Lullabye-bye.

Posted in WhatNot on April 1st, 2015 by Diva

Just about all of us know the first verse of Rock-a-bye Baby, yes?

Rock a bye baby, on the tree top,
When the wind blows the cradle will rock.
When the bough breaks the cradle will fall,
And down will come baby, cradle and all.

There’s more to it, of course, but most of us only know that bit. And it’s kind of creepy, isn’t it? I mean, only when you’re old enough to discern what the lyrics actually mean do you realize how dark a little ditty this is. Seriously, who sings about their baby being knocked out of a tree, much less with the cradle falling on them after?

This comes up because I was at a cafe yesterday and heard one of my favorite tunes from the O’Brother, Where Art Thou? soundtrack on the sound system. See if you can gauge why it reminded me of the above.

Everybody’s gone in the cotton and the corn,
Didn’t leave nobody but the baby.

Okay, so this one’s about abandonment? “The fields gotta get worked, kiddo, so go to sleep.” But then there’s a final bit about “come lay your bones on the alabaster stones” which brings to mind cemetery imagery and …

Holy crap I think the baby dies in this one, too.

Pondering this connection, I vaguely remembered a lullaby I heard years-upon-years ago. It’s not one my parents or grandparents sang to me, I don’t think. I may have heard it on some TV show or something, maybe Hee-Haw or one of those Grand Ole Opry telecasts from the 70s. I could only recall the tune, which happens a lot more as I age; I get a snippet of the melody but not the words, or vice versa, then drive myself nuts with trying to jog my memory for a day or so.

I regret to say this one came back to me this morning.

No euphemisms here. No sugar-coating. No beating about the bush. Two children are abandoned in the woods where they cried (and they cried) until they died. The only thing that’s implied is the starvation. You know how long that takes, by the way?

I do.

*shiver*

I don’t even like babies, but that is some sick, sick shit. Supposedly, the song is based on a centuries-old story of an uncle who got custody of two kids when their parents died. What age and combination of nephew/niece I don’t know, but instead of raising them, he laid the helpless children out in the forest.

Nope – doesn’t make it better. Just proves there have always been sociopathic child-killers out there.

Here’s a classic version with lyrics from the Missouri State Max Hunter Folk Song Collection, which I now want to browse to find out just how many traditional “lullabies” involve infant mortality. I’ll bet there are a LOT, since most children died by age 5 just 100 or so years ago. I could submit a finished article to Death and the Maiden, I guess.

Meh. Maybe it’s best I just leave it alone.

Didn’t leave nobody but the baby.

Black Sabbath.

Posted in WhatNot on March 21st, 2015 by Diva

Not the band. A movie.

Actually, three horror stories pieced together into one cinematic travesty. A horrible, wretched, terrible movie from the early 1960s with Boris Karloff as narrator, story presenter, and Eastern European vampire in the final piece. A film that’s definitely worth a Rifftrax or Cinematic Titanic re-do.

I highly recommend it, especially if you have friends who love to make fun of awful movies, or if you’re really high. Or both.

What? It’s legal here in Colorado.

Smoke it if you got it.

It’s Tammy!

Posted in Celebrity Encounters, WhatNot on March 20th, 2015 by Diva

About a decade ago, a good friend of mine in L.A. introduced me to a fantastic California-based spa chain. I’ve pretty much booked some time at one of their locations every visit to SoCal since.

At the end of that first visit, though, my friend and I were at the front counter to settle up our bill when I realized I recognized the gent standing at the other side of the desk.

It was Bruce McCulloch. I think the comedy nerd in me peed a little.

As with many encounters with various celebs over the years, I did not approach; I didn’t even make eye contact. Most famous folk don’t appreciate the scrutiny, but more so, who wants to be bothered by a fangirl after a relaxing time at the spa?

I was quiet, but my stomach was not. I’ve been a fan of Kids in the Hall since it’s premiere way back when and those flip-flops in my gut were proof the man and his work held a certain sway over me. Still does, because I just finished purchasing tickets for the upcoming Kids reunion tour show here in June and my stomach is doing the exact same jig.

