes me hot.  He's so fucking smart.  He has great taste in music.  He's sexy as hell.  He's got the coolest job of anyone I know.  He has been my friend for about 23 years.

I know exactly the moment I knew he would be my friend forever.  We'd been friends for a couple years.  Not tight, but hanging around in the same circle.  There was probably some mild flirting going on because Richard can't not flirt, but nothing major.  It was sometime in 1990, and we were at Stiv Bators memorial service at the Babylon A Go Go, a bar/club in Cleveland.  It was so fucking hot in there and the place was packed.  I went outside to get some air, and so did he.  I can't remember if we went out together or if we just happened to go outside at the same time.  But there we both were, trying to cool off, sitting on the ground against the building, people watching.  And a funny thing happened, we both started spotting "celebrities."  Not real ones, even though there were some real ones there.  It was just a strange synchronicity that we picked up on and spent much much longer outside than we probably should have laughing and pointing out... "hey look, it's Pat Benatar"  "check it out, here comes Ally Sheedy"  "no way, there's Nick Lowe" "oh my God, is that Andre the Giant?"  and we'd laugh and laugh, because of course, none of them were the real person.  They were just someone who kind of, in our minds anyway, slightly resembled that particular celeb.  It became our thing for many years.  And it was always fucking funny.   I remember once calling him up and leaving a message on his answering machine saying, "you'll never guess who I saw driving a bus in Cleveland today... Ice T!" and he left me one saying, "Guess what?  I just saw George Bush driving down Carnegie!"  It was just one of the goofy bonds we shared for a lot years.  And sometimes still do.  It's that kooky sense of humor that we share. 

This is my love letter to one of my best friends.  Thank you for always being there for me.  Thanks for telling me like it is.  Thanks for always making me feel good especially when I'm feeling my lowest.  You make my world a better place.   I love you xoxo

Monday, January 17, 2011

Sporks Make Me Happy

I woke up today and I was sad.  Sad and a little mad.  I'm wasn't exactly sure why.  Yesterday was my birthday and while I'm now closer to 50 than I am to 40, I think I handled it OK.  Nothing like when I turned 40.  That was trauma.  It's strange because I don't think of myself as someone who would get all caught up in the age thing.  But I did.  I had anxiety attacks and crying jags and just hated the whole idea of my age beginning with a four.  Part of it was that I closed the door on ever having kids when I hit 40.  And so what, I didn't want kids to begin with.  But the idea that the door was closing bothered me.  Did I make a big mistake?  Is the world going to suffer for never knowing a mini me?  Hell if anything the world is better off without another me!  One is plenty.  But I agonized about it.  Agonized that I was making a huge mistake, but not that I wanted to have a child.  I certainly have nothing against people who have kids, but I just could never see myself in that role.  I didn't grow up thinking, "oh I can't wait to have babies!"  And yet, taking my option away bothered me.  And sure, I know a lot of women have babies over 40.  There was no way I was going to be one of them.   Eventually I got over it and found my way back to how I've always been, happy in that decision.  And what I'm feeling now I don't think is about age and certainly isn't about babies.

So why the hell am I sad today?   Is it birthday "hangover"?  This birthday was a little overwhelming, but not in a bad, holy shit I'm 45, kind of way.  But in the, I received 16 cards (and that's not counting the stragglers that will arrive after the MLK holiday), 34 message board posts and over 130 Facebook birthday greetings, kind of way.  I'm not bragging, I'm overwhelmed.  It's hard to imagine that many people giving a shit.  It's kind of humbling.  I'm just a nobody but I guess having Facebook could make you feel like a somebody.  You make "friends" and before you know it you have over 400 of them and you feel important, like you matter.  And the truth of it is, you don't.  You're still the goofy chick with purple hair that can't figure out what the fuck she's doing with her life.

