Everybody Wants Love

What is it about Southern Gothic?  The characters are all tortured souls.  It is my belief that most Southern authors are tortured souls as well.  And that an author can't write well about a place until he leaves it.  It's like unrequited love.  There's some nagging itch of a feeling that must be put on paper or a memory stick.  That need to write.

I had a need to write.  I had several stories that I longed to tell.  Coming of age tales, stories of love and loss, yarns of deceit and redemption.  For a while, I couldn't go a day without writing.  Hours would disappear as if mere seconds as the words flowed onto the pages.  But then something happened.

My muse, that itch to write, vanished overnight.  She had been my constant for several years.  But suddenly she was gone.  And the strange thing is that I don't miss her. 

Her leaving coincided with the culmination of a class that Mr. Gaelic and I took.  Oddly enough, it was only in learning how to truly communicate everything we needed and wanted of each other that I no longer needed an expressive outlet. 

Mr. Gaelic might not appreciate my candor, but we spent almost a year with a coach doing individual and joint homework assignments in learning why and how we react to each other based on our life experiences.  The homework and classwork was emotionally difficult at times.  But in learning how to express ourselves in a manner that the other was receptive to, we learned that we had never really opened up to each other.  Twenty years of marriage and we finally learned how to talk to each other so that the other person actually heard, not only with their ears but with their heart, what we had to say.

When you know without a shadow of a doubt that you are heard by the person you love more than life itself, finding a replacement muse is moot. 

[Title taken from this.]


Sharing Trade Secrets

Comedy is funny because it has a kernel of truth in it.  So when a friend posted a joke recently, it wasn't just funny.  It was hilarious.  Because it's so true. 

It's about things women say.  Through the years and different relationships, I have used the examples listed.  In fact, most women have used and probably still use them.  So guys, word of warning.  Read this joke and know that it's funny because it hits the bull's eye of truth.

And another warning... When a woman answers "How are you?" with "Fine", it's actually an acronym for "Fucked-up, Insecure, Neurotic, and Emotional".  And it usually means, "Stay the fuck away!"

Troglodytes Among Us

Mr. Gaelic is a techno-geek.  For example, one night recently he sat at the library desk with the desktop computer, his laptop, his iPad, and his iPhone uploading several albums from the home CD collection to the cloud.  Not satisfied when the album cover was omitted from the upload, he found sites to copy a picture of the cover to download. 

I, on the other hand, am not an early adopter.  It took me years before relinquishing an old cell phone for a smart phone.  Music for me comes most often from the radio or CDs.  There is no sense of urgency in having the latest and greatest since it gives them time to work out the bugs and come down in cost. 

It reminds me of a friend who passed away a couple of years ago.  His children are my children's ages but he never wanted to be on any social media websites.  He always said that he could be relevant without Facebook. 

Are we relevant without social media, without our blogs, without constant connection, without instant gratification?  Can we still be relevant in an ever-increasing technologically driven world?

[Title very loosely based on this.]


Disney for Adults

Ye nevah cawll.  Ye nevah wryte.  Whot?  Ye don' luve ye muddah?

Two things that Southern mothers and New York Jewish mothers have in common are the guilt trip and the good food.  Sometimes at the same time.

Lawdy mehcy, chil'.  Ya gotta eat yawr collah' greens or yaw're gonna disappeah until dey ain't nuttin' lef' o' ya but da clothes ya wearin' righ' now.

As an aside, that reminds me of when I read the Uncle Remus books by Joel Chandler Harris.  One can only read them if one knows the real Southern dialect.  Sort of like reading A Confederacy of Dunces by John Kennedy Toole.  It flows much better if one knows a true New Orleans accent.  But I digress.

No, I didn't disappear off the face of the earth.  Mr. Gaelic's annual conference was in Orlando.  Piggyback on a Disney World visit and Mrs. Gaelic is out of this world.  What better way to see Tomorrowland than without kids in tow!  We could smile at all the beautiful babies we wanted to and then quickly find another table away from the screaming brats.

