Thursday, December 31, 2009

Happy New Year, 2010!

I just rang in 2010 (alone, with a bottle of Freixenet, after working on my Joan website -- not depressing at all!) watching Anderson Cooper and Kathy Griffin on CNN, and got goosebumps watching the people in Times Square and listening to Frank's "New York, New York"!

When I was little, my mom would always let me stay up 'til midnight on New Year's Eve, with a glass of champagne, and we'd always watch "Dick Clark's New Year's Rockin' Eve" live from NYC; Dick's age/illness prevent him from hosting any longer, but... the beautiful, beautiful city remains.

When I was little, I always dreamed about actually being in Times Square on New Year's Eve... Now that I'm 44 and have lived here for the past 3 New Year's Eves, there's some reality that has set in: If you venture to Times Square for the year-end celebration, you're then crunched in with a million people for hours, unable to leave the area or go to the bathroom... Hate to admit it, but, given the hard-core reality... For the past 3 years, I've still just been watching the Times Square festivities on TV! (Some things are best left for the young and/or hardy tourists.) :)

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Long Lost

While I was home over Christmas, I was looking through old photo albums and at the family tree. I knew I'd had a sister that had died before me shortly after her birth. But I'd never thought about when her birthday was. In my life, I've found myself constantly attracted for some reason to either Scorpio women, or to women born during the Aquarius/Pisces cusp (late February). While at home, I just discovered that my dead older sister was born during the latter time frame. (I know the exact date/year, and it's a bizarre coincidence that it almost nearly matched someone I used to be in love with.)

Is there such a thing as free will, or are we actually bound by patterns?

End of 2009: New Bookshelf!

So much for not being grateful for small things! I was just walking to the beer-store and on the way came across a small 3-tiered book-shelf that someone had set out for the trash pick-up tomorrow. My apartment is sparsely furnished, and I immediately had to stop and lug the thing home before continuing with my beer trek.

Since I've been unable to buy many items of furniture for my apartment in the past 2 years, I've been genuinely excited whenever I've found stuff set along the curb that I was able to cart home and use: A black night-side table. A narrow bookcase to set my small bedroom TV up on (with shelves for a DVD player and knick-knacks below). Shelves for my shoes in my closet. And now this one! For ages, I've wanted a credenza by my front door, just to place my bag and keys on when I got home. And my books are overflowing, so I could place it by my desk for that use, too.

Believe it or not, it's actually fun for me to think about! :)

Sunday, December 20, 2009

The Reason for the Season

One of my Facebook Friends actually just posted this:

"They may want to take Christ out of Christmas, but they can never take Christ out of me. If you are proud to be a Christian and are not ashamed of Christ, then post this as your status for 1 day as a light to the world. Most people will be ashamed or scared to do this. ** Jesus is the reason for the season! **"

Now, I don't want to go around starting fights with my newfound Facebook Friends, but...I was so flabbergasted by the above that I had to respond there. Pointing out that "Christmas" didn't start out being called that, but was, rather, initially a pagan holiday designed to give ancient folk an excuse to feast during the shortest, coldest, most miserable day of the year (the Winter Solstice, December 21).

Once Christianity became more popular, Christians invented a birthdate for Jesus Christ (December 25, which scholars almost universally acknowledge is not the actual birthdate of Christ), and incorporated many of the local pagan customs into their newly created holiday. (The tree, worshipfully decorated and lit, which is the holiday centerpiece today of most homes, is completely a pagan holdover.)

And then there's "Saint Nick"/Santa Claus. I haven't done research into his origins. Judging by the "Saint," though, I assume that the concept of the Jolly Old Elf flying around the world delivering gifts somehow has its origins in the Church. (Though, with the "magical elf" part, I suspect there are also pagan roots to this, too.)

In short: Jesus AIN'T AT ALL the "reason for the season"!


Your horoscope for December 20, 2009
There is a great chance that incredible luck will befall you, STEPHANIE, but it is important to realize that nothing will come without hard work on your part. Don't just sit back and expect someone else to hand you the treasure chest. You have the map in your hand, so start following it. Once you get started, you may realize that you are much closer to the "X" than you think. It is up to you to make the journey, but keep in mind that there is a great deal of help for you along the way.

Your horoscope for December 19, 2009
You may be a bit confused by your heart, STEPHANIE. For some reason, you may find that it is not beating as steadily as usual. It may become extremely frustrating for you when you can't grab a tight rein on your emotions. This internal conflict is a signal that there is a lesson for you to learn. Perhaps your heart knows something that your conscious mind has not yet realized.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

What Are You Doing New Year's Eve?

