Friday, August 28, 2009

Cake & Cornbread

There’s always something kind of funny about the way I have to talk about money to my parents. First and foremost, they do not want me to “waste my money”. And I don’t want to “waste money” either. But how we define “wasting money” can be widely different.

For instance, I had to totally lie by omission when I bought the cake for my sister’s wedding shower (and I give you all the simultaneous stink eye deluxe – if this gets back to Mom, heads will roll). How often does a sister get married? Hopefully not that often. And since I was in charge of the cake, I wanted good cake. I’m not a huge cake fan. But in situations where it is obligatory, a dry tasteless cake with way too much icing that’s over vanillaed is just not acceptable. So, I went to a high end grocery store, and ordered a half-sheet cake with fresh fruit on top and the sides iced with Italian icing. It was quite pretty. And got RAVE reviews for taste. It was also $95. Which sounds like a lot for sugar, flour and butter, but again, how often? Not a good excuse as far as my Moms would be concerned. She’d have had a heart attack. So, I just kept my big yapper shut. And gave my Dad the double stink eye deluxe when he saw the receipt. I gave him an extra slice of cake to pay him off.

And it’s not that my parents are incredibly cheap. They’re just cheap. In the good way. They hunt for bargains. My Dad will show me the Ralph Lauren shorts that he bought for $2.75. Never mind that they’re lavender. My Mom will just laugh and laugh when she shows you the leather purse she found at the outlet store for $20, when the original price tag is $200. And now that they’re retired, they’ve taken bargain hunting to the big game level. They currently have 50 bags of instant corn bread that they found at the MacFrugals for 10 cents a package. I just think, “What they hell are you going to do with 50 bags of instant cornbread?” I ended up taking 2 packages home. Lucky I didn’t have to take 3.

I guess it all just comes down to what you think is a bargain. Mom & Dad will spend time to find the lowest price. I’ll look for the bargain, but I’m willing to spend a little more to get something perfect. And of course, when you’ve got cheapskate in the blood (guilty), you’re always going to worry that your nearest and dearest are throwing their money away like it grows on trees. But seriously, don’t tell Mom about that cake.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Fashioning an image

Last night I saw a girl about half my age wearing a gray and black striped, scooped neck t-shirt, a very short, ragged, denim mini, and a pair of capri length black leggings. My first thought was, “how cute, how fun, how comfortable.” My second thought was, “but not for me.” When I was that age, I could have worn it. And, in fact, given the way fashion seems to be coming around again, I think I probably did.

Then I started to wonder, what would we wear if the only people who saw us were those who valued, loved and supported us? Would you dress to express your inner angels or demons? Would you dress like a teenager even though the calendar says you could get the senior discount? Would you chose comfortable over attractive? Would you wear nothing but black every single day? Or pink? Would you wear rainbow tights with your black power suit? Sweats and over-sized t-shirts or hot pants and tube tops? Or sweat pants and tube tops and hot pants and over-sized t-shirts?

If you knew that you would only be judged by the content of your heart and the work of your hands, would you dress like a firefighter, a child, a fairy princess, a whore, an accountant, a thug, a nun, a cheerleader, a fashion plate, a pinup, a clown? Or would you ever even again think about what you were wearing?

Where everybody knows your name

So yesterday I get this friend request on Facebook from Jeffrey somebody. No recognition. I see he’s from my graduating class at high school. I look back at the name . . . nothing. I see he’s a friend of someone else I do know. I try to swim back up the stream of degrees of separation, mmm, nope. Picture . . . crickets . . . not happening. I have no idea who Jeffrey Whatshisbutt is. So either he was actually in some class that I had 20-yea-hoo years go and has one of those memories (bastards, hate ‘em all), or he’s trying to pad his friends list as quickly as possible with anyone who has even the weakest connection.

Which is kind of the opposite of what I’m finding rather charming about Facebook. My little (and I do mean little) friends list is populated with people that I know. It’s like having my own little rural village, where I can look over the fence and see who’s doing what (Oh, Q’s up to thus-and-such. Isn’t that nice?). You can give them a little wave, or say “howdy, neighbor!” Plus, it’s a village populated by people I like. There’s no evil Miss Gulch to avoid down at the General Store.

So, I’m pretty much going to do Jeffrey Whoseitts like I would have done in high school. Ignore him and hope he goes away. Course with his fifty-eleven hundred friends, I’m guessing he won’t notice. Some of us choose a village. And I'm particular about who gets to move inside town limits. With his friends list, it looks like he’s moving to the big city.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Still not ready to make nice

I was talking to a couple old friends at the birthday party in DC this weekend, and somehow the topic of old nemeses came up. The bullies that made our lives hell back in the school days. We each had one that we remembered by name, and by torture technique. One of the girls had been contacted years later by her bully, who had apologized. Now they’re in contact, friends on Facebook, etc. Evidently it was cathartic for both of them.

If my bully contacted me, I don’t think I could do that. And it has less to do with who she was or who she’s become. It has to do with not wanting to be back in touch with who I was and staying who I’ve become.

Sure, forgiving and forgetting and let’s be friend is warm and fuzzy. It’s the After School Special happy ending that comes with understanding and maturity. It would be the nice thing to do. It might make her feel better. But 20+ years later, I don’t have any compulsion to be nice to people who have treated me poorly. If I’m nice, it’s because I want to be. And I’m nice to people who are nice to me. All others can kiss my ass. Craving approval is probably what made me a target in the first place. And I just don't do that any more.

Sure I could be the bigger person, and if I forgive and forget, she’d have closure. And frankly, that would feel like she would have won again. She picked on me back then to feel better about herself. And she’d be apologizing now to feel better about herself. Too bad. Choices have consequences. And one of the consequences of being a bully is that there may be people out there who would never want to associate with you. Not forgiving is my closure.

This is all really moot. There’s been no tearful apology in my e-mail. And I really don’t wish her ill. Some people might say that I’m doing myself harm by not forgiving. Too me, though, it’s about me. Not her. And the person I am today stands up to bullies. Even the ghosts of bullies that haunt my head.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Things that don't fit in a 3-1-1 bag

Well, I just got back from my trip to DC. Up at the ass crack of dawn to catch my flight, so I’m just cheerful as all heck, as you can imagine. And as usual, it will take me a few days to process everything that came up and get it posted here.

But let’s start in reverse order of occurrence, as this morning’s adventure is a nice amuse bouche of a story.

So, I’m at the airport screening, and the TSA guy at the x-ray is looking at my bag, and calls over his supervisor. I here “Heh, heh, heh, you know what I’m thinking that is.” What I’m sure he thought he was looking at was a battery-operated, female recreational device of a personal nature. What he was actually looking at was my electric razor. If it had been the other thing, I would be a far more adventurous person than he was assuming. And not that there’s anything wrong with it. But, guess what, boys. I’ve heard of FedEx. And if I had any “little friends” to take with me on a weekend trip, I’d have the sense to send them by 2-day delivery. My luggage does not exist to give you chimps a cheap laugh. Especially not at 6:30 in the morning.

TIME: Quotes of the Day