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Tag Archives: happiness

Hippos eat hippo bread: Christmas recap, Nephew-style.

I am finally at rest, after a day of running around like a crazy and doing all the things. Dinner is in the oven and there will soon be delicious ham and vegetables and rolls and chocolate, all provided by Mom (thanks, Mom!) and then I will go into a food coma. I have been attempting not to nap for a while. I have to work tomorrow, and I’m pretty sure if I fall asleep and nap at 5pm, sleeping tonight is going to be nigh-on impossible.

I hope you all had lovely Christmases (or Wednesdays, if Christmas isn’t your thing; I’m perfectly ok with you having a wonderful Wednesday.) Today worked out very well here in Amy and Dumbcat-land; it was a very good Christmas. Very happy all around.

This morning I went to visit The Nephew – and yes, as predicted, not a single photo was taken. Too busy hanging with my best little guy. I always do that. He greeted me at the door with an epic case of four-year-old bedhead and wearing the happiest pair of Christmas pajamas you’ve ever seen, with Santa and the reindeer in rocketships. “AUNT AMY!” he said. “Hey, buddy, Merry Christmas! Did Santa visit you today?” “YES!” he said. “Do you want to see my presents?” “Yes, I do, but I have to take my boots off first, ok?” He sighed, a long-suffering sigh. “Oh-KAY,” he said, and waited none-too-patiently for me to take off my outer layers so I could look at all of his Christmas goodies.

He got LEGOS! And an ANT FARM! And a TRUCK! And a SPIDERMAN THAT CLIMBS THE WALL! (That one confused me; I had utterly no idea how that thing was staying on the wall, to be honest. It was loud like a vacuum. Maybe it was vacuuming itself to the wall? No clue. It was pretty neat, though)…

This is the Spiderman that sounds like a vacuum. He also does sweet donuts on the wall which make Nephews laugh and laugh.

This is the Spiderman that sounds like a vacuum. He also does sweet donuts on the wall which make Nephews laugh and laugh.

…and some games and books and cars and a game for his LeapPad where he got to be a pirate and “get DOUBLOONS, Aunt Amy!” He wanted to make things with his gigantic Lego set, but it was time for brunch and that was going to be a whole thing. So we lured him away from Legos with the promise of cinnamon rolls, which he called “monkey bread” and said was his favorite food of ALL TIME! and then we had a conversation called “what animals eat.” “Do you think monkeys eat monkey bread?” “Yes!” “What do you think rhinoceroses eat?” “RHINOCEROUS bread!” “What about hippos?” “Hippo bread!” “What about nephews?” “NEPHEW bread! But also monkey bread, because it’s my favorite!”

This is The Nephew's FAVORITE! (Also universally enjoyed by monkeys, apparently.)

This is The Nephew’s FAVORITE! (Also universally enjoyed by monkeys, apparently.)

Then we opened presents. I got him books, which he was ok with, but then he was like, “Aunt Amy, is there anything else for me, do you think?” and I said, “Yes, I think there might be” and then he opened his remote-control plane and he was MOST excited and ran around driving it here, there and everywhere and laughing when it ran into people and his mom said I won because that was the longest he’d played with ANY of his toys that day. I WIN! (I do so like to win Christmas.)

This was a pretty neat plane, if I do say so myself. You could control it with your body AND a button. Very high-tech and swanky!

This was a pretty neat plane, if I do say so myself. You could control it with your body AND a button. Very high-tech and swanky!

I also got lovely presents like the most beautiful jewelry! The Nephew’s mom is very good as shopping. She has excellent taste!

Then we played Superhero Chutes and Ladders. I got to be Iron Man. (I kept saying, “I AM IRON MAN” in my best Robert Downey Jr. voice, which made me totally happy.) He wanted to be Ice Man, who was really Silver Surfer but when The Nephew says “NO! IT IS ICE MAN!” you listen to him, yo. So we Chuted and we Laddered and when The Nephew realized he wasn’t going to win he was like “I think I don’t want to play anymore” and then cheered for his mom, but then I SNUCK IN FROM BEHIND AND WON! Much like Iron Man would, I think. And then The Nephew said, “I wanted you to win all along, Aunt Amy” which was a very politician-like thing to say. Well-played, The Nephew. Well-played.

Damn you, chutes! DAMN YOU!!!

Damn you, chutes! DAMN YOU!!!