By Nancy Wilson. The best version of this song I've ever heard.

The Merriest

Circa 1960 home footage holiday party with June Christy's "The Merriest."

YouTube wouldn't let me directly embed this video here, but above is the link. Great song, and happy party! :)

p.s. My Christmas CDs are really putting me in a good mood. I have only a few, but they're good ones, just the right blend of swing and holiday spirit:
Christmas with the Rat Pack
Christmas on the Town (two discs)
Christmas Cocktails (discs one and two)
Elvis "If Every Day Were Like Christmas"


Lyrics to "The Merriest" by June Christy

Merry Christmas!

I'd like to fix this bag of tricks
and hand it out with a fleeting greeting:

Smiles for the frowners
Salutes to the uppers
Boosts for the downers
May the day be the bowl of cherriest
And to all, the Merriest!

Hope you swing during the season
Hope your days go great
Hope you find plenty of reasons all year long to celebrate

Sun for the mopers
A laugh for the criers
Luck for the hopers
To the strange and the ordinariest
Me to you, the Merriest!

Thoughts for the musers
A cheer for the winners
Breaks for the losers
To the beats and the debonariest
Greetings like the Merriest!

Hope there's oil under your rosevine
Hope you get that raise
Hope you hope everything goes fine
the next 300 and some odd days

Friends for the loners
A Song for the singers
Grins for the groaners
make the day the nothing can compariest
have the most, the merriest!

Congratulations, Houston!

The first openly gay mayor of a major US city. And in Texas!

Houston Chronicle story.

I hadn't even heard of Parker until a few weeks ago.

S., from Houston, writing on her blog that she wouldn't vote for a lesbian made me wonder what the hell she was talking about! (Thought she was being oblique as usual.)

I finally figured out that Houston had a gay woman headed to the mayoral run-off. Wasn't too hopeful about her chances -- running against a black candidate in a city with a large black population, having to deal with all of the anti-gay right-wingers and the big business faction that had backed someone else. Looks like common sense (she had the best, by far, record of serving the city) won out!

Now, if the city would just do something about their water and hair quality...

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Baby, It's Cold Outside and Thanks

Just got home from working 47.5 hours this week -- 7 days of work in a row! Thank you, god, for the work!!!!! More to come next week! (all adding up to January 1 rent...almost there)

And thanks, also, for the great deli across the street from the office. Usually quickie restaurants run by Chinese folk are crappy. (Seriously -- have you ever eaten at a "Tex-Mex" place run by Chinese people? OK then.) But... this Chinese-run place has GREAT roast beef and chicken and fish and salad bar...I've been eating very healthily and happily all week (for the first time in 6 months).

Also found a $10 bill lying on the street tonight while walking to my bus! (According to god, should have given it away, but...went and used it for beer instead. But, hey, the homeless person I'd have given it to would have just done the same...All the karma evens out, right??) ;p

And home listening to Christmas CDs: "Christmas with the Rat Pack" and "Christmas on the Town." Dean's "Baby It's Cold Outside" has to be one of my favorite winter-time songs ever!

It was a good week, and today was a good day. Manhattan's absolutely beautiful in winter. Thank you for letting me be here!!!!!

Future New Yorkers! (circa 1978)

Me and Jody, future New Yorkers, winners of Azle Junior High's Clash Day! :)

Thanks to Jody for finding me on Facebook and sending me this picture. Notice the second picture above: Jody -- TO THIS DAY -- keeps a reminder of our triumph by his printer! :)

(Thanks also to my mom for the hat, gloves, and left shoe that I'm certain helped assure my sweet victory.)

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Christmas Magic

Your horoscope for December 9, 2009
Love is in the air for you, STEPHANIE. Think of yourself as a sprite skipping through the forest and offering your magic to all the creatures you encounter. You will be rewarded handsomely because you have so many things to offer. Spread your love far and wide. You will find yourself skipping from place to place and person to person, picking up smiles of pleasure from others. Put your worries aside for a while. There is every reason to be happy. Laughter is what keeps you young.


Oh. My. God. I am probably the least sprite-like, least happiness-bringing, least love-spreading person in the world right now!! That horoscope for my Good Twin cracked me up! ;p

I have a fairly heavy emotional nature to begin with, and these past months of unemployment and constant worry have weighed down my spirit in relation to others into burdensome albatross-like proportions. Ugh.

