Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Christmas decorations

There are hundreds (maybe thousands) of opinions on when it is the best time to decorate for Christmas. In my opinion, thirty days ago was too soon and twenty days from now is too late. I subscribed to the whole "day after Thanksgiving" notion. I mean, if I am going to shop for Christmas the day after Thanksgiving, why not decorate for it too? This year, however, I was so tired from my midnight shopping brigade at the outlet mall, I just couldn't get it done on time as planned. I am running a little bit behind but I have managed to do some light decorating tonight as I watched the evening news.

"Light decorating" means one small tree in my living room, one small tree in the family room, a wreath above the fireplace and a Santa hat on my front door. I have not put up the lighted garland around the banister leading down to the family room and I haven't "decked out the cats". So I am doing pretty well methinks.......

So what is too early and what is too late? Obviously, Christmas trees that are still twinkling on Valentine's Day is waaaaaay too late and may indicate that someone needs a good therapy session. YIKES! Lyn calls me "Mother Christmas" because of my endless humming of Christmas carols and the need to throw up the decorations while munching on a leftover turkey sandwich. And, I have been known to listen to Christmas carols before Thanksgiving Day. Sad but true.

So let me see a show of hands! Have you started to decorate already or are you waiting until next month?


Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Waste Time? Me? Never.

Between time off for the knee surgery and a few days of vacation coinciding with turkey day, I've pretty much spent most of my November wasting time and perfecting my addiction to TLC's daytime reality television lineup.

Let's review what I've been viewing on an almost daily basis:
  • What Not to Wear (I have a crush on Stacy)
  • 10 Years Younger
  • Baby Story (the gay couple made me cry)
  • Bringing Home Baby (CNN's Dr. Sanjay Gupta was a good episode)
  • Flip That House (Some of these people need a reality check!)
  • John & Kate + 8
  • Take Home Chef

I'm not proud, and more than a little curious what my former therapist would read into these viewing habits. As a reminder:

  • I'm a lesbian
  • I don't have or plan to have children
  • I like clothes... but seriously. See first bullet and add the words 'in the midwest'
  • I don't have the money to buy/flip any houses
  • I'd probably run if some cute dude with an accent walked up to me in the grocery holding an artichoke

Saddest of all -- I have to go back to work tomorrow and have no more time off scheduled until post X-mas. And I don't have Tivo. Or DVR. (Nor, Santa, do I want either!!!)

Gotta run. The next episode of A Baby Story is starting...

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Thanks. Really.

I don't pretend to corner the blogosphere in saying thanks this week. In fact, I've come to terms with the fact that Thanksgiving in the 2000s is more about the shopping yet to come than celebrating a successful harvest.

The only harvesting my family will do is at the local Kroger or Wal-Mart.

Since I'm still recovering from the holiday meal X-Mas 1981, which involved live chickens being 'fattened' in my parent's garage while I partied my way through my freshman year away at college... that's probably a good thing. No one told me a thing until I found the feathers.

Since the slaughtered-frozen-elsewhere-prior-to-appearing-on-my-table turkey is not done yet, I thought I'd toss out a few things I'm thankful exist in and out of my daily life. Trite? Maybe. But it also seems like the right thing to do since there's not a local tribe to which to extend my hand in friendship.
  • Family. We'll eat three hours later than the appointed time, 'cause that's just what we do. The men and small fry will serve themselves first 'cause that's just what we do. My dad will say grace, cause that's just what he does. We'll draw names for the X-mas gathering one month from now. Someone will feel guilty and clean up the kitchen (another reason she-whose-name-shall-not-be-mentioned-here was once useful). And we'll go home.
  • 'Other' family. Friends and the more significant of one sort or the other (you know where you fit, or should). While we may not spend the holiday together... it's still nice to know you're there. Checking in and/or waiting on me hand and foot during things like knee surgery.
  • That it's LESS THAN ONE year to the presidential election.
  • That I don't live in Saudi Arabia, where a 19-year-old woman is to be publicly whipped as punishment for being gang-raped. Yep. That's right. Blame the victim and then some.
  • That I do live in a state that just elected a democrat as governor... okay, so that's just one. I'm hopeful. And I can always move back to Ohio if my vote looks like it's needed there next year.
  • That this morning, I was able to connect a vendor I've been working with on a project with help for a family situation -- how cool did that make me, the non-social worker feel on my day off?
  • That Women Out Front is trying hard to make being a lesbian in Cincinnati just a little easier with more/bigger/better events and opportunities to connect. There's even talk of a new book group that I'm kind of looking forward to helping get off the ground.
  • That a conversation with some folks at work yesterday actually included more than one person (me) referencing inclusion strategies for GLBT folks.
  • That Friday at 4 a.m. I'll be snug in bed while Rita and Robin are STILL sitting on the highway, waiting to get into the outlet mall. Tailgate snailgate.