Some things never change.

Tammy!

That Is All There Is About It.

Posted in WhatNot on March 19th, 2015 by Diva

I found a 1937 edition of Emily Post’s Etiquette for $3 at an estate sale today. This is the first passage I flipped to when checking the condition of the book.

One inexorable rule of etiquette is that you must talk to your next-door neighbor at the dinner table. You must, that is all there is about it!

Even if you are placed next to some one with whom you have had a bitter quarrel, consideration for your hostess who would be distressed if she knew you had been put in a disagreeable place, and further consideration for the rest of the table which is otherwise “blocked,” exacts that you give no outward sign of your repugnance and that you make a pretense, at least for a little while, of talking together.

In other words, your host/ess minds their own business, doesn’t play into your various dramas with mutual friends or acquaintances, and expects you to behave like a well-bred adult when attending their function. No so hard, right?

Yet several times over the years I’ve shrugged – or more likely rolled my eyes into the back of my head – when someone has said they “can’t possibly attend [insert event] because [insert name’s] going to be there.”

I’ve been to birthday parties, weddings, funerals, and a host of other functions with former friends, various haters, exes with whom the divorce wasn’t final, and in one case someone I was actively suing in court at the time. But I’ve known the rule since I was a kid, thanks to L. Frank Baum, Emily Post, and a mother who insisted on good behavior: An event is about the person or people throwing it.

Didja hear that? Let me put it in more current terms:

NOT ABOUT YOU.

Got it?

How does expressing your feelings about [insert name] come across as “all about you?” Well, you’d only say it in the hope a host/ess would cater to your whim. You want assurance [insert name] won’t be invited or worse, you say you won’t attend if they are there. That’s selfish, needy, and pathetic. Not your event = not your choice. Their event, their expense, their time, their energy, and their guest list. And all a good host/ess thinks when you make such a demanding statement is they are better off without you there.

Civility and decorum. Diplomacy and etiquette. It all just really boils down to “Don’t be a dick,” don’t it?

Okay now, all this said, my next big birthday bash will be in spring of 2016. Leave your baggage at the door.

When I said “bury the hatchet,” I didn’t mean in his skull.

Stupid Demon.

Posted in WhatNot on March 17th, 2015 by Diva

Less than 30 minutes after posting that last one, I read this passage from Amy Poehler’s book, Yes Please.

I HATE HOW I LOOK. That is the mantra we repeat over and over again. Sometimes we whisper it quietly and other times we shout it out loud in front of a mirror. I hate how I look. I hate how my face looks my body looks I am too fat or too skinny or too tall or too wide or my legs are too stupid and my face is too smiley or my theeth are dumb and my nose is serious and my stomach is being so lame. Then we think, “I am so ungrateful. I have arms and legs and I can walk and I have strong nail beds and I am alive and I am so selfish and I have to read Man’s Search for Meaning again and call my parents and volunteer more and reduce my carbon footprint and why am I such a self-obsessed ugly asshole no wonder I hate how I look! I hate how I am!”

There have been forty million books and billions of words written on this subject, so I will assume we are all caught up.

That voice that talks badly to you is a demon voice. This very patient and determined demon shows up in your bedroom one day and refuses to leave. You are six or twelve or fifteen and you look in the mirror and you hear a voice so awful and mean that it takes your breath away. It tells you that you are fat and ugly and you don’t deserve love. And the scary part is the demon is your own voice. But it doesn’t sound like you. It sounds like a strangled and seductive version of you. Think Darth Vader or an angry Lauren Bacall. The good news is there are ways to make it stop talking. That bad news it is never goes away. If you are lucky, you can live a life where the demon is generally forgotten, relegated to a back shelf in a closet next to your old field hockey equipment. You may even have days or years when you think the demon is gone. But it is not. It is sitting very quietly, waiting for you.