A birthday always ends up making me look back on my life and look ahead at my life.  Looking back I see wasted opportunities.  Looking forward I see more of the same.  What does this year hold for me?  Will I continue to be chained in place because my parents need me more and more?  Will everything I want be a secondary option because other people and other problems and anything other than what I want is more important?  Will I matter more to the people who I want to matter to?

I was talking to my cousin on the phone yesterday and when I hung up I was mad.  The mood I'm in now began there.  It's not because I'm mad at her, but because I realized something in that conversation.  Every year on our birthdays my mom makes the dinner of our choice.  I tend to chose things that I don't make myself or that I don't make better than mom.  It's just a fact that some things I do make better, or at least I like how I make it better.  But inevitably I get attitude about my choices from my siblings.  They don't like it or think it's a stupid choice or want something else, and give me shit about it.  So this year I decided I'd make everyone happy and choose Thanksgiving dinner as my birthday dinner... meaning that I chose turkey and all the trimmings.  I don't dislike this choice, but it's not something I would choose.  What I love that my mom makes and I don't is oxtail soup.  It's so good and she makes homemade noodles and I just love it.  But the one time I chose this, you'd think that the world was coming to an end.  I got so much shit from my brothers and sister that I just said fuck it.   This year I saved myself the grief and chose something I didn't particularly want.  And you know what happened?  No one else came to dinner.  I compromised for the sake of making others happy and I got fucked.

It really happened that way, but it's not about the dinner.  It's a running theme in my life that this is how things go.  I give, and it's not enough.  I compromise, and I still get screwed.  And why is it that they felt they could harass me and my choice?  I'd never do that to someone.  I am entitled to have what I want just as much as anyone else, so why should I change it to accommodate others?  Would anyone do that for me?  FUCK NO. 

It's my own fault really.  I'm a giver and I suppose I can't change that.  There's not much I want and I do have a lot to give.  I like to give.  I like to make people happy.  Mostly by give I mean give of myself.  But sometimes it would be nice to have the people who matter to me give a little in return.  I can't understand why I always have to take the high road.  Why I have to be the one to compromise.  Why I have to suck it up and deal with it.  Once in awhile I'd like to be the one who gets to be selfish and do what I want, get what I want, and whoever doesn't like it can just fuck off.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Know Your Friends

It's two years to the day that I parted ways with several people I thought were very good friends.   People I had known for years.  People I loved and trusted.  And the parting was for stupid reasons.  At least from my POV they are.  And that's all I can give you, my point of view.

To start from the beginning, the actual parting began back in October of 2008.  My Grandma had just died a couple weeks before the first incident.  I wasn't ever going to be the same again.  Never.  One of the most important people in my life had died.  I was changed and shattered and devastated and just plain sad.  I missed her and the people closest to me knew it.

It was also election year and things were heated, to say the least, on the message board I run.  I've always had very few rules for the board.  The main ones were say what you want but be respectful of each other and if you're going to talk politics, do so at your own risk.  The subject is volatile and the two sides on the board were getting ugly.  At this time, with everything else I was going through, I was really not having any of it.  All parties involved in the current argument were my friends and as such I expected a little more respect and understanding than I got when I went into the argument and asked for all involved to step back and be peaceful.  That is all I did.  Only one person of the 3 who were arguing stepped back and understood.  The other two decided that instead of backing off the argument they would, separately, tell me off via email.  Was I shocked?  Absolutely.  And it was the beginning of the end.

Things were no longer the same after that.  Everything I did was wrong.  Every thing I said was wrong.  Every decision I made was wrong.  And the group of friends divided more and more.   I guess I should have expected a blow up at some point.  Can you really put fourteen women together in a group situation and not eventually have a blow up?  I thought that all these women were interesting, mature, fun and a bit diverse.  They were all women I respected.  And for a long time we had a hell of a great group dynamic.  But I had to ask for peace.  Stupid me.