You know all those guides with suggested touring plans for each of the Disney parks?  Don't use them.  We tried using one the first two days and realized that we would have more fun if we didn't try to do and see everything.  Just be and enjoy.  Sheer bliss.  Do you know how refreshing it is to have Fastpasses in hand to both Soarin' and Test Track and decide that you'd rather go back to the hotel and take a nice long bath?

And a word to the wise... Just because the resort bar has signature drinks on the menu doesn't mean that you have to try one.  Save your money and your taste buds.  Stick with what you know.  Some of those signatures are ghastly!


Into Each Drive Some Rain Must Fall?

Is this just a phenomena in my town?  Or do people everywhere not know how to drive in the rain and the dark at the same time?

It took me 45 minutes to go 14 blocks.  Fourteen!  My house is a mere six miles from my office.  The commute was an hour and fifteen minutes. 

During Snowmageddon, some people sat in their cars on the roads until the wee hours of the night.  On 9-11 (yes, THE 9-11), Mr. Gaelic arrived home six hours after leaving his office.  Which is also six miles from home.  Granted, those were two extraordinary traffic events.

But still!  It's just a little rain, people!  And darkness happens every single day!  That's what wipers and headlights are for.  There were no fender benders on the drive home.  My guess is it was just volume and people driving at much slower speeds.  I shouldn't complain.  On the bright side, I made it home safe and sound.

[Title taken from this.]


Thanks Be to God!

There was no lunch.  No food.  Only a cup of coffee.  All because of wanting some kind of religious grounding and centering in my workaday life. 

There is a group near my office that has a short chapel service every Wednesday.  The group is part of one of the mainline Protestant denominations.  In their office building is a small chapel complete with Bibles and hymnals.  Why did it take me this long to find such a respite?

After the 30 minute service, one of the staff members whom I had exchanged emails with about the service took me on a tour of the office building, introduced me to other staffers, got me a cup of coffee in their break room, and talked with me for over an hour in their library.  He is an ordained minister with an extremely similar upbringing as mine.  I could have talked to him all afternoon had it not been for the daily fires that I deal with in my office.

Just walking into the chapel and sitting in the stillness and quiet was enough to wash away any burden from my shoulders.  The words of the prayers were reminiscent enough of my Episcopal parish to soothe my soul.  The only dissonance was a hymn that I know by heart but the music was completely foreign.  Oh well, I can deal with that.

Skipping food for lunch instead to be nourished and nurtured was well worth it.  My body my not be able to live by coffee alone; but my soul can flourish with bread and wine.  Go in peace to love and serve the lord.  [Title and last sentence explained here.]


Us vs. Them

The gloves are coming off.  My political stance has always been moderate for the most part.  My votes have swung both ways.  But after voting today, the realization hit me that Republicans are ruining our political system.

The local clerk of the court was elected many years ago.  He has never had opposition.  The clerk's position is actually one that isn't a political position.  On the ballot, there is never a D or an R or an I or anything after his name.  This year he has an opponent.  Who is a Republican and vocal about the fact that he's a Republican.  And vocal about the fact that the current clerk does a fine job.  And vocal about the fact that the reason he's running is to take the position over to the Republican side.  Even though it's a non-political position.

A friend of mine who ran for city council a few years ago on the Republican ticket (yes, I voted for him) told me that he sees no reason to vote for the challenger.  My friend doesn't like the challenger's tactics of running his campaign.  The challenger has done a full-court press to oust the current clerk.  Who the challenger admits is doing a fine job.

I cut the party plenty of slack, wanting to believe that it really was the Grand Old Party of Teddy Roosevelt and Eisenhower.  Watching this local election, it's down right impossible to call it grand. 

Do you vote for the best person for the position or do you vote for their party affiliation?  The local Republican party let me down.  They don't want me to vote for the best person; they want me to vote for the Republican.  They're not synonymous.  The best person is the best person.  Sometimes that person is a Democrat.  Sometimes that person is a Republican. 

From now on, it'll be harder for me to look at any Republican candidate without wondering, if there were no R after your name, would your followers still be your followers? 

[Title taken from this.]


A Wuss in Chic Clothing

If ever there was a day when this gal needed some Shania Twain, it was today.  My horrid habit of eating the ice from my drinks caused a filling to crack.  The dentist said it was in need of a crown.  My first crown.  No one told me exactly what to expect.