This motherfucker is patient.

It says, “Take your time.”

It says, “Go fall in love and exercise and surround yourself with people who make you feel beautiful.”

It says, “Don’t worry, I’ll wait.”

And then one day, you go through a breakup or you can’t lose your baby weight or you look at your reflection in a soup spoon and that slimy bugger is back. It moves its sour mouth up to your ear and reminds you that you are fat and guly and don’t deserve love.

This demon is some Stephen King from-the-sewer-devil-level shit.

Ouch.

OUCH.

Coulda.

Posted in WhatNot on March 5th, 2015 by Diva

You don’t understand. I coulda had class!
I coulda been a contender! I coulda been somebody,
instead of a bum, which is what I am …

~ Marlon Brando in On the Waterfront

I saw him through the glass as I exited the bank. I only had a few minutes to finish my errands and be back in time for a conference call, so I was in a bit of a hurry. My local bank branch is near Colfax and a major bus stop, however, so I had already guessed what would happen moments before he started following me toward my car.

This situation happens a lot and always when I’m alone. No one bothers me at all when The Beast my love is with me. The homeless can be just as sexist as anyone else, of course. It doesn’t help most of the people I’ve seen giving handouts in our neighborhood are women, but I don’t blame them – sometimes you just want to get a strange man away from you in the quickest manner possible. Some homeless men understand this and prey on women walking alone exactly for that reason.

I’m not an easy mark. Oh, I empathize with them; I certainly had a “no money for food in a roach-infested apartment where the utilities were cut off for non-payment” era of my life, but even then I had too much pride to call my own parents for money, let alone bother a complete stranger for a few pennies. I’ll happily flip burgers or take a convenience store job first. Hell, based on my history, there’s evidently not much I won’t do to avoid panhandling.

Nowadays it’s more about knowing where my money goes. Being self-employed means I’ve needed every tax write-off I can get. My 35% tax rate means if I make $10K, $3,500 of it goes to the government. Hence, I’m very financially conservative, but it doesn’t necessarily follow that I don’t care. I merely prefer to donate directly to homeless charities – and get the subsequent tax deduction – than give cash to someone on the street.

But the charities can only do so much because some people out there just don’t want the help. This guy was surely one of them.

“Excuse me, ma’am …” I heard from behind me.

Without turning around I responded over my shoulder, “I don’t have time to talk right now, sorry.”

I smiled when I said it – a smile can be heard in the voice, you know – and I thought it had come out nicely. Polite even. Apparently, I hadn’t been quite clear and firm enough.

“It’ll just take a second …”

By this time I was unlocking the door of my Mercedes, which very often results in a bit of a confrontation in these situations. I’ve been asked all manner of rude questions, most variations on the “you’ve got nothing for me, but you can afford THAT” theme. I once I told a guy in front of another nearby business I couldn’t chit-chat because I had to get my boss’s car back to him, just to avoid the hassle.

I faced this latest harasser – that’s exactly what they become when they follow you after you’ve specifically expressed disinterest – as I opened the car door. I smiled a little less, but still tried. “I’ve already said I don’t have the time right now, sorry …” I placed emphasis on the “sorry” to ensure it got through, which it usually does. No such luck.

He looked me in the eye and said, “Listen, ma’am, I’m a 60 year old man. I ain’t no bum like other people you run into around here.”

I interrupted him, no longer feeling the need to hide my aggravation. “I’ve told you I don’t have time. I even tried to be nice.”

“You’re not nice,” he sneered at me.

“And whose fault is that?” I replied as I turned, slipped into my car, and pointedly locked the doors.

He wandered away making gestures and talking, but I couldn’t hear him, nor did I care. And yes, he could have escalated the encounter – I’ve had that happen with others, in fact – but he was smart enough not to. After all, it was broad daylight in a busy parking lot and he was starting to yell at a well-dressed woman with a luxury car, which any security guard or cop will tell you wouldn’t look good for him. Or maybe he realized I have zero compunction about defending myself.

