Friday, December 30, 2011

On being 11, on death, on resolutions

I was ready for 2011 to be an awesome year! And sometimes it was! But for the most part, it kind of sucked.

I suppose I should not have been surprised that 2011 was kind of crappy. Now that I think of it, the millennium is only now figuring out how to deal with hormones and figuring out that there is no tooth fairy. When I was 11, I saw death up-close and personal for the first time and learned how complicated grief can be. (I also broke my jaw, which gave me a lifelong ambivalence to milkshakes and intimate, personal knowledge of how it feels to carry wire cutters with you everywhere you go for two straight weeks. Spoiler: it's weird.)

Learning about death is never complete. Experiencing death is odd and hard and weird and sad and sometimes really hilarious. It can be unexpected. It can be drawn out. Most horrifyingly, it can be an enormous relief sometimes. No matter what, the breath will leave your own lungs for a moment or two once it happens and then you have a choice of what is next. I had four moments this year of losing my breath and making a choice. The first time, I chose the phone and friends. The second time, I chose the phone and friends and jokes. The third time, I chose bourbon. The fourth time, there was nothing to choose as I was experiencing loss through my dear, sweet friend and simply felt impotent.

Here's a story about time 3: my uncle was sick and wasn't going to get better. We knew this. My mom told me in the morning that they had chosen Hospice. I helped some friends unpack their house and then a friend and I hit the local dive bar for a beer. My dad called and told me that my uncle, his brother had passed. I went back in the bar and cried openly.

It's really something to weep openly in a dive bar at 5 PM on a Sunday when the Eagles aren't playing. Really something.

My friend ordered us some bourbon and the bartender snarled, "I hope you're not crying over some man. Cause it ain't worth it." I said that I sort of was crying over a man - my uncle had just passed. The O Shit face was pretty amazing, the shots were on the house, and we stayed for hours. Then I sat up in my room until 4 AM, playing Angry Birds and trying not to think about things. That's how it goes sometimes.

This year has inspired me to grow and to actively work on being a better person. I still hate nature and I'm still going to be a snarky little gossip queen who makes fun of celebrities' outfits, but I'm working on realizing that I can only control my own happiness. This is important; I sincerely had no idea I could not force other people to be happy, healthy, or whole.

I'm pretty much terrible at New Year's Resolutions, but here's what I've got this year:

I resolve to cultivate stillness in my life, to appreciate quiet, and to fully commit myself to living fully and with loving joyfulness.

Oh! And to never, ever wear a gown with a jeans jacket.

Sheesh, lady.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Life's important questions

It's almost New Year's Eve! You simply HAVE to have the BEST TIME EVER, right?!?!?!?! You must drink champagne, even if you hate it! You have to stay up past midnight, even though you usually go to bed at 10! You have to be superrrrr drrrrunk! PARTY! TOGA! MAKE OUT WITH PEOPLE!

New Year's Eve can feel like a high-pressure situation. It's almost like the holiday-planners of yore looked at the calendar and said, "Hrmm...everyone just got through a long week of being with their families for Christmas and Hanukkah...let's plan something else stressful!" And then you are confronted with the following questions:

* Where am I going to go?
* Who am I going to hang out with?
* What am I going to wear?
* Will I be able to stay up past midnight?
* Who the hell am I going to kiss at midnight?
* What am I going to drink?

Never fear, Way Too Shay Nation - I am here with some answers to your questions!

Where am I going to go?
Your choice. I would personally never be terribly interested in paying $75 to hang out in some crappy bar all night, even with an open bar, but if that's your scene, GO FOR IT. There are plenty of concerts going on if that sounds good to you. And people tend to have some groovy house parties. Just don't be the jerky friend who waits to commit to a party until you know which invitations you have, fearing you'll miss the "good" party.

Who am I going to hang out with?
Choose one or two people and make a NYE pact: we arrive together, we leave together, we watch out for each other all night. Seriously, NYE is a time for amateur antics and people get too drunk and do very stupid things. The buddy system is always a good idea in times like these, especially in case you or your buddy ends up being the drunken idiot.

What am I going to wear?
NYE is exactly like watching the Oscars at home in terms of fashion. You have two options: pajamas or evening wear. I say bust out the sparkles and the shoes that make your feet bleed. You're just going to spend the whole next day watching movies anyway!

Will I be able to stay up past midnight?
Yeah, probably. You're not a toddler. But! It might be helpful to take a disco nap round about 4 PM. Also, look, you don't HAVE to go out and you don't HAVE to stay up to watch the clock strike 12. The truth is, it's going to happen whether you see it or not. You can very easily just sit at home and watch all of the Die Hard movies and then go to bed with popcorn grease still on your fingers. In fact, that will almost definitely be more fun than standing around some crappy bar, fighting to get a free drink.

Who the hell am I going to kiss at midnight?
Plenty of options here: you have your buddy, right? You could kiss that person (possibly your buddy is a lover or similar... then you get to kiss WITH TONGUE). You could kiss your friend, you could kiss the sweet looking stranger you've been laughing with all night (with their permission ONLY - don't just plant one on him/her), you could kiss your mom or dad or sibling, you could kiss your favorite pet. Worried about being the only single person at a party full of couples? ALWAYS TURN TO HUMOR and turn around and do that "pretending to makeout with myself" joke.

