Nailed it! (A fluff piece)

Do you know what a “Happy” is?  A Happy is like a free souvenir, something small and possibly insignificant to everyone but you that makes you smile whenever you see it. 

Manicures and pedicures are Happies, or rather, cause Happies.  Whether done at a salon or at home, the lasting effects are constant Happies.  A small, shiny splash of glitter that sparkles in the sun when you look down at your hands on the steering wheel, or the sharp contrast of a snazzy fuschia on your tanned toes poking through the sand (or posing for that obligatory feet-up-in-front-of-the-ocean shot for Facebook), or even that slash of a sexy red when trailing your fingers over a lover’s skin.  Getting a manicure is a lovely form of self-pampering.  It’s not technically considered as necessary as a haircut, but it is the one in which the results are seen more by you than anyone looking at you.  That alone makes it more special.  Having her nails done can make a woman feel feminine and special even in a job where she wears a uniform or clothing made for utilitarian service and not made to stand out in any way, or especially look feminine.  



Group mani/pedis can be fun because it gets you out of the house, you can hang with your girls for a bit in a relaxing atmosphere, and you have a lasting reminder when you leave.  A mother and her daughter(s) can enjoy each other’s company, even with the younger daughters.  Mom has a chance to relax, the younger child feels “so grown up”, and they are together in a place where they will actually talk to each other (anybody with daughters—children—know those opportunities for quality talk are few and far between).  I myself have had only three professional manicures (one when I got married and one last year just because I could—a valid reason for almost anything) and two pedicures (one was a gift for my 30th birthday, the other was a “day with my daughters” event).


I’ll be honest, it is not something I could afford right now with any sort of regularity.  I do my own nails most of the time.  And I do it for me.  I’ve even developed a bit of a system:  I start my nails a few hours before my shower.  Base coat and main coat of color—and I’m not worried about being neat.  In the shower (even if it’s the next morning) your cuticles soften, especially after shampooing and conditioning.  Before I rinse my hair, while I have conditioner still on my hands, I use my fingernails to lightly scrape around each nail.  Between water-softening and the conditioner any messy, stuck-on polish on my fingers and cuticles comes off easily.  Then just before I have to leave for work—literally just before—after I’ve put my coat on and have everything ready to go, I put another coat of color on (without going too close to the edges).  It dries on my way to work.  After that, for two days in the morning I put on a coat of quick-drying clear polish.  It lasts quite a while.  This may sound like a lot of work, but it really isn’t.  Figure out your own time schedule.  Since you’ll be able to neaten it up in the shower, you don’t have to worry too much about being messy around the edges of your nails initially, which means painting them will take less time.  One coat dries fast. When you drive/sit on a bus or train/walk that is the perfect drying time.   I never thought I’d be able to do my nails with any regularity, especially since I have no real concept of time management, but I can and I still have time for my jobs!  Or you can take all the time you want doing your nails; it’s as therapeutic as coloring, a type of meditation tool.  




By now some of you could be thinking, “Did she actually spend all this time writing about her fingernails?” or “Oh my God, did I actually spend all this time readingabout her fingernails?”  First of all, the answer to both questions would be a yes (you were warned in a previous post).  Secondly, manicures are no longer considered totally fru fru anymore.  Nail polish is wearable art.  The colors and designs you choose to wear are a statement of personality or mood.  Yes, we still get upset if we break a nail, but not to the degree of times past.  But that also doesn’t mean we’d let our nice manicure prevent us from playing football or painting a bench.  We just want to enjoy something that gives us a little pleasure, a momentary smile, a Happy, that we carry with us even during a nasty day at work or a long drive in traffic.   Being able to take your smiles where you can get them goes a long way in keeping you sane and going strong.  Nothing is too small to do that.  
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I Want to get Gay Married

At first I thought the title “Gay Marriage” was about a themed wedding.  Disco Balls, dancing (great dancing, mind you), lots of glitter and FABULOUS outfits. (Yes, I said “FABULOUS!”)  I was SO disappointed when I realized all this fuss was just about regular marriage. 