And not long after the political discussion blow up, one of our friends lost her mother.  These women sent me a beautiful plant and flower arrangement and a very generous check as a gift after Grandma died so I took the lead on the gift because I felt like I wanted to give back.  I collected the money and then with the help of the group we chose a lovely arrangement and decided to send her a few bottles of her favorite wine.  But I ran into a problem.  This friend lives in Indiana and sending alcohol through the mail to Indiana is tricky, to say the least.  So we needed a Plan B.  And every plan I came up with was met with derision, heated derision, until I finally threw up my hands and said I was done and that someone else needed to make the decision.

But that wasn't the final end yet.  I loved these women, I kept going back for more and more punishment.  I clearly hadn't been punished enough yet for asking my friends to be peaceful on my message board.  The perceived "smack down" I gave them, now a month later, was still stuck in their craw and I had to be pay, big time.  So it was then that another volatile subject was broached on the board.  This time it was how the phrase "Merry Christmas" was becoming a thing of the past and the original poster was saddened by it.  In come the vultures to tell people who believe in Christmas how hypocritical they are, how wrong they are, how selfish and petty they are to people who don't celebrate it.  It was no longer a discussion of semantics or inclusion, it was an exercise in ridicule of people who believed in something.  And again I stepped in but instead of speaking I just removed the whole topic and hoped it was over.  It wasn't.  Because I was wrong again.  And again I had to hear about it.  And when one of my moderators decided to take the heat for me, I was wrong again.  The moderator told this person I now loosely call a friend, that the topic was getting rude and off subject so she removed it.  The two got into a heated argument privately via emails and still, I was to blame.  The "friend" told me about the argument and expected me to 1) take her side and b) remove the moderator from her position.  The moderator who had been with me for 10 years was now to be removed because she had an argument with this "friend."  That wasn't happening.  And I was wrong again.  Because at some point in my life I had told this "friend" that I would always have her back and that came hurtling at my face over and over again when I did not remove the moderator nor did I intervene on a private argument.

Every day I was accused of a new crime.  Every day I was crying my eyes out for missing my Grandma and having to deal with all this nonsense.  And yet, I still didn't want to lose my friends.  I was determined to get through this and back to how we were.  That is until the lies started.   I can tolerate a lot, but lying is not something I can sit back and accept.  Especially when the lies are about me and "friends" I've known for years and years spread them, start them or perpetuate them.

So many lies.  The worst of which is that I'm a thief.  Not only were people told that I kept their money when posters so generously donated to the board to keep it running, but I also found out that I'm a shoplifter.  As if it wasn't ludicrous enough to think that I would run off with some big old cash cow of donations, but a shoplifter too!?   As I understand it, the story is that the man and I would go to a certain store, distract the employees and then fill our pockets with merchandise.  Yeah that has never happened.  The last time I shoplifted was when I was about 12 or 13 years old and stole a big Bonnie Bell Watermelon Lip Smacker from Clarkins on Rockside Rd. I can't even fathom how this story came into existence.  But that's not all.  I also found out that I hate another friends baby.  Seriously.  Yep, I'm a notorious baby hater.  There's more I'm sure.  More said in the hopes of destroying me and bringing down my website.  But it didn't happen.  In the end people know better than to listen to the rantings of a lunatic.

It hurt.  It all hurt me a lot.  I cried a lot.  I talked to other friends about it a lot.  And it changed me.  It made me trust my instincts more.  I had instincts about several of the women who ultimately left my life but I ignored those instincts.  I don't know why I ignored them.  And after the fact, I found out several other friends had similar instincts about them.  Why did it take extreme pain to give them up?  Do I regret any of it?   Yes, absolutely.  I regret that I stayed as long as I did and in retrospect anyone who would tell me off to such a degree only a few weeks after losing my Grandma was not a friend at all and it should have ended there.  I regret that my message board was dragged into the mess.   I regret that friends ended up divided and took sides.  But I don't regret anything I did or said.  Maybe I didn't handle everything in the best possible way, but I don't have regrets.  I don't regret having a standard for respect on my message board and enforcing that standard even if it's a friend who is breaking the rule.  I will never regret asking for peace because in the end, that was all I did.  I'm sure other points of view on all this are different, but like I said, I can only give mine.  And being as true to the incident as I can be without saying names, this is exactly what happened from my point of view. 

