Wow, it's been a while. Well, there has been craziness around here. I saw M.I.A. perform at the Siren Music Festival at Coney Island on Saturday and want her new CD so very badly. I had to finish a project for my class, and L'Ailee had her 32nd birthday on Sunday, and NYC had that nerve-rattling few days last week when there was a "suspicious package" in the Fifth Avenue public library and the steam pipe exploded. Anyone who thinks we've forgotten 9/11 needs to see us in a time like that. We were all frightened, all trying to keep it together, all making and receiving calls. I'm still so grateful things weren't worse. It's always better to treat nothing like something than vice versa. I am also sickened to learn that a domestic-violence victim here was fired for wanting to take time to get her life back together.
People wondered why I hadn't gloated about Tony Stewart's first win of the season. Too busy, that's why. At least the weekend off for NASCAR allowed me to revel in it one extra week, and L'Ailee could celebrate her birthday among carefully selected friends without missing a thing. (I made her favorite lemon raspberry cake for her, too, and gave her a new lucky black cowgirl hat to replace the lucky black cowgirl hat I gave her twelve years ago, which is now fading and fraying.) How beautiful to see Smoke climb that fence! He always starts doing really well later in the season. In the fall, NASCAR announcers say, everything turns Big Orange!
Right now what I'm thinking about is the bottle of iced herbal tea, or something, on my desk. I hardly ever buy water. I fill either my green "I Will Never Take This Camping" bottle from the Onion's store or a sturdy bottle I bought at the airport in a moment of weakness and just keep rinsing with filtered tap water. Amazing how things that look so cheap can become semi-cool if you explain why they're environmentally correct! But my addiction to those little flavor packets for water bottles makes up for my keeping plastic out of the landfill. I particularly like Celestial Seasonings' packets, because they're real herbal tea. They use a blend of hibiscus and rose hips, which gives most of their flavors a strong pink color. I smile to think of L'Ailee's nose going up in the air when she saw that. "Tea is black or brown," she declared. "It is not red or purple or blue or *pink*." I have to admit, I think it's funny that the one I'm drinking, Tangerine Orange Wave, came out hot pink. It's not the visual I expect to go with the taste. But I like to screw with that cultural connection between my eyes and my taste buds sometimes. It knocks me slightly, pleasantly, off-balance and forces me to experience things as they are, not as I think they should be.
A few days ago, L'Ailee and I got our new Marie Claire magazine in. (We share as many magazine subscriptions as possible.) One article in it particularly interested us--it's about "fembots," or tough women who aren't very sensitive or emotionally available. L'Ailee has said before, and did again, that she would have been one if it weren't for me. She's really not a fembot, but I told her she is definitely a cyborg, and she grinned and clapped her hands at that, which proved my point. I'm not a fembot at all, or even a cyborg, but L'Ailee has taught me how to put on a suit of armor temporarily when I need to defend myself. There was a silly quiz in there about whether you're a fembot or not, which asks questions like, "You can't start your morning without: a) Chamomile tea and homemade cranberry muffin; b) Latte and power bar; c) black coffee and raw meat." I thought that was wrong, because "Chamomile tea's for going to sleep with, not starting the day."
"You know that, which shows that you are a girl-girl, not a fembot," L'Ailee said.
"No, it shows that I'm a Witch who knows a few things about how herbs work," I protested as L'Ailee laughed.
I figured that tough damn-near-robotic bitches don't start the day with Diet Pepsi, Envirokidz Peanut Butter Panda Puffs, and whatever fruit we get from the farmers' market, so I checked A after all. L'Ailee prefers hot, tooth-stainingly strong black tea with jelly mixed in--a Russian tradition she doesn't care to abandon--and a powerbar. Of course she got half 'bot, half human and I got sensitive and girly-swirly, even though I hate Oprah's show and Lifetime movies and would much rather watch Jerry Springer on the rare occasions when I'm home on a weekday afternoon.