It's not much. But it's a life. Happy Turkey!

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Post-Thanksgiving shopping madness

I am not a shopaholic. The site of a mall as I am driving down the road does not induce shaking, quivering, drooling or uncontrollable body spasms. I am what I like to call a "strategic shopper". Shopping to me is like a reconnaissance mission. I know exactly what I need to buy and what store has that item. Sometimes I even have a list. I go in.....survey the area......find what I need....and head for the cashier. If I don't see what I need, I proceed to the exit. It is that simple. It is also the direct opposite of Lyn's shopping habits but that is another blog entry entirely.

Let me digress.......we all know what is going to happen this Friday. Post-turkey day shopping madness! People getting up at 3am to cook breakfast so they can be off to Walmart, Kohl's or Macy's by 4am. Phew! It can be exhausting just thinking about it.

So how will the "strategic shopper" handle this day? Easy........I am not going to get up at 3am on Friday morning. I am going to stay up and start shopping at Midnight when the local outlet mall opens its doors! Ohhhh yessss......check your local outlet malls people! There are many that will be open at Midnight for all of the reeeeeally early morning frivolity. By the time I get my shopping done at 3 or 4am.......the shopaholics will be out at the local mall just getting started with their long day of window shopping.

It is quite a unique trip at Midnight the night of Thanksgiving. Last year the outlet mall was simply manic. There had to be at least 1000 people there at 1:30 am. Even the food court was open! Of course, Lyn and I made the trip and we found out first hand how manic it was well before we landed at the actual mall. You see......approximately 2 miles out from the actual highway exit for the outlet.........traffic was at a complete standstill. We moved about 1 yard every 10 minutes. So from 11:30 to 1:30 we sat on the highway. Yeah. Thank God for Sirius satellite radio because up there in farm do not get a radio signal. So at least we had some entertainment.

This year I will be heading up there once again. This time - because of logistics or maybe because she fears the highway wait - Lyn will not be going with me on this little adventure. This time I am dragging my friend Robin with me. I have decided that getting up there early is the best option and I am going to bring provisions with us. Kinda like a tailgate party. My feeling is that you cannot be prepared enough for this type of shopping experience.

So what type of shopper are you? 1) Strategic shopper 2) Window shopper or 3) No shopping.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Go Bucks!!

Ok.....for all of those women who do not care to discuss football in any form.....this is not the blog to read this morning.

Ohio State beats Michigan!! This is the sound that rang out across the land yesterday afternoon as the Buckeyes claimed the Big Ten title yesterday in Ann Arbor. This is the fourth straight win over Michigan. The Wolverines looked like the same team that was beaten by Appalachian State earlier in the season. With that in mind, it's no doubt that we are now expecting Lloyd Carr to announce his retirement today. You cannot be expected to continue on as Michigan's head coach after taking repeated beatings from The Ohio State Buckeyes. He has lost the last 6 of 7 meetings.

Once again I joined in on the fun and frivolity with my OSU alumnae friends. Calling them fans is an understatement. I don't think there is a fan-base stronger than what they have coming out of Columbus. We are talking grandiose, huge proportions here. I too have my Buckeye wardrobe especially for a game like yesterday. Thanks to my friend Emily......I am completely "accessorized" with buckeye necklaces and buckeye earrings. Real buckeyes on those accessories folks. Yep.....the real thing!