Then it was time for me to go home, so The Nephew could go to his other grandparents’ house for ANOTHER Christmas (he gets lots of Christmases!) and so I could open MY presents. YAY FOR PRESENTS! The Nephew told me he loved me and Merry Christmas AND thank you and gave me a heroic little hug with his cuddly pajamas and poky-uppy sleepy hair and my Grinch heart grew three sizes that day.

Then it was home for me, and I totally put off opening presents for another hour while I emailed and generally futzed around on the internet because a., I wanted to tell my people Merry Christmas, and b., because the longer I could put off opening gifts, the longer Christmas would last. I’m no fool!

But then it was opening gifts time. And whoo, was there a lot of opening gifts all up in here! I got money and an ornament shaped like sparkly bacon and gloves that are specially formulated for using your smartphone while staying warm, and sparkly nailpolish, and honey to put in tea (because for some reason my grocery store is hiding it, and I really wanted that while I was sick and was SO SAD I couldn’t find it) and gift cards and warm socks and super-cuddly pajama pants and lots of soap and pampering-myself things because I am obsessed with them and these solar light things that look like little frogs that I can put on my porch, and a toy for Dumbcat that’s supposed to be a mouse that runs around in a circle but he’s just confused about it and walks away from it whenever I turn it on, and a cookbook of bacon-related recipes called Fifty Shades of Bacon (hee!) and salt and pepper shakers that look like kissing penguins and lip gloss that smells delicious and pins to put in my hair to make me look like a lady and delicious chocolatey treats and all the orange Tic Tacs because I am obsessed with them and MANY MORE THINGS that I probably should have documented but I’m not the best at such things. In summation: I got all the things for Christmas. No one else got any things, apprently, because I got them ALL! (Thanks, Mom and Dad and BFF and Nanny and The Nephew’s Mom!)

Crappy photo of gifts, post-opening. I'm not the best at documenting things.

Crappy photo of gifts, post-opening. I’m not the best at documenting things.

Then I made a delicious meal, thanks to my mother, who provided all the items FOR that meal, and now I am completely all’s-well-with-the-world and watching television and lazily thinking about going to bed so I can be prepared to go back to work tomorrow. Work’s going to be quiet this week. Most people took the rest of the week off. Which was probably smart, but I’m planning on saving as many of my vacation days as I can for next year…because BAM, I’m going to need 10 of them for late May/early June, yo. You need a couple of weeks if you’re flying off to Europe to visit some of your favorite folks, you see. IN LESS THAN FIVE MONTHS NOW! I mean. Not that I’m at all psychotically excited about it or anything. NO NO NOT ME.

So. It’s been a wonderful Christmas. It made up for last year’s terrible Christmas. MORE than made up for it. Also, were you aware that sometimes, the best gifts you get for Christmas aren’t even something you can wrap? I got a few gifts over the days leading up to Christmas that weren’t the kind you wrap, or the kind you put in a gift bag – and you know what? Those gifts won Christmas. They were the kind that you can’t put a price on, because they’re priceless. Actions and deeds and kind gestures. So as much as I like winning Christmas (and I do, I SO do) – don’t underestimate the weight of a simple action, or word, or deed, especially around the holidays. They sometimes mean just as much, or more, than a gift you spent months shopping for, and wrapped in the prettiest of paper tied with a bow.

Huh. Guess you were right about this one, Grinch, you nasty, wasty wump!

Huh. Guess you were right about this one, Grinch, you nasty, wasty wump!

Hope you all had the best of Christmases, or Wednesdays. One more week until 2014. Can you even imagine? Come on, new year, let’s do this thing!

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The most wonderful time of the year to not repeat the mistakes of last year

The weather’s getting colder (and, although I’ve been resisting it, I think it’s about time I turn on the heat in here. The cat’s been all up in my business over the past few days, and although it’s flattering, I think it’s less “LOVE YOU, MOM!” and more “ZOMG WOMAN! I AM CHILLY!”) Thanksgiving’s just a few weeks away, and you know what THAT means. Christmas is right around the corner.

Haven’t decided what I’m doing about Thanksgiving this year. I get two days off, but have to be here Friday night for a theater review (and Saturday for work.) But since I’m not able to go home for Christmas again this year (sincerely, Christmas on a Wednesday? HIGHLY unhelpful, especially since we don’t get the day before or after off) it might be nice to jet home quickly, see my family, get some delicious foodstuffs, and then come back in time to review the show Friday night. I don’t usually go home for Thanksgiving, and my family’s not expecting me, but it might be a nice surprise. (And it’d be really nice to have home cooking one night. Thanksgiving dinner is the best.)