And...this year I'm not even into Christmas! I have always been a real "Christmas person." For instance, in years past I would buy several boxes of Christmas cards and spend a whole evening picking out which was EXACTLY APPROPRIATE for the person I was sending it to. I'd spend weeks planning on EXACTLY THE RIGHT GIFT for people. I'd spend a whole evening decorating my house, complete with a mini-tree and door wreath and garlands strung over inside doorways. And, since living in the NYC area, I would wander around gaping at the pretty lights and the skating rinks and the interesting, fun goods at the outdoor booths of the local merchants set up in parks around the city. It was fairy-tale-ish for me.

This year, I'm not horribly depressed about Christmas (I could never be "horribly depressed" about Christmas; it's too warmly magical -- I say that unironically), it's just that I'm feeling very FLAT about Christmas. I don't have money to buy anyone anything, so that pleasure of planning and shopping is gone. And when I go home to Texas for a few days, it's with the knowledge that within a month I might have to move right back there (and also that I can't buy a nice outfit and get a great haircut to try to impress the folks who haven't seen me in a year). It's a bummer, man.

On the positive side, though, I did get a week-long work gig this week. At a mega-company that really knows how to deck their halls! 20-foot-tall sparkly wreaths, 15-foot-tall heaps of fake presents in the lobby. Again, I'm not being sarcastic -- the stuff really looks pretty! I really enjoy walking in and out of the building! And, since I get off at midnight each night, the company pays for a car to take me home. I feel quite glamorous! Whenever I walk out of the beautiful lobby to my awaiting coach each evening, I almost nod at the passing tourists, pretending that I'm a well-dressed financier who's just put in a hard 12-hour-day and made tons of tired, but "good" tired...being driven home to my Upper East Side apartment. Fantasizing lifts this wannabe-sprite's spirits.

Oh, but last night the real me, the anti-sprite, kicked in: When I got in the car, the friendly driver gazed out through the windshield at all the bright lights of Times Square and said pleasantly to me, "It's Christmas." Mean Elf me replied, "What? Oh. It would be a better Christmas if I had a job." He didn't speak to me after that! So much for my "skipping through the forest and offering my magic to all the creatures I encounter"!

Sunday, December 06, 2009

Hanker Chef

People who absolutely cannot spell are somewhat fascinating to me. I just was browsing on eBay for Joan Crawford things and came across someone selling a "Joan Crawford Hanker Chef."

A "hanker chef"!

The "fascinating" part for me comes into play when I start thinking about the life of someone who would spell "handkerchief" publicly that way...

(1) Have they never, ever read a book? (Admittedly, it's a tricky word to spell; I don't remember how I first learned it, but it was somewhere back in early grade school, when it kept popping up over and over again in various school texts. Eventually, at a young age, I picked up on how to spell it. Reinforced over the years by seeing the word again and again in numerous books.)
(2) Surely, when they were writing out their eBay ad, they had an inkling that they weren't spelling the word correctly, that certainly the word wasn't "hanker chef." Did they think to consult a dictionary? Did they not have a dictionary in their house?

Another thing that I came across recently (also in Joan-world) was "cold slaw." I was doing a Joan Crawford book review for an Amazon page, and someone there had accused Joan of throwing "COLD slaw" at a dinner guest. I wrote my review, and countered their claim of "COLE slaw" throwing -- correcting the spelling, thinking maybe there was just a typo on their part. But no, they came right on back with their COLD slaw!

My absolute pet peeve remains the mother of former Miami Heat basketball star "Anfernee Hardaway." My brother claims that I'm racist for thinking that Anfernee's mother simply didn't know how to spell "Anthony." Racist, Schmacist, I don't care! I'll bet you a million dollars that Hardaway's mom had heard the name "Anthony" but had no clue how to spell it, and so wrote down "Anfernee" on the birth certificate! (Same with player/coach "ISIAH Thomas" -- If you're going to name your kids biblically...then check your bible! It's ISAIAH, goddammit! Which reminds me of the story behind Oprah Winfrey's name: She herself said that she was named after the biblical character "Orpah" -- only her mom misspelled it "Oprah"!) :)

Saturday, December 05, 2009

Facebook friends

You know what I like about Facebook? If you're prone to wild spurts of fancy like I always have been, you might have imagined various dramatic "fates" awaiting your high school or college classmates or old crushes; but Facebook calms you down, makes you feel better about yourself in that, once you get back in touch with the sundry people from your past, the vast majority of them are simply going about their business nowadays. The popular kids in high school that you envied, or had crushes on, are housewives or balding insurance salesmen or realtors. The "glamorous folk" in your poetry classes whom you thought, when you were 19, would be famous are wives or librarians or community college teachers. Some people that you once judged as hopeless are now as put together, or much moreso, than yourself.