It was a fun afternoon all in all and the topper was the smacking down of the Wolverines in their own house. Yeah....really sweet. This was Lyn's first exposure to the whole Buckeye gameday phenomena with my friends so she was caught up in it pretty quickly. She too received her very own buckeye necklace which she wore proudly for the duration of the game. She was a bit concerned when we went out and played a light round of touch football at half time. She didn't participate of course since she is still recuperating from her knee surgery. She stood by to ensure that she wouldn't need to drive me to the hospital after some freakish football accident. No worries was a very light toss-around game and all in good fun for a brief 15 minutes. A great day for football and a great win for the Ohio State Buckeyes.

So Michigan.........who's your daddy?


Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Happy Sandwiches. Not So Much.

I get it. But it's really annoying me.

Have a happy sandwich. Sell the cheesy experience of the comforting classic sandwhich, not the cheese itself.

Cute smiling graphic. Quick animated spots designed to make me buy more cheese. And make more happy sandwiches.

Apparently cheese consumers are no longer all about the convenience of a clever individual wrapping on each slice.

And I'm much more likely to equate happiness with a nice wedge of triple creme brie...

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Price Hill on Percocet

Pain management. What a concept. After two nights of no sleep, my post op doc visit yesterday yielded a new pain relief tool -- percocet.

Wow. The doc wasn't kidding when he said he'd give me something stronger. I slept like a baby. And dreamed in technicolor and then some. Vivid, weird, almost epic-length dreams. (Clearly I missed something in all those years of just saying no!)

One dream I think might actually be worth sharing with city leaders, for I now have a 'vision' for just how to bring one of Cincinnati's most historic, and currently most troubled, on-the-edge neighborhoods back. Well, at least bring it back aesthetically. I'll leave the social problems to the bevy of fine organizations (my own employer included) already at work in the neighborhoods.

As I told nurse this morning...

"I was lost in Price Hill, and J came to find me because I was late for dinner at her house. You know, she used to live there. We were climbing up and down all those hills . And my knee didn't hurt. And it was a really cool, safe place."

"That's nice. Do you want some coffee? I made coffee. Didn't you hear the grinder?"

"No, I was in Price Hill. The row houses were like really spruced up... they had terraces. And people were sitting outside, drinking wine. And then there was a sushi place."

"Why would you go to Price Hill for sushi? Did they have espresso bars too? Y'know, Price Hill could use an espresso bar; right next to Price Hill Chili. It's 9 o'clock. Did you take more medicine? What time did you take the medicine?"

"And the sidewalks... they were really smooth. Like marble. It was really amazing. Everything was gentrified. There were no cash advance stores. No 'we buy ugly houses' signs on the street poles. I wish I could draw. Then you could see what I mean. It looked so cool..."

"How many did you take? And everyone had a little white dog, right? Really...let's get you some coffee."


I can hardly believe that we are rolling around to the holiday season again. I thoroughly embrace the holiday season of Thanksgiving and Christmas. You see for biggest cooking day of the year is Thanksgiving Day. My mother freely surrendered this day to me about 6 years ago. I didn't think it would happen quite honestly because my mother likes to cook and the holidays are her big days too. As maddening as that day will be (I always forget about the madness until the very day) I love the prep work....the selection of recipes, the grocery shopping and all of the chopping, mincing, peeling, grating and basting.

I have learned what works and what doesn't work. (The Cranberry Sauce with five-spice seasoning last year was not a hit.) I have learned to pull in some cherished family recipes with some new exciting side dishes. I have learned that if you want turkey sandwiches the next must get a bigger bird! Which....I do every year since my first go around at this! Probably the most important thing I have learned though is that when Mom says she wants to come early to help........have a project in mind for her to keep her busy and out of the way! Also, a nice big glass of wine before she arrives also tends to keep frustrations down to a minimum.

I am now going to do something on this blog that I have never done since I started blogging.........I am going to share a recipe. Not just any recipe mind you.....this is my family recipe for Sweet Potato (Yams) Casserole - passed down from my great aunt Ady. This is a family favorite and I have always received rave reviews from those folks that have tasted it or tried it at home.