Yes, please. Thank you.

Yes, please. Thank you.

But since it’s Christmas alone again this year, I’m not going to fall into the trap of last year. Last year’s Christmas was just about the worst Christmas ever. I had the flu; I was super-depressed on TOP of the flu; I didn’t get to go home so my parents came to visit and gave me gifts but I was so sick with the flu I barely remembered their visit and after they left I fell asleep for 6 hours in the middle of the day; and once I opened presents on Christmas day I went back to bed for the rest of the day, pretty much, and also cried a little and took a lot of Nyquil hoping it would make the fever go away (it didn’t.) I also couldn’t do presents or cards, because I’d been unemployed for months leading up to the holiday and didn’t have enough money to do Christmas right. Or at all, actually.

YOU WILL NOT GET ME THIS YEAR, CHRISTMAS DEPRESSION!

YOU WILL NOT GET ME THIS YEAR, CHRISTMAS DEPRESSION!

THIS year, I have PLANS. First, I totally got my flu shot. BAM, FLU! Unless some weird flu not covered by the flu shot shows up, I am COVERED. I will not spend four days alternately freezing and sweating and eating and then vomiting toast. MERRY CHRISTMAS HERE’S THE FLU, said 2012.

(Also, this is the first year I’ve gotten a flu shot that I haven’t immediately gotten sick afterward. So either that was a flu shot that didn’t work or I’ve become titanium and IMPERVIOUS TO ILLNESS. I’m going to go with the latter. That’d be nice, right? Because last winter I had the flu and then like three random colds one on top of the other and I think I spent more on Dayquil and Kleenex than I did on anything else. They should have let me write those off on my tax return.)

I also have all the plans for Christmas. Lists have already been made. Some gifts have already been purchased; as soon as I write this, more will be purchased. (Can I just say thank goodness for the interwebs? I hate shopping in stores. I love shopping from the comfort of my couch. THANK YOU, INTERWEBS!) My Christmas card list is made. Addresses all in a little row. I know what I’m getting for everyone; I know how much delight everyone will have upon opening their gifts. I know what I’m baking and I know what I’m crafting. I have a plan for my free time between now and December 25. Decorating and baking and shopping and watching of Christmas movies and wrapping and mailing and totally making up for being an absentee human last Christmas.

I’m also not suffering the bigtime sadness I was last year; this is a little bit situation-based and a little bit pharmaceutical-based (PRESCRIPTION pharmaceuticals, I’m not sitting here taking ‘shrooms and licking the walls or something), but however it came about, I’ll take it. That’s a total Merry Christmas to ME, right there.

And when Christmas day comes, and I have the day off, I can sit back and open presents and turn on the tree lights and wear comfy pajamas and it will not at all be the saddest Christmas ever. I can make my own happiness, and I can share that with the people I love, which (surprise!) increases your own happiness beyond measure.

But until then: lots to do. Only 42 days left! Plotting and planning and scheming take time, my little candy canes! Time to go buy some presents! *whoosh*


Birthday shenanigans and thoughts and…poison?

WHOO-HOO BIRTHDAY!

So I’m officially (of course) writing this BEFORE my birthday but we’re just going to pretend it’s actually my birthday right now because by the time you read this, I will have been a whole new age for almost 10 hours. Yes, my lucky mom had me right in the wee hours of the morning (and two weeks early) because I was in a HURRY to be born, dammit. THERE ARE ADVENTURES TO BE HAD, MOM! said wee, slightly-premature and totally-jaundiced Amy.

So far, and it’s not even my birthday yet, there have been happy surprises. I got presents from my mom and a couple of my aunts when my parents were here this weekend, and when I came home today I had cards waiting for me (THANK YOU R. and BFF!) and then…there was THIS!

Well! THIS is mysterious. You know what they say about taking candy from strangers. DON’T DO IT, is what they say.

Luckily, this was NOT from a stranger! It was from my most favorite Andreas!!! (The hint is the Åland Post at the top of the photo. Those are Andreas’ islands.)

So let’s see what surprises from the land of Finns arrived just in time for my very special day!