Back in my club days, I carried around a decidedly sinister view of the world, which I've also been garnering from watching too much TV lately while unemployed -- "sinister" as in: a feeling that the world is controlled by the awful, soul-deadening, depth-less opinions of uber-rich party girls/housewives and shallow gay party boys, and if you didn't conform to THEIR standards, then you were lacking and mocked... Well, gee, wonder why I felt like that! Maybe 'cause the Worlds o' Club and TV ARE INDEED controlled by said demographics!

Facebook proves life ain't like that. (And NYC, also, proves the same daily. There's so MUCH here! All walks of life, all types of people. The botoxed are a tiny minority. The beautiful women here might have something to say. The gay men are more likely to be interesting MEN, not just stereotypical "club boys." I can't get over how SANE a place this is, all around, for the most part.)

I probably wrote all of the above because I was just thinking of an acquaintance from high school who recently contacted me via Facebook. In high school, I remember being in advanced classes with him; I remember his serious expression and straight blond bangs; I remember his being part of the Timberlake "rich kids crowd"; I remember that he had a severe stutter at that time, and that once, at a school English-class outing, he asked me to order his food for him because he was embarrassed to stutter in front of the fast-food clerk. And, as he just reminded me, I now remember the "Clash Day" contest he and I won together in junior high -- prizes for who could intentionally wear the most mismatched clothes! (Photo to come, he promises!)

He's now a good-looking, successful designer dividing his time between NYC and a western state, with a long-term successful relationship with a good-looking older man. And, for some reason, he thought of me enough to contact me... Perhaps he remembered a fellow high-school odd-ball. He was from the "good" crowd, but he stuttered... I was pretty and smart, but I was often depressed and "weird"... Or, maybe his contacting me is just the innate "gaydar" acting up! :) Gay Azle-ites in New York City! :)

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Curious George!

When you're unemployed, you get to scout out lots of formerly unexplored TV show re-runs. I will always, ALWAYS HATE "Three's Company" and "Who's the Boss" and "Full House" and "Sex and the City" however much they're shown and re-shown.

However... CURIOUS GEORGE rules! :) I normally avoid watching cartoons. Even adult cartoons that I know are funny after watching a few times, like "King of the Hill" and "The Simpsons" and "South Park." I don't know why. I just don't particularly enjoy watching them (though I'm gaining a penchant for "King of the Hill").

But Curious George... I just discovered this PBS show aimed at 4-year-olds last week and now... I cannot get enough of George! He's too incredibly cute; I can't stand it!

Other new-found TV favorites that I never would have discovered had I been gainfully employed: "The Office"; "18 Kids and Counting" (those Duggers -- freakishly religious, but also freakishly NICE to the point of fascination); "Everybody Loves Raymond."

Not Drinking and Taco Bell

It's amazing how much you can get done on a day after not drinking anything! This morning I woke up at 7am, immediately got online and sent out 5 resumes, then made an appointment with yet another temp agency.

After that:
Did dishes
Did laundry
Hand-washed 2 bras and 2 shirts
Took 2 bags of old clothes to the local thrift store
Walked to the Hudson to see the NYC skyline
Craved Taco Bell, took a bus there, then walked the 3 miles home

The Taco Bell sauce packets have been bugging me for years now, though. A few years ago, they started putting "sayings" on the packets. Trying to be "edgy," but falling far short. For instance, here's what sauce I got today: "Help! I can't tell where I am. It's dark and I can hear laughing." And "Will you scratch my back?". And "Ahhh...We meet again."

Is "Help! I can't tell where I am. It's dark and I can hear laughing" really appropriate for a taco-sauce packet? Do they want me to feel angst while I eat my 99-cent taco? Or do they want me to feel that I'm "dark" and "hip" for eating at Taco Bell? What 19-year-old geek-boys did they hire to write this stuff? (What's next: McDonald's printing on their Happy Meals boxes: "Hello, little girl, I'm watching you"?)