Rita's Sweet Potato Casserole

3 or 4 Sweet Potatoes or Yams
Dark Brown Sugar
1 Granny Smith Apple (or any good tart apple)
1 stick of butter
Mini marshmallows or pecans (optional)

Peel sweet potatoes and boil the sweet potatoes until fork tender. You don't want them to be mushy. This isn't a mashed potato recipe. Set aside to cool slightly.
Slice the Granny Smith Apple in thin slices - crescent moon type of slices.
Slice the sweet potatoes about 1/3 of an inch thick slices and begin layering the slices in a casserole dish. After you have one layer of potatoes, add one layer of apples followed by a small handful of brown sugar and sprinkles of cinnamon. At the top of this layer, add two or three slices of butter. REPEAT the layers until you fill the dish. (I would suggest that you go every other layer with apples because they can add water to the recipe as they cook)

Once you have filled your casserole with the last bit of butter at the top - bake in a 350 degree uncovered for approximately 40 minutes.

*If you prefer, you can top the recipe off with mini marshmellows.
*I have also added chopped pecans to this recipe from time to time as well.


Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Post-Op Musings

  • I have a GREAT nurse. She's kept me fed (meatloaf and peas!), watered, properly elevated, iced and drugged, taken out the trash, provided excellent reading material, and seems to be dealing quite well with all the little quirks anesthesia brings out in me. And I'm sure she was THRILLED to go back to work today and rest.
  • About the little quirks. On Sunday I completely re-arranged all the furniture and decor items in my house. I decided if I had to sit and look at it for three days or so, it needed to change. Then I became OBSESSED with keeping it neat. That only grew post-op. I must have asked 14 times yesterday that the rug in front of the sofa be straightened. And that the candles on the mantle be moved just a smidge to the left. That the new artwork on the dining room wall -- visible from my sofa perch -- be straightened and if it wouldn't stay, tacked down with two-sided tape.
  • The most annoying quirk -- the five miles of Ace wrap attached to my leg. I've pinned it, pulled it, re-wrapped it, and right about now, am wondering what purpose it really serves.
  • The knee was apparently not a pretty site on the inside. I seem to have no cartilage, much arthritis. I'm eager to get the sentence directly from the doc on Friday. Then I'll be seeking a new gym -- one with a pool and pilates. URRRGh. What the hell can I do with an I-pod in a pool?

Thursday, November 01, 2007


I guess at some point in our lesbian lives we live in a closet. Some of us live completely inside with the door locked tight. Some of us leave it opened just a crack just to peek out a bit. And some of us leave the door partially open and move in and out of the closet........this is where I am.

I am not out at work and I am partially out to some of my family members. All of my friends who are worth anything to me know that I am gay. I don't feel the work thing is an issue because it is all about my performance there and not who I choose to go home to every evening. However, it gets a little trickier with my family. Several of them I have come out to but most of them I have not. Do they already know? There is not a doubt in my mind that some of them know and choose to accept me for me regardless if I say anything to them. Several of my aunts do not know and I have made it my business not to inform them mainly because of their religious values or in the case of one.........gossip issues. She's a regular "mouth of the south" she is........a real piece o' work.

Well lately,the "piece o' work" has been sniffing around to my Mom with comments like " I don't know....I think Rita is gay".....that type of thing. While some of you may she thinks you are already....then why don't you just tell her? My Mom had that reaction and I thank you. You see......this particular aunt..........can take information about people and spread it to the four corners of the earth WITH her own spin on it.........adding editorial comments to further degrade the situation. Plus the fact that she likes to act as the moral majority already at family gatherings and it just makes me think...........why would I invite more stress into my life? By opening up to her, I am opening myself up to more scrutiny later on a broader religious scale at a time of her choosing.

It is very easy to say....."Oh just tell everybody and get it out" and it will all be over with. It is so easy to think that way when it is not YOU. When it is not you who is going to sit down and say...."Hey everybody I'm gay!". They have no idea what all of this means because at the end of the day I am the one doing the fighting to defend my life.

My mother probably has the worst time dealing with it because she knows it IS my decision to tell the other family members........not hers. However, she doesn't like the fact that she has to play dumb when confronted with the subtle questions or suggestions about it. She is quick to say that she would assist in defending me because I am her child and she will battle for her cub. While this provides a bit of comfort.......she is getting older and I don't know whether she could withstand what my aunt is capable of shoveling out.

My "gayness" has the tendency to come around as a topic of discussion from time to time and this too shall pass methinks. However, if she asks me, I am not so sure that I would not tell her. It just opens my personal life up to such scrutiny that I cringe at the thought of her "needing" to know my business.

When does needing to know suddenly become the right to know?