When I started writing this I had no intention of mentioning religion in any way.  And then someone who felt very strongly about their beliefs chose to put harsh, judgmental comments on a post I made on Facebook.  She “inspired” me. (Thank you.)  As far as religion goes I will say this: for those that truly believe that their God will have Judgment Day on certain people, then kindly step off and let him do it. If he’s going to take care of the people living “wrong”, you have nothing to worry about. Go on with your lives, living them as you see fit, and spend more time worrying about the child molester that just moved into your neighborhood, or the terrorist who is planning to kill all the people who don’t believe in the God he or she believes in – which, coincidentally, ISN’T the God you believe in (or mine), or even the man in your church who everyone loves that goes home and beats his wife and/or children (and all the while, keep in mind that that child-molester, wife-beater and/or terrorist, odds are, have been brought up in your so-called “correct” heterosexually married household).  These are the people that can harm you. 

This silly “Gay Marriage” debate is all about discrimination, and discrimination only.  Slavery, racial discrimination, gender discrimination… we’ve seen this same fight countless times before.  It’s about some people arguing the COMPLETELY PERSONAL freedom that is afforded all of us in the Bill of Rights:

            That government is instituted, and ought to be exercised for the benefit of the people; which consists in the enjoyment of life and liberty, with the right of acquiring and using property, and generally of pursuing and obtaining happiness and safety.

The two people that only want to love each other and stand together FAIRLY with everyone else will not interfere with the happiness or safety of others.  And sexual discrimination only belongs in public restrooms; I don’t want my shoes ruined.

I count myself lucky to be born after all the wonderful women and men who fought for women’s rights.  The only discrimination I face is in the left-over chauvinism, and even that has lessened over the course of my life.  Yet even that can get to me.  I can’t imagine being treated with the direct discrimination some people still have to deal with on a daily basis based on simply who they are, what color they are, how old they are or who they love.

Love. Isn’t that what it’s supposed to be all about?  When people are loving towards each other there is less fighting.  Want to raise hell for a cause?  Fight hatred.

If you want to argue the money, keep in mind that no JOB is allowed to discriminate, either.  A qualified person is a qualified person and should get equality there.  The similarities (on the paper side) between and job and a marriage ‘contract’ are enough that, technically speaking, this ridiculous argument should have been settled with job equality.  Think about it.
And, speaking of ridiculous (but I want to know), who came up with the wonderful title “Gay”? 
GAY (from Dictionary.com):
“Having or showing a merry, lively mood: gay spirits; gay music. Synonyms: cheerful, gleeful, happy, glad, cheery, lighthearted, joyous, joyful, jovial; sunny, lively, vivacious, sparkling, chipper, playful, jaunty, sprightly, blithe.”
Who wouldn’t want to be that? I’m actually a little jealous.  The best we girls – heterosexual or homosexual – got was “Bitch”.
BITCH (also from Dictionary.com):
“A female dog.”
Really?  That was the best anyone could come up with?
(Thank you for your patience.)
One other thing, most of my gay friends are in healthier and longer-lasting relationships than most of my family (myself included), and some of my straight friends are only STILL married because it’s too expensive to get a divorce.  And judging by the divorce rate and spousal killings alone, it looks like we ‘straight’ people don’t have it right, either.
So, if I ever do get married again, I still want to get Gay Married.  Everyone’s making such a big deal about it, it sounds like it should be truly tremendous.  You’re all invited. “We’ll have a gay old time!”
Or not.  Who knows, I could just be blowing smoke up your ass.  I mean, what do I know?  After all, I am only a bitch.

Please Leave All Expectations at the Door

          Given the more serious topics I’ve spoken about, or rather the fact that I spoke about anything at all serious here, I feel the need to warn any future visitors not to expect anything from me, or not to expect anything specific from me.  What I choose to talk about comes from whatever strikes me at that moment, and that changes like the wind.  If you expect serious dissertation on a regular basis, this is not the place for you.  

          Yes, I opened on a serious topic.  I’m from Boston and (this is possibly my biggest understatement ever) we had a really bad week here.  Really bad.  Really.  And I will probably be talking more about that later.

          My second topic came easy, too.  I was asked an opinion question.  From Dad.  Too easy all around.  No one gets me talking like my father does.  And even if he’s shaking his head at me at this very moment, he knows this apple did not fall as far from the tree as he may have been hoping.  And opinion questions?  I have an opinion on everything.  Did I say “everything”?  Everything.  Even if I didn’t I could make one up and argue it passionately.

          This does not mean I will be using this as any type of political soapbox. I’m the least political person I know.  If you ask me which side I’m on my answer would probably be something along the lines of “Tastes Great”.  I do not participate in political debates. Period.  I may talk about something that may be discussed in politics, but usually that has to do with the fact that a lot of the political points of discussion are of subject matter that have nothing whatsoever to do with politics and instead have more to do with personal choice.  Opinion.  MY area of expertise.

