Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Cat nap

I sleep on my stomach. I have been told for years that this is terrible for my back, but I honestly have no idea how you break yourself of sleep habits such as what position you sleep in. I find it a comfortable way to sleep for the most part. So do my cats.

I discovered early off in owning cats that, when they deem you worthy of there presence at night, that they will snuggle up to you and be little purring balls of heat against your side all night long. It really is sort of sweet and endearing. I actually like waking up to the feel of one of the cats curled against my side or behind the crook of my knee. I find it comforting.

That is until I want to move. Once I want to move they are nothing but a fuzzy interference in my sleep comfort. They turn from something endearing into a late night obstacle course for the sleep deprived. At moments like those I want to punt their purring fluffy butts across the room.

If you don't own cats you might not understand what the problem is. It is a cat, just move it. I only wish it were just that simple. If I could just move the furball I would. I have discovered however that cats develop some sort of feline super powers when they fall asleep.

You first have the lead kitty phenomenon. We will use my smallest cat, Etta, for this example. Etta weighs maybe three pounds. She, at a year and a half old, is very small. In reality she is mostly fur. She is easily scooped up without any effort. Once she goes to sleep it is a different story.

In her sleep my sweet little 3 pound cat feels more like she weighs 15 pounds. She also has her extra gravity or something because it is pretty much impossible to simply shove her out of the way. When she curls up behind my knee, which means she is between my legs, there is no way to just nudge her out of the way.

This leads into the second cat phenomenon which is kitty comforter surfing. When wanting to roll over or change position and you find yourself with a lead kitty engaged in their own gravity field, you really have no choice but just to flip over and not care if you crush the animal. It is a risk they take in sleeping in bed with you.

Only they are never crushed. Somehow as you twist and turn and the covers shift, they shift with it. They roll along the top as though they were easily riding the waves of the ocean. They may inexplicably weigh more in their sleep, but they are still pliable like putty. After all your moving about they are still settled in and sound asleep as though you hadn't just sent them rolling across the comforter.

In the end, after all of this effort, you are more awake than you want to be, only marginally comfortable, and the damn cat is still comfortably asleep behind your knee.
It is a damn good thing my cats are cute and fluffy.

Monday, September 23, 2013

Other peoples normals

I was 11 years old and in sixth grade and was sitting bleary eyed at a friends kitchen table waiting for breakfast. It was her 12th birthday and she had a sleepover to celebrate. I am sure that we stayed up giggling and talking until the wee hours of the morning. It had been an absolutely brilliant time.

When we finally dragged ourselves to the kitchen her mother was already cooking us french toast. She asked if any of us would like bacon and we all managed to say we would like bacon, I mean who wouldn't? I watched as she pulled out the package of bacon from the fridge, but I couldn't understand what it was she was doing.

I knew I was sleep deprived, but her every bacon cooking movement was bizarre and unnatural to me. She hadn't pulled out a frying pan and turned the stove on. Instead she had gotten out a plate and laid the bacon, wrapped in paper towel, onto a plate. Then she did something that made me want to actually ask her if she had lost her mind; she put it in the microwave.

Microwaves were for melting butter for popcorn and reheating pizza. Microwaves were not meant for cooking bacon. My little 11 year old brain was so incredibly confused. I couldn't grasp what she was doing. I just stared in quite shocked horror.

Five minutes later a plate of limp pale strips of bacon was set on the table in front of all of us. I tentatively picked up a single piece and placed it on my plate. I knew right away I would never be able to eat this. It smelled vaguely bacon like but it was not the bacon I knew. It was not the crisp enticing treat I so loved. This was limp and pale and disgusting.

I looked around the table expecting that the other girls would be as confused and disgusted as I was. Only they weren't. They were all chatting and eating their bacon like there was nothing out of the ordinary. They acted like that was what bacon was supposed to be like.

I was still busy being horrified about what had been done to my beautiful bacon that I almost didn't notice that she had set a plate of french toast in front of me. Perhaps it was because I was already so shaken up by the bacon travesty that I was unable to contain my shock when I looked at my French toast.

"What is that?!"