DELICIOUS CHOCOLATE! Milk chocolate and milk chocolate with cashews! (Cashews are my favorites. YUM.)

This is a very fancy box of chocolates that I neglected to take a photo of the inside of, but they’re like the prettiest kind that you don’t want to eat because they’re so pretty. But trust me. I’m going to eat them. Because, CHOCOLATES, yo. (Andreas knows my affection for all things chocolate.)

A MOST BEAUTIFUL NECKLACE! My guess is that Andreas’ super-talented fiancée made it, but he’s asleep right now so I can’t confirm this assumption. It is silver and purple and matches so many things I own and is so, so me. I can’t even describe. I am crazy in love with it. I opened it and my eyes went HUGE and I went “ooooh!” I can’t wait to wear it!

And…finally…

SWEDISH POISON!

OK, so this only MIGHT be Swedish poison. Other things I decided it might be: perfume, or some sort of foodstuff. See, as you can see, the tag is in Swedish. So I was like, “WHAT COULD THIS BE?”

So of course I tasted it.

Then I was like, “OMG, this immediate tasting of a thing that you have NO IDEA WHAT IT IS is proof of your complete and total love and trust of Andreas, you know, because there are very few people that you would just taste a mystery substance without thinking it could kill you. Or make you grow larger or smaller, like Alice.” Then I giggled.

(It tasted like lemons and sugar and…mapley? And it was very sticky. NOT A EUPHEMISM.)

So then I researched it and “granskott sirap” is some sort of spruce-needle syrup. And the site I checked (and translated with Google Translate, which makes me laugh like a moron because it makes so many mistakes) said it’s helpful as both a cough syrup AND an ice-cream topping, and I seriously laughed SO HARD and emailed Andreas all, “It cannot be both. They are so disparate. OR CAN IT?”

Also, how cool is that bottle? It looks like it’s from an old-timey apothecary, and it’s SO not allowed to be mailed. Whenever you go to the post office they’re all “ANYTHING LIQUID, PERISHABLE OR GLASS?” as if they’re about to take you away in chains if you say yes. BREAKIN’ THE LAW FOR MY BIRTHDAY! THAT’S MY ANDREAS!

Thank you so much, Andreas. I love it all so much, and you are the best of the best.

Also, I totally saved this from LAST year so we could talk about it THIS year. Am I a planner, or what?

LAST YEAR’S BIRTHDAY HOROSCOPE! Let’s see how well it did!

I am a Libra. We like balance and lie a lot. Also, we're PRETTY. *blush*

I am a Libra. We like balance and lie a lot. Also, we’re PRETTY. *blush*

…you are at some sort of a turning point in your life, in terms of personal growth. Events that occur this year act as catalysts that get you in touch with some important issues in your emotional life. Your emotions run high, and mood swings or identity crises are possible. There may be some kind of conflict in your life arising from a great urge to do something different. The year ahead promises to be a busy, dynamic, and significant period in your life.

Yeah, actually, that’s not bad. This year saw a lot of shit go down, and mood swings is kind of an understatement. Also, not only was there an URGE to do something different, I DID something different. So, right on, last year’s horoscope.

You are able to see your life in terms of the big picture this year, and thus you more easily manage stress and your enthusiasm is natural. Others tend to be helpful and supportive.

Maybe over the last few months of the year; not so much the first part. Meh on this one, birthday forecast. (Although others were QUITE helpful and supportive; I have amazing friends.)

Your social life will likely increase and bring you in contact with more influential, powerful, or simply happy and helpful people. Educational, publishing, freelance, and promotional efforts can thrive this year.

Ooh, this is nice. I totally met INFLUENTIAL and POWERFUL people. (Also happy and helpful people.) And I’m working in both publishing and doing some freelance writing this year, and wasn’t doing either at this point last year. BOO-YAH, HOROSCOPE!

There was a huge paragraph about love crap in here. I’m cutting that shit out. No time for love, Dr. Jones.

So, not bad, horoscope, not bad. Keep it up for the year ahead. Predict me a funny guy who knows how to wield a semicolon, more time to write, and all kinds of travelly adventures for the upcoming year, please.

So, this past year: it’s been up and down; unemployment and new employment (times three) and doing things that I love; it’s been heartbreak and depression and joy beyond imagining; it’s been meeting people I never thought I would, in person, and giving them furious hugs, and seeing long-lost friends and relatives again, and giving them equally furious hugs. It’s been both a year of the best things and a year of the worst things, all rolled up into one. I don’t know how to judge such a year. I suppose the best I can say is I am thankful for the good things, more so than I can say, and the bad things…well, if nothing else, they taught me their various lessons, and moved on, hopefully leaving me wiser, and none the worse for wear.