          So, what should you expect here?  Anything.  And absolutely nothing.  Don’t expect to learn anything here.  Opinions aren’t for teaching. I will only talk about my children if they completely piss me off or do something so ridiculously stupid I think the world should know, or if mention of them pertains to the subject at hand.  This is MY playground.  I don’t give out parenting tips (I can hear the BAHAHAHAHAs from my friends at the thought of that!).  There will CERTAINLY be no talk of cooking unless I’m talking about someone cooking for me, or passing out a recipe in hopeful anticipation that someone actually will.  I am a Goddess, but not of the Domestic type.  I am quite the optimist, too.  I have been called a “fucking cheerleader” on more than one occasion—and it was never meant as a compliment.  My rose-colored glasses are streak-free and as sparkly and shiny as my tiara.

          Use this place as a coffee break.  Consider this the more wordy cereal box you would pick up and read at breakfast.  Some of you may use the “couch surfer” approach, where you flick through many channels until you stop on one just by accident and leave it there for a moment.

          Take note:  you may find you’ve read two whole paragraphs before you realize to your horror that I’ve been discussing my hair, or shaving my legs, or 80’s music…or even sex (I’m in my 40’s. It comes with the territory.).  Yes, those are REAL subjects to me.

          If my warnings here haven’t said enough, consider my title.  My age, love of my hair and mention of my fantasy life are given away immediately.  And “Confessions of…”?—sounds like any movie-of-the-week on Lifetime or smutty autobiography.  How serious do you really expect me to be?
          
          You have been warned.  And you have just lost 46 seconds or so OF YOUR LIFE that you will never get back (depending on how fast you read).

Bully for you, Dad!

Before I say anything else, I want to say that I love my father.  I love you, Dad.  For many reasons.  Not the least of which is that he has the balls (yes, I said that) to ask me, his daughter, on a very public forum this question based on my last blog:
“Hey daughter, during the time I was parenting, would you have classified me as either a terrorist or a bully?”
          A loaded question, given the nature of our relationship for the first 20 years or so of my life.  And he asked this as a comment on my blog.  Out in the open.  I would guess a lot of people would think he was insane to ask such a thing in public, possibly opening himself up to ‘unkind words from an ungrateful daughter’.  Not me.  I know my father, and I know how we interact.
          This is a trick question.
          First, there was no way I could respond to that in the “reply” format because I would have to keep my answer short, forcing me to basically answer with a black-and-white “yes” or “no” (and he and anyone who knows me knows that I am incapable of that).  Neither answer would be fully correct.  If I said no, he would probably not believe me based on some arguments we’d had over the years, and attempt to think to invalidate statements I’d made in the past.  If I said yes, his answer would probably involve some of the hair-splitting I will be getting into in a moment (and probably with an answer he already had prepared ahead of time in expectation of such).
          Semantics. Gotta love that word. I honed my skills at argument, debate, and semantics directly under his tutelage.  He told me when I was very young, “If you don’t understand something, ASK.”  And I did. I questioned everything he did.  And then I questioned his answers, again and again.  He told me never come to an argument unprepared and “if you make a statement, you better be able to back it up.”  Wordplay became our “thang”.
He also told me never, ever, ask an opinion question if you don’t really want the answer.
Which brings me to my second point. And semantics.  This question could read two ways.  “During the time I was parenting, would you have classified me as either a terrorist or a bully?”  Is the question “Did I think he was a bully then, while I was being parented?” Or, “Now, looking back at his parenting, would I consider him as having been a bully?
(I am sure at some point some of you may be thinking of the scene in the movie “The Princess Bride” when the very long-winded Vizzini is trying to determine before he drinks it which cup has the iocane poison in it, and argues incessantly about which cup it would be in and why. I will tell you right now this discourse could last longer than that. Either grab a cup of coffee and settle in or scroll your mouse to the upper right corner and click the “x”.)
He was a parent at a younger age than I was when I became a parent. I remember how young and inexperienced I felt then (and still do), and can only imagine how…frustrating it would be to have “little Susie” up my ass all the time questioning every move I made as I was still trying to learn my way around life.  I know what I am like when I have a question. Even now.
Now for the question itself.  When I was a child, my answer may have been yes, I think he was a bully.  I say “may have been” for a reason.  Dad instilled fear in us (and the rest of the neighborhood kids as well).  I did not agree with that.  That whole fear/respect argument was debated a lot (ß HUGE understatement).  I still do not believe in using fear as a parenting tool.  The use of fear could lend to the argument of bullying.  HOWEVER, as much as I disagreed with his methods, I knew he was doing the best he could with what he knew, AND I always knew he loved me and was trying to teach me what all parents try to teach their children.  Even then, I knew that.  So, like every other child, I thought my father was just an idiot first, for not knowing what he was doing.  And so, when being a parent became really…fun for me, I called him and told him that even though I still don’t agree with the fear method of parenting, “I now understand why you did!” And when I found out how stupid my own daughter thinks I am,  I texted both of my parents apologizing to them if I thought then that they were half as stupid as my oldest daughter thinks I am now.
–I will interrupt myself to acknowledge that part of what I just said could be used in an argument pertinent to my previous blog.  Terrorists/bullies use force as a means of coercion, however in my opinion that argument falls apart with the absence of love and the fact that the desired result has nothing to do with any kind of ‘betterment’ for the victim of such treatment.  Once again, my opinion. Nothing more.
I will say this, Dad.  During certain “discussions” outside the parameter of direct parenting, I do believe there was bullying involved.  I believed it both then and now.  Whenever we reached an impasse, you used my fear of you, your “rank as an adult”, and even the fact that I was female (“You’re getting emotional!”) to end the argument, whether anything was resolved or not.  But then, you know this.  We’ve discussed this many times before.  And I’ve also told you that because of that I was able to come up with my own strategy for debate of any kind.   Does the end justify the means?  I’m usually a proponent of that, but I don’t know, really.  I certainly didn’t enjoy it.  But, again, I did know where you were coming from.  We do what we know.
–and, yes, I realize again where that could lead regarding my last blog. I will not touch that particular can of worms for a while, if ever.  The rose-colored glasses I wear (remember those, Dad?) see something good in everything, even the tiniest sliver of the positive. Whether some see it as a type of defense mechanism or crutch, I know that it is essential for my survival to be able to do so.  And that, too, is another blog for another time.
So, to “Bob the Father”, I suppose as a parent you weren’t so much a bully (again, the desired result of the use of fear and the base motivator make the difference—to me). Yet “Bob the Man” could be sometimes.
I love semantics.
And I love the relationship that I have with my father now.  I know he loves me even when it’s my turn to be the idiot.  And he makes me think.