The thing is, while I'm not particularly tough, I'm not completely girly-swirly, either. I have some guy qualities. I hate chick flicks, despite Gloria Steinem's eloquent defense of the genre, and have basically a guy's sense of humor, as several friends have remarked lately. Old School is one of my all-time favorite movies ("We're going streaking!") I enjoyed Knocked Up and I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry. I'm looking forward to the Simpsons movie tonight, and I collapsed laughing at the trailer for Superbad. ("We can be that mistake!") I want stupid jokes and car chases. Also, I love NASCAR for more than the cute guys in snug firesuits, and I know how to fix things. Despite the media pressure and peer pressure that we face in America, and the out-and-out despotism in other countries, there are as many ways to be a woman as there are women, and I'm so glad I get to be mine.
My mom provides me so much amusement sometimes. She is a cyborg who insisted that I learn to fix things "because you can't expect to marry a handyman" and also has a guy's sense of humor, though not to the extent I do. (She likes chick flicks and thinks Old School's stupid.) She pointed out something striking about the commercials for Mirapex, the new "restless legs syndrome" medication. Near the end, it says to tell your doctor if you have "increased sexual, gambling, or other intense urges." I paid attention the next time it came on, and it was well worth my time. I'm sure people (mostly men, but probably a few women like me as well) across the country will be trying to convince their partners that they have restless legs syndrome, or at least lobbying hard for them to use that particular treatment. I told L'Ailee if she had restless legs syndrome, she'd want to go to Atlantic City with me, and I kept running my fingers up and down her legs, going, "Do you feel anything strange?" And then she kicked my arm, just a little. It was only a warning kick, though, like a shove done with her calf rather than her forearm. She spends all day teaching people how to kick hard, so if she'd really meant harm, she'd have done it. We also giggled when it said, "Do your legs keep you up all night?" Yeah, take the Mirapex and let the increased sexual urges do that instead!
My mom provides me so much irritation sometimes, too. She's so smart, but she believes the stuff on Fox News (including Bill O'Lielly's show) and the conservative urban legend e-mails two of my aunts like to send out. Also, she sometimes forgets that there's sexual and religious diversity in her family. So she told me how she opposed "that Hindu praying for the Senate," and we had to agree to disagree on that. (I opposed it, too, but only because I oppose prayer of any kind opening a government function.) And she asked me if I knew anything about "those lesbian gangs, like Pink Pistols." She had only heard the original report, not Fox' "crime expert"'s apology. Thankfully, I had heard and read about this, and found the Southern Poverty Law Center's excellent rebuttal. I also happen to be familiar with Pink Pistols. It is not a gang; it is a group of LGBT gun owners and Second Amendment enthusiasts, and L'Ailee is a member. (I own a gun, at L'Ailee's insistence, and can shoot it thanks to Mom, but am not a member.) I reminded her that L'Ailee got into target shooting and martial arts because of her own encounter with gay-bashers at age 18, and how even in NYC, gay-bashing is a bigger, realer threat than anything professional gay-haters can dream up. I wish she'd e-mail all her friends about that.
So that's how I've been. Don't you want to read something more interesting now? Like these links?
The 50 dumbest things GWB has ever said. It was hard to narrow them down.
YouTube's tackiest marriage proposals. Again, hard to narrow down!
Why do doctors get to decide when a woman's old enough to have her tubes tied? Infertility was a circumstance for me, not a choice, but I think any woman who chooses it should be able to have the procedure done. I think it's perfectly unselfish for a woman to decide that she's not motherhood material--just as it is for a non-dog-lover like me to decide not to adopt a puppy--and highly selfish to guilt a woman out of the decision to avoid motherhood because one wants grandchildren or thinks women should want babies.
Sometimes female baboons may not want babies, either. It looks like they deliberately use contraceptives!
Vegetarianism can be a real money-saver!
Finally, with all the bad news for LGBTs coming out of Eastern Europe, it was wonderful to read about a Hungarian politician coming out.