I know I sounded rude when I said it, but I am not sure my friends mother caught it. She probably dismissed it as me still being half asleep or possibly that I had never had French toast before. As it was she just answered that it was French toast and went back to making breakfast.

Now I had eaten French toast on plenty of occasions. My grandmother and mother used to make it for us for breakfast on a fairly regular basis. It was actually one of my favorite breakfast foods. This was  not something that was foreign to me, or at least it shouldn't have been foreign to me.

The thing was I was staring at a plate of bread slices floating in a pool of syrup. I had never in my life seen anyone put syrup on french toast. I didn't even like syrup, but in my world it was a substance that you used on pancakes and waffles, not French toast.

French toast was meant to be heavily buttered and then dusted over with powdered sugar. We even had one of those powder sugar dispensers where you squeezed a handle on the side of the canister and it sifted out the powdered sugar like a light snow fall. It was the only way I had ever eaten it.

The thought of putting syrup all over the French toast was as bizarre and wrong to me as cooking bacon in the microwave. I sat staring at my breakfast as though I had woken up in some episode of the Twilight Zone where all food was completely wrong and I am the only one who realizes it.

The thing was it wasn't the Twilight Zone but I really was the only one who noticed it. My normal was actually not the normal for most people. I was truly shocked to learn that most people eat syrup on their french toast. I was shocked to find out that people actually cooked all sorts of things in a microwave, bacon included.

It is hard when you are young to come to the realization that things as you know it are not necessarily the same as the rest of the world. Your truths are someone elses lie. If I had had my girlfriends over for a sleepover and my mother had served us French toast dusted with powdered sugar they would have stared at it and asked where the syrup was.

We are all raised with different 'normals'. Every household does things differently, and sometimes it is hard to remember that your way is not the only way. It was actually that strange breakfast that taught me that the world was a place full of very different 'normals' than what I was used to.

It is not that my way was wrong, or that there way was wrong, they are just different ways. Diversity is a good thing. Having different ways to enjoy a dish is a good thing. As long as you are enjoying what you have then who cares. I may look at you a little strange when you grab for the syrup at the breakfast table, but I am not going to actually judge someone for eating syrup on their French toast as long as it makes them happy.

Still, I think cooking bacon in the microwave is disgusting.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

One of those days

It has been one of those days. You know the ones.

One of those days where you have to pay for a tow that you waited 3 hours for only don't actually need because the car starts for the tow driver.

One of those days where the problem really was just the battery despite having already pulled the battery and taking it to get tested, meaning you have to pay for the more than $200 battery and $100 for the shop to tell you it is the battery and then install the new one.

One of those days where the fancy electronic key that starts your car is no longer recognized by the car after the battery was replaced and reset the computer and the shop has absolutely no idea how to fix the problem other than call in a specialist because they apparently didn't see this coming and the fact that we only have one key is a huge issue.

You know, one of those days.

I'm going to go eat ice cream and watch Buffy.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

The grass isn't always greener

Appreciating what you have is probably one of the most difficult things anyone can do. Being happy with, and comfortable with yourself and where you fit into the world is something that I have rarely seen. It just seems to be a natural flaw in humans; we want what others have.

I am not even talking about money and other forms of physical wealth. Those things are pretty well given. I think we all accept that no matter how much money or stuff we have we will always want more. We always want something new and different and can find someone else that has what we want to envy.

I am talking about things that are much more personal to each of us. I am talking about ourselves. No one is content with the way they are. Their body, their hair, their nose, their talents; you name it, people aren't satisfied with it. We are always looking at others thinking how great it would be if we had their hair/eyes/voice/teeth/whatever.

The funny thing is that those attributes we covet are probably the things those people hate the most about themselves. We want their hair and they would love to have yours. It is a vicious cycle that we live through every single day.

I am of course no different than anyone else.

For example I have curly hair. It used to be very thick and dense but for various reasons it has gotten sadly thin as I have gotten older. Still I have enough dark brown curls to make most women stare at it longingly wanting it for themselves.

All I have to say is, no you really don't. First of all the maintenance on curly hair is sort of ridiculous. I can't brush my hair. Ever. That is a cardinal sin of curls. You take a brush to your hair and all those curls are destroyed. Sometimes I can get away with a comb on wet hair with conditioner. Sometimes.