I’ve written a lot; I’ve read a lot; I’ve laughed a lot; I’ve cried a lot. Most of all, I learned a lot. And I loved people in my crazy way I have. And I tried to leave things better than I found them. I am hoping I was successful in that, if nothing else.

This is my last year of my thirties; I plan to live it to the fullest. Adventures and travel and laughing and loving and living and living and living. And then living a little more.

Thanks for coming along for the ride, people of the interwebs. Knowing you’re all out there makes for a very happy birthday indeed.


The person behind the words

I know, I’ve been inexplicably missing. WHAT HAVE I BEEN DOING WHERE HAVE I BEEN AM I OK?

Yep, I’m ok. Busy few days, yo.

There was the wedding of panic-attacks (I did end up leaving right after the ceremony; thank you all for your kind comments. The ceremony was beautiful. Utterly gorgeous. I’m so glad I made myself go to that part, at least. I was sobbing throughout – but it was only maybe 50% panic-attack crying. The other 50% was seeing two people I love so, so much marrying one another; making that leap into the forever with each other. I’ve known the bride for almost a decade now, the groom for three years, and I don’t know if I know two people who are more well-matched. The universe got it right when it put the two of them in the same place at the same time that day three years ago so they could meet. Sincerely.)

Then there was work on Saturday, which wasn’t INSANE, just BUSY (usually it’s so bad I want to collapse and weep after, so that was ok.) I then ran home and made ALL THE COOKIES.

Why, do you think, did I make all the cookies? I mean, it’s not like a single person could eat all these cookies alone, could they? So what, exactly, could have been my impetus for ALL THIS BAKING?

(Yes, they were as good as they looked, thank you very much. I’m an EXCELLENT baker. I kind of half-ass everything else, but I take my baking VERY seriously. Ghirardelli chocolate chips and EVERYTHING, you guys. I’m not screwing around with my cookies. That’s not a euphemism.)

Well! I made all these cookies for a VERY GOOD REASON:

SUNDAY WAS LAURA DAY!

Laura is one of my fellow Booksluts. We’ve known each other for a while, and I knew she lived in New York, but it was kind of just a thing I KNEW, not something I was all ABOUT. (I’m easily distracted, leave me alone.) Well, Laura is moving away soon, and we started talking about it, and I realized…well, shit. Laura lives two hours from me. When she moves, she’ll be STATES away from me. It’d be FOOLISH not to take a drive on a lovely summer day for a couple of hours to meet someone I very much wanted to meet and talk to face-to-face, right?

Let me talk to you a little about Laura. Laura is a brilliant writer. Not just her reviews, but her creative writing. Listen, you guys – she’s about to blow UP. Give it a year or two? You’re going to be like “Oh, Laura? From the Booksluts? The one who has an award-winning short-fiction collection out? Yeah, I knew her when.” I know that sounds really over-the-top (and I’m a total exaggerator) but in this case, I’m not exaggerating in the least. The woman can WRITE. She has these words and phrases in her that are so bright and so crisp and so fresh – I can’t even tell you. Here, read one for yourself. You’ll see. She has a head full of poetry and words and light and shadow and explosions of wonder.

She’s also funny as hell, quick-witted, kind, and so intelligent that it just makes you so, so happy to talk to her. She’s a total find.

So into the car with the cookies and some beverages for the drive! Off I went to the wild, wild west of New York (where I had never been, actually! Well, I’d been in the area, but not on my own, and not for years, and not from this direction, so it was all new!)

It was a very pretty drive. Very green. There was a river to watch for a lot of it with these weird bridgey things in it that I asked Dad about and he was like, “Those are parts of the old canal system, I think. Cool, right?” and he was so jazzed I’d noticed them. There were funny signs to notice like the signs for things at the rest stops, like the one that touted “FRESH FUDGE!” (as opposed to old, decrepit fudge? Who pulls off the highway for fudge? Good grief, fudge is like the easiest thing to make ever) and another one that said “HISTORY HAPPENED HERE!” (here…at the rest stop? What history could have happened at the rest stop, someone famous peed on the seat? I told Dad that, and he said, “History happened in the AREA, Amy. Not at the REST STOP. You’d be so wacky to go on a trip with. You’re way too literal.”)

