Monday, November 23, 2015

A Holiday Debate that Won't End in a Fist Fight...Mostly

First of all, let us just take a moment of silence to appreciate the sexy beast pictured above...

****moment of silence****

Done? Me neither, but I'll revisit it later.

I watched a debate on the Today show this morning between men and women over whether or not Die Hard is a Christmas movie. The guys are in favor of yes, the gals are in favor of no. So, I shot Alison Tyler a tweet that apparently...we are guys!

That's right. We agree. Die Hard is a Christmas movie. For many reasons beyond it being set at Christmas. Imagine that, me and AT agreeing on something. *snort*

So now you weigh in. I truly have mad curiosity about this topic. me your opinion. *Is* Die Hard a Christmas movie, or are we totally, totally wrong? Beats talking about what's going on in the world...that's for sure!

Ho, Ho, Ho...

Monday, November 9, 2015

"The Smile Experiment" or "My Trip to the MVA for My Mug Shot"

Photo “Smile” ©Sommer Marsden

I know I’m not smiling a lot lately. Oh, I smile at my kids and I tend to smile back at people who smile at me. But that’s about it. I’ve always had RBF (Resting Bitch Face) but I smiled more readily back in the day. I’m not blind to the fact that even though our family has passed that supposedly-magic (it’s not) year point of grieving that my smile is often MIA.

Today was my trip to the MVA for drivers license renewal. I tried to renew it by mail but misunderstood the form and didn’t send an eye doctor note saying I wasn’t Mr. Magoo. So I had to go in and do it the old fashioned way, sitting there for a century waiting to be called.

Since I was killing time and I’ve been doing a lot of introspection (sounds super intense but it’s not really) I decided to try smiling. For no fucking reason other than to smile, to be honest. Maybe it would help my mood and my experience as the computer called out Now Serving B 33…and so on.

I smiled for no reason. I smiled at people. People are so frowny in the MVA and I’ve always been one of them too. A lot of people smiled back, a lot of them looked like I was insane…that’s cool. I just kept smiling.

I mean, don’t get me wrong, I didn’t sit there grinning like the Joker for 45 minutes straight, but I made an effort to smile at others.

I’m sure I’m not the only one who plays this game. We watch the people who work there, evaluate them (hey, you’ve got time on your hands, right?) and pick the one you hope you get. Well, I got my guy and I walked up to him when my number (B45 in case you were wondering) was finally called.

First thing out of his mouth, “Well, hello, Miss Smiley, how are you today?”

Boom! Instant gratification. My experiment had worked. I was going into this with a person with a great attitude and it would be better than most scenarios at MVA where I get someone rude and I end up looking like one of America’s Most Wanted on my license.

So, I sat in the picture chair and smiled when he told me to. My signature tight little controlled close mouthed smile. He added as he was taking it, “Oh, I saw you smiling over there. A great smile.”

Then his forehead wrinkled and he said: “Well, that’s good but why don’t you smile showing your teeth?”

“I never have. I just don’t…like to.”

“You should. Great smile.”

“You sound like my daughter.”

“Well, she’s right.”

Then we do this and that and the other, pressing buttons, answering questions, and he says, “How old is your daughter?”

“Seventeen. I have a nineteen year old son, too.”

“Get out! You do not.”

“I do.”

“Well, good for you…You certainly don’t look like you could have kids that old.” (Bonus points for him for tossing my ego a nice meaty snack.)

This went on and on. My eye exam, chit-chatting, and then he guessed my occupation. “Health care?”
I laughed. And for the first time in my entire life with a stranger I smiled (couldn’t help it at that point) and said very confidently, “I’m a writer.” But I wasn’t dreading the next question. There’s always that next question. Or in this case, a guess.

“Kids books?”

I laughed again. (and here’s the first >>>---->) “Oh, no, I write dirty books. Or you can call them erotic romance.”

Another more boisterous, “Good for you!!”

It goes on, but I really think that all that random fucking smiling dictated this exchange and my self-confidence to flat out say what I did to a stranger for the first time ever. I wasn’t worried about judgement, I wasn’t worried about shock or horror, I wasn’t worried about anything…because all that sporadic smiling had changed me on the inside and turned what could have been an hour in hell to a pretty damn fun encounter.

Then he says: “Are you sure I can’t convince you to smile showing your teeth?”

“It’ll be terrible,” I assured him.

He shrugged, “So we take it again.”

I caved. I was on board. I took it again. This time I smiled showing my teeth.