The appointment was just after the dentist's office opened.  The idea was to go straight from there to my office.  My nice pashmina protected my arms and shoulders from the chill in his office while the heating ramped up. 

Barely after reclining in the chair, he stuck a huge needle in my gum.  "Little sting."  Little sting, my ass.  Those needles weren't that big before.  When did they get so big? 

But the anesthesia worked.  My lip and tongue tingled until they felt as large as a lemon.  By that time, the tingling had subsided and there was no feeling.  That's when the worst of the whole procedure began. 

It's that smell.  Like burning flesh.  Like hair caught in a candle.  And it doesn't stop.  Because he just keeps on and on and on until my tooth is ready for the temporary crown.

Woah, woah, woah.  Temporary?  You mean I have to come back for more?  Heaven help me.

And THEN... the anesthesia wears off.  Can someone just hit me over the head with a bat and knock me out until morning?  Somehow, miraculously, the end of the workday arrived. 

On the drive home, the day was cooling into evening.  But, hey!  If I can stand the pain in my mouth, I sure as hell can stand a little chill.  The convertible top went down, the seat heater went on, and the pashmina wrapped around my head and shoulders to keep my hair from tangling in the wind.  Throw on some shades and I'm ready for my closeup, dahling.


Girl Sprouts

In my sister's 1955 Girl Scout handbook are nine proficiency badges listed under Agriculture -- Animal Raiser, Beekeeper, Dairying, Farmer, Fruit Raiser, Home Gardener, Landscaper, Poultry Raiser, and Truck Gardener.  With the rise of backyard chicken coops, knowing how to candle an egg is regaining importance.  But knowing the difference, in females, between a calf, a heifer, and a cow, and the quantity and type of feed for each?  Not so much.  I haven't seen many backyard Bessie's.

As in the general society, Girl Scouts are returning to the land.  One of the new badges is Locavore.  Girls will become knowledgeable on everything from the business of food to what’s in season in their area.  Eating local and in season tends to be cheaper and better for the environment.  If the produce is trucked in from a farm three counties away rather than a country in the other hemisphere, you'll save money because you won't be paying for all the various modes of transportation between farm and table.  Less transportation means less pollution.  It's a win-win.  Even better would be just walking out your back door and harvesting your own turnips.  But back to the Girl Scouts...

To earn the Locavore badge, five steps are required:

1. Explore the benefits and challenges of going local
2. Find your local food sources
3. Cook a simple dish showcasing local ingredients
4. Make a recipe with local ingredients
5. Try a local cooking challenge.

Each of the steps includes specific challenges such as interviewing chefs who specialize in locally grown foods, taking a favorite recipe and making it local, or, for the local cooking challenge, preparing a three-course meal based on local ingredients.

The Girl Scouts are returning to our roots.  Think it's easy?  I challenge YOU to the five badge requirements.  I'll participate as well and report back with my progress.  Can YOU earn the Girl Scouts Locavore badge?


Seven Ways to Leave Your Lover

Some people are better at breaking people's hearts than others.  Kim Kardashian comes to mind; she of 72 days.  Or Britney Spears; she of 55 hours.  But even people still stuck in dating mode sometimes do a piss-poor job of ending things.  The best approach is to just tell the other person. 

If you live in New York City, Zagat's has come up with a list of the best places to break the news. 

"BierHaus: One cardinal rule for restaurant/bar break-ups is to choose a place where you will never return in case things get ugly (and they will). Luckily, one evening at this Bavarian-style hall is enough to last twelve lifetimes (even sans a runny-nosed dining partner). It’s so loud that no one around you will be able to hear you say things like, “It’s not you; it’s me,” and “You have horrible taste in pants.” Live polka music versions of classics like Total Eclipse of the Heart mean there’s no danger you’ll be staying a second longer than necessary. Plus you can order your beer in a two liter boot, and no one can get that mad at someone drinking out of a plastic shoe.

"Go here: If you don’t care whether your ex never speaks to you again (712 Third Ave.; 212-867-2337).