(It was PROBABLY something like this, but my imagination likes to go in other directions.)

(It was PROBABLY something like this, but my imagination likes to go in other directions.)

I pulled off at a rest stop and nervous-peed (I wonder if, when I’m famous, I’ll get a “HISTORY HAPPENED HERE” sign?) and then I was in Laura’s area! Which is kind of gritty and cool and working-class and I totally want to go back and have an adventure there. (And there’s a ZOO there. You KNOW how I feel about zoos!) And then I was into Laura’s little town! AND THEN I WAS AT LAURA’S HOUSE!

Laura was sitting outside and she was ADORABLE! She was so excited to see me even though I almost butted right into someone’s car when I was parking because I’m awkward, yo. And (this is totally strange) usually, I’m petrified of meeting new people? Even knew people I adore? Like, I almost ran away before meeting Andreas, and we’d been emailing a billion times daily for MONTHS? But I was not the most nervous to meet Laura. I don’t know if it was because I’d used up all my panic from the wedding earlier in the week, or I’m calming down as a human (yeah, right) but I was only a LITTLE nervous. Which was nice. That seemed normal. Who’s not a little nervous when meeting a new person whose writing you admire so, so much and who seems so awesome?

Laura is this…she’s this force of nature. I don’t even know how else to describe her. She’s got this awesome retro look to her, all bobbed hair and red lipstick…but also this rockabilly look that doesn’t even dip a toe into hipster douchebaggery. It’s all Laura. It’s totally original and amazing and she’s so confident in her skin. I was just in utter awe of her. She shines like the sun, you guys. I can’t imagine people NOT wanting to be around her. I would think she would pull people to her like she was the center of the universe and they were all just orbiting her in amazement. You know how people say someone’s an original, and people are all “Yeah, yeah. WHATEVS?” Nope. Laura IS. She’s got this mind that just comes UP with things. And they are FILLED WITH AWESOME. Awesome that shoots off RAINBOW BEAMS. I can’t even describe.

And all of that…it sounds kind of scary, like “ZOMG I WOULD BE DAUNTED BY THIS PERSON!” but NO. Like, the OPPOSITE. She makes you feel immediately welcomed and loved and important and comfortable. The comfort level is IMMEDIATE.

In a sentence – Laura: I liked her very much.

Laura and I met up at about 11. We spent the day talking. We did eat at one point (in-between talking – she is an AMAZING cook, and the cookies were a hit!) but mostly? We talked. We talked until we got gravelly-voiced with it and then we talked more. We talked about books and writing and people we both know and people we didn’t know; we talked about both problems and things we were rejoicing in; we talked about huge things, and we talked about tiny things. We talked, which led to more talking, and that would lead to another thread of talking, and we’d be off on ANOTHER thread of talking. We’d talk until we were like “OMG I HAVE GOT TO PEE” and then run off to alternate bathrooms and pee and then meet back up for MORE talking.

I was planning on leaving around 3. Then 3 came and went, so I planned on 4. Then 4 came and went. At 4:45, I was like “ZOMG I HAVE TO GO!” because poor Laura had a party to throw AT HER HOUSE and I was taking up ALL HER TIME. But the talking. SO MUCH TALKING. Like, important talking. The kind where you have your heavy load, and the other person also has theirs? And you say, “Hey, I’ll help you carry yours, if you help me with mine, you cool with that?” and when you each shoulder the other person’s load, it’s like that load, it’s so, so light now. It’s like it’s almost not there anymore. That kind of talking…that kind of person…how often does that happen?

(Totally stole this from Laura. We didn't take enough photos. SO MUCH TALKING!)

(Totally stole this from Laura. We didn’t take enough photos. SO MUCH TALKING!)

(Also, Laura lives in an awesome old house that has the best energy ever, and people were in and out and there was so much love in that house and it was so safe and so warm. It was home. That was a home. I was just beaming the whole time. Oh, AND? I wore a skirt. ON PURPOSE. And you know what? I LIKED IT. I think more skirts and/or dresses will be worn by me in the future of my life.)

Leaving was very sad. Because – well, listen. A lot of you are internet people. How often do you click with other internet people? Or with ANY new people? As you get older, it’s harder to get that click. When we’re young, we make friends left and right…but when we grow up, we get shut off. Our hearts die, you know? The Breakfast Club got that part right. We don’t trust as readily. We see people as competition, not potential allies, or even friends.