Menopausal women can be volatile, you know.

Careful, now.

Season’s Greetings.

Posted in WhatNot on February 19th, 2015 by Diva

Since one of my personal mottoes is “Over the top is a good place to start,” I have a hard time knowing when enough is too much.

New Year Cookie Basket (cropped)

I may have gone a tad overboard. As I do … consistently, constantly, and continually.

No sense in stopping now I suppose.

This one’s for the ladies.

A Week in Colorado.

Posted in WhatNot on February 13th, 2015 by Diva

I’ve been in Colorado for 11 years and still haven’t done as much exploration as I did in my first few years in New Mexico. Travel to other states and international destinations, always for good reason, has taken precedence.

I have seen a lot here, just not as much as I’d like. I’ve been through the cities and towns south of Denver quite a bit, due to the move up from Albuquerque and occasional visits. I’ve also seen all of western I-70, as I drive my love up there during ski season and it is the quickest route to take on a road trip to Las Vegas or Los Angeles.

I’ve stayed in Leadville for work purposes (where I found meth-related paraphernalia in the hotel room). I took my BFF to Minturn to browse the annual Eagle County Rummage Sale. There was also the girls-only weekend in Steamboat Springs and I talked my love into a day drive through Rocky Mountain National Park last summer (though he talked me into doing it on a Saturday, which was a HUGE mistake).

I’ve taken visitors up to Estes Park to see the historic Stanley Hotel and we always try to get to Nederland for Frozen Dead Guy Days in early March. There was one afternoon I got a bee in my bonnet and drove through Niwot (great consignment at Rockin Robins) to Lyons (ate and drank at Oskar Blues) and back. I’ve been to Fort Collins, Greeley, and Longmont to pick up items we purchased on eBay, though I need to go back to that last one soon since it’s home to an amazing cheese importer shop.

Yet even with all this, there’s still a lot more of this state to see, so I’ve routed an interesting way to see a lot more of my Rocky Mountain home state. Each destination is about 2-1/2 hours from the previous one, which means I can visit as many as up to three per day depending on how much time I can be gone.

Oh, who am I kidding? I’ll do this, one night at a time, for a week.

Denver to Fairplay – 2 hours

This is South Park. No, really. And they have a thing called Burro Days every July.

Fairplay to Crested Butte – 2-1/2 hours

There are lots of activities in this little mountain burg, but I’ve always just wanted to explore the town. I hear it’s got lots of great little shops and good restaurants.

Crested Butte to Monte Vista – 2-1/2 hours

This spot is pretty much in the middle of nowhere, so why stop? A drive-in movie hotel. Seriously.

Monte Vista to Durango – 2-1/2 hours

I haven’t been to Durango in 20 years, when my traveling companions and I decided to leave our Northern New Mexico motel and drive two hours further north just for the day. It’s a touristy, artsy, outdoorsy kind of place – like what I picture Crested Butte to be – and I’ve always wanted to go back.

Durango to Telluride – 2-1/4 hours

Another beautiful, mountainous spot for another touristy, artsy, outdoorsy town. Colorado has a ton of them.

Telluride to Glenwood Springs – 3-3/4 hours

One could stop in Grand Junction or Clifton, both of which are only 2-1/2 hours away, but on all my treks west I’ve never found a good reason to do so. I’ve enjoyed amazing scenery and food in Glenwood Springs, though, and I want desperately to try their famous hot springs.

Glenwood Springs to Denver – 2-1/2 hours

Since we spend so much time in this region of I-70, there’s no real reason to stop. Except for Holy Toledo consignment in the Vail Valley. And Funky Trunk resale boutique in Frisco. And the food at Modis in Breckenridge. And the Outlets at Silverthorne. And the tiki bar at Pug Ryan’s in Dillon. And Tommyknocker beer in Idaho Springs …

… let’s just say it will take awhile to get home on that final day.

Always does.

Once a Jackass.