Then you get into the amount of product I have to use to make my curls look pretty and manageable. I use three different products after my shower to make my curls manageable. If I don't they are flat, lifeless, and wild looking (and not in that sexy disheveled way you see in movies). Also without the product I am subject to insane frizz if there is any humidity in the air.

Also there are hidden perils of curls. Earrings are a menace. I personally can no longer wear earrings because of allergies, but when I could they were a constant nightmare. Anything other than a stud and I was constantly having to rescue the earring from my hair (or perhaps it was the other way around). If you've never ripped an earring out with your own hair count yourself lucky.

Another thing people can't get enough of about me are my boobs. I have a huge rack. I know I have talked about the girls before, but seriously they border on ridiculous sometimes. They are there and totally unavoidable. Even for a fat girl my boobs are big. I could lose all the weight I wanted and they would still be a dominant feature.

Women with smaller breast want them, and men can't help but ogle them. Ok so pretty much everyone stares at my boobs, not just men. In fact I get comments from women more often than I do men. That is always a little awkward.

Again I have to ask why anyone would want them. Women who get augmentation to have huge boobs confuse me. I understand wanting to feel more feminine and womanly by having larger breasts, but there is a reasonable limit. Trust me ladies, GG is not a size to envy.

Can we talk about the fact that they are a pain. No, literally, they are a pain. I have back problems already, but making me severely top heavy helps absolutely nothing. They really do weigh you down. Also being a stomach sleeper they only get in my way and end up getting crushed and put in really uncomfortable positions while I try to sleep.

Then you have to address the fact that you have to clothe yourself with these things. My bras come from a specialty bra store. I can't just go to Walmart or even Victoria Secrets to buy a bra. I can't even go someplace like Lane Bryant to buy a bra. They don't carry anything in my size. So it is off to a specialty store where my options are incredibly limited and the prices are vulgar. You can buy a super cute and sexy bra for $20 while I am paying $60 for something that looks more institutional than anything else.

After I manage to solve the underwear issue, I then have to find shirts and dresses that fit me. It is a damn good thing I can sew, because alterations are a part of my life. My shirt size is on average two to four sizes (depending on brands and cuts) larger than my waist size. Dresses have a tendency to either hang around my waist like a potato sack or strain across my breasts in an almost obscene way. There is no such thing as a happy medium. Clothing manufacturers just don't make clothes for women shaped like me.

I could go on. I could tell you how you don't want my crazy long eyelashes because you will never be able to comfortably wear glasses without your lashes running into the lenses or how long lashes have a bad habit of turning in and growing toward your eyeball. I could tell you all about how what you see as adorable perfectly shaped cupid bow lips are only indicative that I have a very small mouth and find it difficult to make standard sized spoons and forks work for me. I could apply my clothing rant to my long legs and lament never being able to find boots that fit over what you call shapely strong calves.

I could also talk all about the things I see on other women and desire and hear endlessly rebuttals on why I really don't want that. I could lament having a flat ass and how much I would love a little more on my backside. I could tell you all about how tired I am of my pants sliding off my ass even with a belt on and how much I hate the saggy way my pants look. Of course you could come back at me with all your own pains of why having an ass is miserable.

I would love for there to be a day when I could look at myself and just be happy with what I have. There are days when I do love my curls, and my boobs, and my legs, and lashes, and even my flat ass. Typically I am not liking all these things at once, but there are days when I like some or even most of me.

I strive to be comfortable with myself. I strive to be content. I strive to not be envious of others.
Of course I see a frizzy curl hanging in my peripheral vision as a scrape crumbs from lunch out of my cleavage, and I think that maybe these are goals I will never fully achieve.

Monday, September 9, 2013

Yes Mam

"And then he called me 'Mam'." My friend said this with disdain. As the word rolled off her tongue she looked as though she had eaten something bitter.

I was at a loss. I couldn't help but to be very confused at her reaction to being called Mam. I had to ask why that was a bad thing.

She in turn seemed just as shocked that I wasn't insulted for her, as I was to her being upset by it.