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But are they really "Terrorists"?

You could look up the word “terrorism” in many different dictionaries and pretty much get the same definition.  It’s pretty much “the use of violence and threats to intimidate or coerce, especially for political or religious purposes” and “the state of fear and submission produced by terrorization.”  You get it.
Yes, we as a nation have endured many terroristic acts.  Horrific acts of brutality, murder and torture.  We have been brought to our knees a few times.
But have we actually been “terrorized”?  We bring ourselves back up to our feet, over and over again.  We have grown closer as a people, more united than ever.  We refuse to live in that state of fear and submission. No one has made us bow to their demands.  Which means they have not succeeded.
Ergo, they are not “Terrorists”.
What should we call them, then?  We know that part of the act of terrorism involves some type of need for glory whether it be for a cause, a religion or even that person’s own self.  To be called a Terrorist-with-a-capital-T does give them some validation.  Since they have not succeeded in terrorizing us, I say we even take that name away from them.
Hmmm….
Why don’t we look up the word “bully”.  Or don’t.  We all know what that word means.  If you think about it, the only difference between a bully and a terrorist is pretty much the degree and method of violence used.  The desired end result is the same.  We also know there are two effective ways to deal with bullies; either make them our friends, or stand together in front of them united and show them that they have no power over you.  (I will not come out and say “Let’s offer them friendship!” and be laughed off the internet, even if my idealistic inner self wishes that were possible.  Maybe someday…sigh…)  We have shown time and time and time again that we get up, we stand together and stand up against people who try to coerce us into some form of submission or degradation.
They lose.  As often as they step up their means of attempted subjugation, they fail.  Let’s just call a spade a spade and call them what they really are, no grand titles and no capital letters.
They are just bullies.
See what that one word change does to the implied “power” anyone thinks they have over us?  And to further lessen the sting, and therefore the implied glory, I will now add insult to injury and allow my inner child free reign to comment:
NYAH NYAH!