"California Pizza Kitchen: This immense chainlet is as un-New York as you can get, which is good if you want to avoid memories of your first kiss on the Highline, first Valentine’s Day at One If By Land, Two if by Sea and first fight at Gristedes. Other pluses include well-spaced out tables that will prevent strangers from silently judging, teenaged servers who will be too terrified by the ugly crying to ask whether you need another apple martini and bright lighting that will ensure you don’t rethink your decision.

"Go here: If you’re afraid you might wimp out and need the soundtrack of shrieking children to strengthen your resolve. And if you love a good BBQ chicken pie (440 Park Avenue South; 212-685-6700).

"Jekyll & Hyde: Unless up till this point your relationship has existed in Second Life only, odds are the second you propose this place, your soon-to-be ex is going to know something is up. But if you’re expecting over-the-top hysterics, dining among animatronics and freaky servers who say creepy things might be your safest bet. Good luck to you.

"Go here: If you foresee danger and want to make absolutely certain you won’t know a single person inside (1409 Avenue of the Americas; 212-541-9505).

"Beauty and Essex: Though this trendy LES hotspot might seem a curious choice – it’s filled with people who aren’t miserable, its menu is geared toward sharing and it’s not exactly wallet-friendly – it still has a lot going for it: the dark lighting means potential break downs won’t be on full display, you can soften a difficult conversation with a variety of delicious cocktails and the civilized environs may keep things, well, civilized. Plus, the ladies room has free champagne, which is good whether you’re the dumper or dumpee.

"Go here: If you’re a multitasker and want to meet someone new the same night (146 Essex St.; 212-614-0146).

"Tortilla Flats: Avoiding romantic places is another break-up rule. Enter this Village cantina with its kitschy interior, bachelorette parties galore (caution: this is bad idea when breaking up with a fiancĂ©) and premade vat of margaritas. Sensitive choice it isn’t, but between the hula hoop contests, sauced clientele and chimichangas, there’s no way a serious conversation can survive.

"Go here: If you have a mortal fear of other people’s tears or if you can really rock a hula hoop after emotional distress (767 Washington St.; 212-243-1053).

"Balthazar: When your emotions are running more red-hot than blue and you want to break up in spectacular fashion, head to this always-crowded SoHo brasserie where throwing a martini in your ex’s face and storming out is guaranteed an audience. For maximum embarrassment, stage your performance before the check comes so your ex has to stay there and pay the bill.

"Go here: If you are mad and want revenge, Sex and the City-style (80 Spring St.; 212-965-1785).

"Starbucks: For a simple, no-frills solution, we suggest firing up your laptop, ordering your favorite coffee drink and sending an email. No muss, no fuss.

"Go here: If you met online and have been on less than seven dates. Or, you are a spineless robot coward. Note to spineless robots, don't think you can plug yourself in and sit at that table all day. People are waiting!"

[Title taken from this.]



My sartorial peeves are about to become rants.  If you're not ready for it, move to the back row [F*ck the back row! Yay Back Row!] and let someone else read it.

People, women mostly, who are so proudly brand conscious drive me up the wall.  One sees all these Coach bags with the C's on them, or the Tory Burch flats.  You know the ones.  Little ballet flats with a big brass circle on the toe with two T's top to top in the circle. 

A good 60% of my purses are Coach.  But here's my dirty little secret.  I despise conspicuous consumption so much that I never ever buy a Coach bag with the C's and the first thing I do even before the clerk has finished ringing up the sale is to remove the little leather or brass Coach-embossed tag from the strap.

But today's encounter topped them all.  While waiting to genuflect at the altar of the caffeine addicted, the sleeve of a woman's coat caught my eye.  There on the cuff of the left sleeve was the label -- Calvin Klein.  Seriously?  Did she just forget to cut it off?  Or does she think that it's supposed to be there?  Like those seams that hold jacket pockets together.  Or the stitch on the pleat of a skirt. 

For goodness sake, who is so proud of wearing So-and-So that they want to emblazon the designer's name all over themselves?  If you're going to advertise for the company, at least make them pay you for your service.  Stop and think.  If no one knew who designed or produced what you wear, would you still wear it?

Enough for now.  I better step off my soapbox before I launch into a diatribe about men wearing the wrong size suits. 

[Title taken from this.]