"I am not old." she declared as though that should have been obvious.

No, she isn't old. She is only a couple of years older than me so I definitely don't think she is old. I still didn't quite understand that the problem was, I don't think calling someone Mam means they are old.

I was raised by my mom and my grandparents. My grandfather had been a career Air Force officer so my mother was raised in the military. Words like Sir and Mam were just a normal and expected part of our vernacular. There has never been any question in my mind that those two words should be used quite liberally.

The thing is that the titles have never had any age indicator to me. Calling someone Sir or Mam never meant they were old, it was a term of respect. Certainly you used it on pretty much anyone older than you because they deserved the respect. Older does not mean old.

It didn't ever matter what age someone was. I can clearly remember being addressed as Mam by people older than me my entire life. Most of the time it was when I was in trouble or we were having a serious moment, but sometimes it was just how I was addressed. Now that I am an adult I use it when I am talking to my nieces or any of my friends children. 

I was taught that anyone in a place of authority should be called Sir or Mam. My teachers, my doctors, my bosses, my babysitters, anyone who was remotely in charge of me got this.  Anyone that you are serving should out of respect be called Sir or Mam as well. When I was a waitress my customers no matter their age were Sir and Mam and the same go for customers in the shop at faire. Basically anyone you are being polite to should be called Sir or Mam. I tend to think anyone should be addressed as Sir or Mam unless you are being very familiar or just rude.

Of course that is the way I was raised. I understand that some people weren't raised like that. I can see that it could be considered a marker of age instead of a marker of general respect. I suppose it is like how someone find it insulting to be called Mrs. or Miss or any other label as such. Most of the time no one means it as an insult, they are just trying to show respect most likely.

Personally I am not going to stop. It is far too engrained in me to ever stop referring to people as Sir and Mam. The older I would think the less it will sound like I am calling someone else old and more like I am being polite or possibly even old fashioned.

I am alright with that. I would rather be called old fashioned and be polite and respectful. 

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Soul Food

Last night I made King Ranch Chicken for dinner. It is a meal that we ate fairly often when I was in high school and always loved, but have never actually made as an adult. It is funny how we can forget something like a favorite meal for so very long.

The only reason I even thought about making it was because my co-workers were discussing this years crop of fried foods at the State Fair. If you are not from Texas then I should probably explain that at our State Fair they pride themselves in frying EVERYTHING. Each year there are contests for new strange fried foods. In years past we have seen everything from fried oreos, to fried beer, to fried butter, and pretty much anything else you could think of. It is disgusting and glorious all at the same time.

This year the most talked about item is apparently fried Thanksgiving dinner, but the one we ended up discussing the most was the fried King Ranch Chicken. The discussion only happened because half the people in the room had never heard of the dish before. I forget that it is pretty much a Texas dish so non natives are most likely not going to know what it is.

I explained to them that it is a Mexican like casserole. There are corn tortillas, rotel tomatoes, chicken, cheese, and normally some sort of creme of mushroom/chicken/celery soup involved. It is tasty and pretty much on the cheap side and is super easy to make. It is a winning dish any way you look at it.

Of course after talking about it I simply had to have it. Cravings are evil that way. I had a tasty healthy dinner planned out for last night. That plan went right out the window as I texted my mom for her recipe.

It was as simple to make as she said. Most of the effort came in cubing the boiled chicken (boiled with lots of spices, some fresh cilantro, and tomato so that the chicken itself was super tasty before it even went into the casserole dish) and the rest of the effort was layering in the soup/rotel mix with the massive quantities of cheese over the layer of tortillas. I think it took me an hour total to complete.

I plopped on the couch to watch Masterchef with my steaming plate of cheesy goodness. It was as good as I remember from when I was young. It was warm and comforting in a way a good dish from your youth can be.

It set my mind back to high school and my mom making us this dish. I remember how she used to make it for our theater functions and banquets. I started giggling as I remember one Christmas banquet where the entire lot of casseroles were almost lost to one of our dogs getting up on the counter.

All in all the meal was lovely. It was the best sort of meal because it was good for the body and good for the soul.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013


I remember the day my brother got glasses. He had to have been at least five or six, maybe a little older. We were living in San Antonio at the time and I am pretty sure it was before my grandfather died.