And a funny thing happened when ultimately it was all over.  I felt free.  I felt like a weight had lifted off me that had been pinning me down for years.   I didn't know how much energy it took to be a friend to this certain person.  I didn't realize how being her friend kept me from other friends.  I never realized I put people I cared about on the backburner because this friend was so needy.   I renewed friendships that had been pushed off to the side.  And  I'm lucky, I'm damn lucky that those friends understood and welcomed me back into their lives.  I learned a lot through this incident.  I absolutely learned who my friends are.  But I also learned to trust myself more.  It only took me 43 years to figure that out.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Strange Memories

For some reason, while I was showering today, a strange memory popped into my head.  I can't exactly remember how old I was, but I'm going to say around 14 or 15.   And I can't remember how I hooked up with this guy T, because he went to public school and I did 12 years of Catholic school.  But he lived nearby so that's probably how we ended up knowing each other.  He would occasionally call me up and ask to come over.  The only purpose of these visits were to make out in my basement.  It happened a few times.  But I was a very naive young girl and he was far too fast for me.  He was the first guy that got to third base with me and it was way too much.  Catholic school drilled into my head from an early age that any kind of sexual activity is bad bad bad!!!   So at the time, I was probably thinking I was going to hell.  But third base aside, this boy T, had a very unusual move.  Thankfully he was the only one who ever did this to me and I never ever had to experience it again.   He French kissed my ear, a lot.  He actually put his tongue in my ear and went to town.  It was really gross, like a wet willy that went on and on.  I have no clue whatever happened to him but I know he stopped calling me when I told him to get his hands out of my pants.

One memory leads to another and I started to realize wow, I made out with a lot of guys when I was young.  What a dick tease!  My first kiss, was it M or was it J?  I want to say it was J, but I can't be sure.  J and his brother F, both had been my boyfriend at different times.  And come to think of it, both were public school boys too.  F was definitely the studlier hotter of the two.  Oh F, I was so in love with him, as much as a 13 year old can be in love.  Even at a young age I was attracted to the Guido's.  F had a Polish last name, but so did I.  There was no mistaking his Guidoness though.  He with the long dark feathered back hair, the white tank top muscle shirt (now known as wife beaters), green eyes (oh damn I'm a total sucker for dark hair with blue or green eyes), tight jeans and a chain on his wallet.  What a freakin hottie of a 14 year old!  He used to come over to my house with this Triumph albums and we'd listen to them in my basement and make out.  I never liked Triumph, but I liked making out with him so who cares what was playing!  He was the first boy I ever said "I love you" to.  Although I think I never really actually said the words.  What I did was, I called him up and put on my brothers Led Zepplin album.  When the song "All of My Love" came on, I put the phone up to the speaker.  In 1979, that song was huge and it conveyed, I thought, what I wanted to say.  And after I "said" it, he came over a day or two later with a gift.  A lovely blue Timex watch without a box.  He just put it in my hand and kissed me.  It was official, we were in love.

Unfortunately from there my memory gets fuzzy.  How did we break up and why?   No clue.  But most likely because I wouldn't put out.  That's why most boys broke up with me.  Whatever happened to him?  No idea.  I do know that whenever I saw him after that, I'd swoon.  He was and remains one of the hottest guys I ever knew. 

Memories are a strange thing.  The littlest thing can spark them.  Why did I think of ear kisser T while I was in the shower?  Did I get water in my ear and suddenly have a strange flashback?  And why do I remember some weird minute detail like Triumph albums but not how F and I parted ways?  I guess this quote puts that in perspective...

"We do not remember days; we remember moments."  ~Cesare Pavese