What am I going to drink?
This is important. Champagne is the easy answer but, amazingly, some people don't like it. I don't get that at all - bubbly is fantastic and I wish I could drink it every day like Marilyn Monroe. If you hate it, though, you can have beer, wine, whatever. Something in a super fancy martini glass would be lovely - be classic and choose a manhattan. But! Here's the secret to NYE! This is the time of year where there is usually also sparkling apple cider hanging around for the pregnants and the sobers and you guys? That shit is DELICIOUS. So go on with your bad self and down some sweet, sweet sparkling apple juice. You may still get a little bit of a headache from all the sugar, but you won't be a drunken idiot. I feel the need to mention again that it is way more delicious than anything alcoholic you could drink.

FORGOTTEN QUESTION: How am I going to get home!?
Don't mess around, my friends. If you drive somewhere, you either have to:

a) arrange to sleep over
b) have a FOR REAL SOBER designated driver
c) call a cab

Do you guys know about #TAXI? Seriously, just type that into your cell phone and it will connect you with the next available cab company line (for a nominal fee - like a dollar or so). So easy. Keep in mind, since it is a big holiday, it might take some time to get a cab. But it'll be totally worth it when you are in one piece the next morning, without a DUI or worse.

Your feet will still be blistered, though, from those hot shoes you were wearing. Unfortunately there is not yet #SLIPPERS.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Subtle Ways to Be a Total Juicebox

Thanks to reader Alison for posting this on her Facebook wall yesterday:

Top 10 Subtle Ways to Tell Her She's Getting Fat.

Oh yes, it's real. I'll just let that sink in for a moment.

Okay, here's the list:

10. Buy her clothes that are too small.
9. Sign her up for yoga under the pretence [sic] of "stress relief."
8. Set out on your own weight loss plan.
7. Serve her unsatisfactory portions.
6. Improve your own diet.
5. Playfully grab her love handles.
4. Ask her to wear an old dress.
3. Schedule a formal date. [The original #3 was Sabotage her chair, but apparently THAT WENT TOO FAR.]
2. Leave "now" and "then" photos lying around.
1. Take her to places where she has to wear a swimsuit.

You know,, why stop there? Why not combine a few - make her wear a swimsuit on a formal date with unsatisfactory portions and then grab her love handles? Wouldn't that be most effective? Oh, and if you really want to destroy your girlfriend's self-confidence, be sure to ask talk openly and often about how hot her skinny friends are! It's a surefire hit!

For number 7, here is the actual text: "By making her ask for more food, you might succeed in shaming her into an acknowledgment of her recent weight gain, and hopefully to instigate a conversation about what she’s going to do about it." SHAMING HER INTO AN ACKNOWLEDGMENT!

Look. We know when we've put on weight. Even if we don't weigh ourselves regularly, we know how our clothes fit. This isn't something that ever needs to be pointed out to us, not ever. Most likely we are already thinking about it often and aren't feeling too great about it. If a partner tries to shame us into losing weight, there are a few things that might happen: A) Partner is now single, B) "Fat" girlfriend loses self-confidence and perhaps also LIBIDO, C) eating disorder city: population 1. I swear to god, if anyone ever playfully grabbed my love handles, he would be missing a hand. At the very least.

You know what? Fuck this article. You are beautiful and you deserve satisfactory helpings of guacamole.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011


Nothing says the holidays like cramming as many cookies as you can into your mouth and pretending you won't gain any weight. To help you with this task, I am sharing with you the recipe my parents sent me when I asked for a snickerdoodle recipe. For the uninitiated, snickerdoodles are the simplest and best cookie in the entire world.

The Famous Oodles of Snicker-Doodles Recipe and Handbook

Preheat oven to 400ยบ. Put 1 cup of butter on the table. Take some time for a drink.

Get the ingredients before you drink more.

2¾ c sifted flout
3 t baking powder
½ t salt
1 c soft butter
1½ c sugar
2 eggs
4 T sugar
4 t cinnamon

Mix the next drink, but only take a taste.

Mix and sift flour, baking powder, and salt.

In separate bowl, cream butter and gradually add 1½ cup of sugar
Cream mixture until fluffy, add beaten eggs, and mix well
Add sifted dry ingredients gradually and mix.
Chill in refrigerator while you have your nicely chilled drink.

Mold dough into small balls using 1 T of dough for each ball.
Roll dough balls and boys in mixture of 4 T sugar and 4 t cinnamon.
Place 2 inches apart on an ungreased cooking sheet

Insert in HOT, HOT, HOT oven and bake for about 10 minutes.

Drink while you wait.

This recipe yields approximately 5 dozen cookies and at least 3 opportunities to enjoy Christmas cheer.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Oh hi

Whoops, I fell off the face of the earth for a few weeks. But I'm back! And unfortunately, I have to show you this photo.

All together now: OH GIRL. OH NO.

Wow, this is bad. The color is fabulous on our girl K-Chen, but that's about all of the compliments I can give. My dear readers, I would like to advocate for being a Lady. A Lady is always gracious. A Lady recognizes her body type and age and dresses appropriately. A Lady can be sexy, but is never vulgar. In the words of our patron saint, Mary J. Blige, "I'm a lady so I must stay classy."

K-Chen is suffering here from a clear desire to appear younger than she is. In dressing like a red carpet tramp, she inadvertently ages herself in an unfortunate way. The leg reveal! The egregious boobing! And how in the world did she find a dress that makes one as wee as she look...pear-shaped? It's all just waaay too shay. Please, K-Chen, I beg you: look to Kyra Sedgwick. Shit, look to Martha Plimpton! Remember this?