Posted in WhatNot on February 11th, 2015 by Diva

I posted the following to The Church of Just Stop It on Facebook and Google+ recently.

JUST STOP IT, Kanye.

Beck doesn’t make the kind of music you like. We get it. Everyone is entitled to their opinion. But who died and made you the arbiter of taste for the rest of us?

No, I don’t care for yours or Beyoncé’s work – or country, or rap, or a whole host of other stuff – but I would never, EVER entertain saying so aloud to your respective faces, let alone on TV or in other media.

To say either of you don’t deserve an award, any award, for what you do is at the very least rude and, at worst, spectacularly arrogant.

And speaking or arrogant, who made you Beyoncé’s savior? Does she need defending because she can’t speak for herself? Does she even share your views on this? Regardless, why do you feel the need to be her knight in shining armor?

Feminist rhetoric aside, what really chaps me is when I compare your words to what Beck said about you and your favorite damsel in distress:

“I was so excited he was coming up! He deserves to be on that stage.”

“Absolutely I thought she was going to win.”

“You can’t please everybody. I still love him and think he’s genius.”

“I aspire to what he does. How many great records has he put out in the last five years right?”

(Source: Daily Mail)

Beck has immense talent and manners.

Kanye proves, once again, that one can be a genius and a jackass simultaneously.

Then, on Twitter today, I saw someone say Kanye’s only being called out because he’s black. More specifically, he’s being harassed because he’s a black man “who won’t behave.”

Um … no. Unequivocally, unashamedly, vehemently and without question, NO.

Doesn’t matter what color a person is, what Kanye did is a dick move. If white people did it in the past – a claim the poster made, which may well be true – then they were dicks, too.

Rude and arrogant is rude and arrogant, no matter what the skin tone. Dick moves shouldn’t be celebrated, they should be knocked around exactly the way Kanye is getting knocked around right now.

If anyone famous, with a shit ton of fans and therefore a huge platform to disseminate such nonsense, attempts to distract attention from an award or – in Kanye’s case and much worse in my opinion – dares to say an award was not deserved, they are a jackass.

An unrepentant, unmitigated, undeniable jackass.

Emily Post is still spinning in that grave.

Charmed, I’m Sure.

Posted in WhatNot on February 5th, 2015 by Diva

So there’s this phenomenon that occurs when I go to my neighborhood nail salon for my mani/pedi: If it’s slow, it suddenly gets busy after I’ve arrived.

I firmly believe in coincidence and that may be a part of it, but I also specifically go when I know it will be slow; I’m rarely organized enough to make an appointment, but after going to the same spot for six years, I’ve learned what days and times business is light. I mean it stands to reason that if I arrive on a Tuesday at 3pm, a few other customers will come in after work at 4 or 5. And I don’t go anywhere near the place on a Saturday in May or June.

Anyway, last time I was in, I received an envelope. The outside says “Bring this in on Thursday, February 19th at 9:30am. Happy New Year!” The lovely lady who runs the place – whose broken English is waaaay better than my total lack of knowledge of Vietnamese – told me in no uncertain terms NOT to open it until then and was emphatic that I show up on time.

This lady also knows I never, EVER come to the shop that early in the morning. So, as my Mom used to say, this got me to wondering. Exactly what does Vietnamese New Year entail? I know it’s called Tết, but I know it for all the wrong reasons. I think it’s on the same calendar as Chinese New Year, but what are the specific, regional differences?

I am SO thankful for Google and Wikipedia right now, guys. I did some intensive reading on the trees, flowers, foods, and gifts of the holiday, but I also discovered a tradition I think may be at work here: The first person to walk through your door on New Year’s Day sets the tone and brings all the luck for the coming year.

I’m a good luck charm!

I’m also a skeptic, but you know what? If it makes the nice folks at my salon happy to think I can bring them health and prosperity in the New Year, so be it.

I don’t even care what’s in the envelope.

Sức khỏe và thịnh vượng trong năm mới