I remember him walking into the living room and staring up at a large portrait that my grandparents had of my mom and her siblings. The painting had been done of them when they were young and living in Germany. The painting has hung in the living room as long as I can remember. He looked up at the portrait and then at my mom and excitedly said "Mom that picture is of you!"

Turns out my brother is pretty blind. He was in awe that trees had individual leaves on them. Before his glasses trees were just a big fuzzy ball of green. In fact I am pretty sure that the world was just a big fuzzy mess. Of course having always seen things like that he didn't know any better to tell my mom he couldn't see things.

I never had that problem. My eye sight was never that bad or even bad enough to need glasses. Aside from having a number of eye traumas, like a paper cut to the eye and being stabbed with a coffee straw, I was good in the vision department for the most part.

The only complaint I ever had was an almost complete lack of depth perception. I mean I have enough to know that things are you know, three dimensional, but that is about the extent of it. If the object is within a foot of my face I can't tell how far from me it is. If it is more than say three feet from me, I can't tell how far from me it is. Near and far are the distances I work in.

This generally makes life challenging. Things like walking, dancing, fighting, sports, or driving prove to be quite difficult for me. I had to learn to time distances from one fixed object to another in order to do a lot of things. When driving I count and know that a car is five seconds from me not five feet from me. It typically means I am farther away from other cars which can annoy other drivers, but it is the only way I can be safe, so I don't really care.

When I was heading off to college my eye doctor finally decided I should have some glasses. I was just the tiniest bit near sighted. It wasn't enough that I needed to wear glasses constantly, but he thought it would be helpful for driving and seeing the board from the back of the class.

What the glasses actually did was suddenly give me some depth perception. It was so freaky. The first time I put them on I nearly fell out of my chair because suddenly I could tell exactly how far from me something was. It was really disorienting.

I pretty much never used my glasses. I always forgot them when I was driving or going to a movie, and if I used them in class they made me sick from when I would go from focusing on the board to focusing on the paper in front of me. After a few years they were all but forgotten.

The last time I went to get my drivers license renewed I almost failed the vision portion of the test. My eyes haven't gotten that much worse, but it is just enough to be troublesome. Driving at night has become an issue as well. I knew I needed to do something about it.

My eye doctor pretty much said the same thing my last eye doctor told me. Wear them when I feel like I need them, mostly for driving. It was pretty much exactly what I was expecting out of my visit. I was also prepared for the sudden shift in my world when I put the glasses on, no falling out of my chair this time around.

Only it wasn't the same as last time. This time my eyes are a little worse so the glasses are a little stronger. This time there is more change in my surroundings. This time the world seems really  not right when I am wearing the damn things.

When we left the store there were a few more errands in the mall we needed to run. I didn't have my purse with me so I decided just to wear the glasses. I figured I could get used to them a little. It was a good plan in theory. I should know better than to go with my theories.

It was entirely disorienting. I was given the impression that the ground was much further away than my brain thinks it is and so I had the impression I was walking above the ground. The front edges of all objects appeared to tilt downward slightly as though everything was slanted. I had to take off my glasses a couple of times to make sure it was just an optical illusion.

Worst of all, I have no idea anymore where anything is. I am like a young child who just had a growth spurt and keeps knocking my glass of milk over. My propreorecption had gone right out the window. I was actually afraid to touch things in the store for fear of knocking them down and breaking them.

Thankfully once in the car I was fine to drive. I could see signs, I could tell where other cars were, I could in general drive better. I was relieved that I hadn't just dropped a large chunk of change on something that I could not actually wear.

I simply can not wear the stupid things when I am actually walking around. I think maybe if I wore them all the time that I would learn to adjust and my brain could start thinking differently, but then I know I would have nothing but trouble when I took the damn things off.

Really the key is to not wear them when I am walking. I am sure it will only take a few more instances like this morning with me hopping around on one foot and screaming and cursing because I ran into an inanimate object hard enough to take all the skin off my toes before I remember to wait until I am in the car to put the glasses on.

Honestly I have not idea how you people with depth perception manage not to hurt yourselves.