“There you go!” he said as I ran my card through to pay. Then he’s scrolling…”Do you know this is the first time you’ve ever smiled showing your teeth…ever?”

“You can see all that?”

“I can. Hey, look, we made history today.”

Well, I don’t know about that, but I do know that I learned something today. And I know that was the most fun I’ve ever had in an MVA in the history of ever. So maybe we did make history today, after all.

He ended with “You have a beautiful day.”

I told him that thanks to him it was definitely looking like it would be one. And then I smiled at him again. I couldn’t help it. ;)


Saturday, October 31, 2015

A Very Witchy Rant for Halloween

So, I’ve been seeing a lot of stuff online about allergens and trick or treating. And quite honestly, it’s all pissing me off.

First, we have a parent who apparently posted bright orange flyers all over calling people assholes (not verbatim—it was implied) for giving out treats that contain gluten, nuts, and dairy because his kid has a nut allergy. Then we had a shock jock respond to this…well, like a shock jock would. No real shock there. And then today I read a very angry blog by a woman about how she can’t be expected to treat all these kids special and as a parent it is YOUR (her caps, not mine) responsibility to raise your kids because you are raising ADULTS (see previous parens).

Okay, call me crazy but I’m just going to toss this out there. Given Halloween is a holiday that is very much for children—

*You put up flyers—if you must—asking people to consider having allergen friendly candy or non-food items for kids with allergies. That it would be appreciated to help Halloween be truly all-inclusive.
*If you see these flyers instead of flapping your obnoxious yap on the radio, or in the other case, writing a very angry, ranty blog about all these special kids and how parents are raising adults…you just…NOT PARTICIPATE.

Seems pretty straightforward.

As an allergy sufferer myself, I have chosen, of my own accord, to have allergy friendly treats and non-food item treats at my door. And no, I don’t have a teal pumpkin on my porch (this was a major issue with this blogger—all the colored pumpkins and what they signify. She took great offense.)

Why am I doing it? Because I know how thrilled I am to walk into a restaurant and see Ask us about our gluten free menu. I have to do the I-have-gluten-peanut-issues cha-cha every time I sit down in a restaurant or go to a party. And by God, it is a pain in the ass. Especially with the uneducated wait staff/restaurants. So to walk in and see that makes me feel normal NOT special. There is a difference between the two. Seeing that sign in a restaurant makes me feel at ease. It makes me relax and enjoy my meal and feel more a part of the meal with my family. It makes me the girl who doesn’t have to go through her ‘spiel’ and decipher what she can eat.

So if having alternative treats for kids on Halloween who might have similar issues makes them feel more normal and more included, hell, I’m all for it.

As far as the whole “You are raising adults” thing, let me say this:

As an adult, if you have allergies and you walk into a party or a restaurant or a lunch meeting at work, you are expected to say, “I have issues with fill in the blank, do you know what’s in this? Can I see the list of ingredients?” (or similar) Speaking up and asking questions to protect yourself is being an adult. So by educating our kids on how to speak up and keep themselves safe, we are very much raising adults, thank you very much.

So instead of all the poo slinging back and forth about parents insisting on raising special kids or how it’s not your job to protect children—how about we remember that it’s children we’re talking about. Who all want to be included and all want to feel “normal” (whatever the hell that is) on Halloween. How about everyone take a breath and remember that this is supposed to be a fun holiday, and being kind to kids who already have shit to deal with is a good thing. As simple as maybe making one or two choices as far as candy/treats so there’s something for everyone.

No, it’s not your job but it would make you a damn fine human being. And that’s not necessarily a bad thing.

Oh, and one more point while I’m here. This one bloggers big argument was that her kid was diabetic and she took her trick or treating and there were no colored pumpkins to indicate who had sugar free candy, blah, blah, blah. Well, I’d like to thank her for making this point. Because next year in addition to ‘normal candy’, candy I know to be gluten and nut free (it’s normal fucking candy, it just doesn’t have those ingredients!), snack bars that are free of 8 major allergens, and Halloween bookmarks—I’ll make sure to have some sugar free candy on hand.

If my little sign that reads WE HAVE ALLERGY FRIENDLY TREATS. PLEASE TELL US IF YOU HAVE AN ALLERGY makes me some modern day, special-kid-raising, bleeding heart…So be it. Because if a kid does knock on my door who tells me they have an allergy and I can give them a treat that makes them feel “normal” and included, I’m going to feel pretty damn good. Even without a teal colored pumpkin.

Happy Halloween,
Dr. Johnny Fever