Laura was a click. Laura was a TOTAL click. A big old click, and it was so sad to leave.

However, I will see her soon; she’s coming to see ME, for a whole WEEKEND, and we’re having a huge Albany adventure. Shopping and theater and all the food and I’m going to tour her around Albany until she either falls in love with it, or is all, “Amy. YOU ARE OBNOXIOUS. STOP.”

I then drove home and marvelled at the pretty drive again and then I was here and Laura wrote this very nice post about me HERE, which made me a little weepy, and Andreas’ comment made me even MORE weepy, and how do I know the best people ever? How is this even a thing? I don’t deserve this at all.

(At one point in our day of fantasticness, Laura was all serious-faced “Listen, and ABSORB this: YOU ARE KIND OF A BIG DEAL.” And that made me be all “Nah.” Then I was all “blush.” Then I was all “Nah” again. Because who can’t take a compliment? That’d be me. But my dearest Laura: I promise, even if it hasn’t sunk in yet, it is in my head. It is not forgotten.)

Also stolen from Laura. These are all the photos we took. Are we not lovely? I ADORE these photos.

Also stolen from Laura. These are all the photos we took. Are we not lovely? I ADORE these photos.

Counting the days til I see you again, Laura. You are magic and wonder and joy and fantasticness and light, and I am so, so happy I know the person behind the beautiful words now. Because the person behind the words? Is more beautiful than the words are. And those words are pretty damn beautiful, so how beautiful does that make that person? Thank you for an amazing day. Thank you so, so much.


Homophobes and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day

(I realize you were all expecting Part Two of yesterday’s post today. Sometimes, as the man said, life is what happens to you when you’re busy making other plans. And life happened yesterday and demanded I blog about it. Expect Part Two of the stats post…Friday. Maybe. Or Saturday. I don’t know. I have to go to Massachusetts tonight to watch a musical based on a Marx Brothers movie. Don’t ask.)

Yesterday, the Supreme Court met to vote on the constitutionality of two things: Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act (known as DOMA) and Prop 8. If you’re on the internet at all ever, I’m sure you’ve seen people having changed their profile pictures on Twitter and Facebook to this:

“ARGH HOW WILL I KNOW WHO ANYONE IS?” you might have thought, if you had no idea what was going on. “WHY ARE ALL MY FRIENDS RED BOXES WITH PINK LINES?”

To show their support for marriage equality and the unconstitutionality of DOMA. Also, seriously, try being a theater person. I haven’t known who was posting what on Facebook for MONTHS. Everyone was a red box with pink lines. I’d be all, “Did Patrick post that or was it Dan? SOMEONE STRIKE EFFING DOMA DOWN ALREADY I MISS EVERYONE’S FACES!”

In case you’ve been hiding your head in the sand all ostrich-style for a while, here’s a quick DOMA/Prop 8 primer.

DOMA:

  • Allows states to refuse to recognize same-sex marriages performed in other states
  • Bars same-sex couples from receiving federal marriage benefits

Prop 8:

  • States that “only marriage between a man and a woman is valid or recognized in California” (which overturned the California Supreme Court’s ruling that same-sex couples had the right to marry.)

To break these into terms you might understand if you are a homophobe:

DOMA, were it against everyone, and not just segregating the same-sex couples in a totally unconstitutional way, not to tip my hand about how I feel about it or anything (coughdirtyliberalcough) would say if you married your husband/wife in New York, you wouldn’t be recognized as a married couple in Mississippi. It would also state that if you married someone from England, he/she would have to return to England once their visa expired, and if you were dying, your husband/wife couldn’t make any decisions about your care, and if you were killed in a terrifying tractor accident, your husband/wife wouldn’t get your Social Security benefits.

Prop 8, were IT against everyone, just says you can’t get married in California.

Aren’t we lucky these aren’t against everyone, and just against those pesky gays.

Anyway, enter Edith Windsor.

Edith Windsor married the love of her life – a woman she’d been in a forty-year relationship with, Thea Spyer, in Canada in 2007. They lived in New York. New York (holla!) recognized their marriage as valid. When Thea died, and left her estate to Windsor, the estate tax was $363,053. Now, were they an opposite-sex couple, the estate tax would have been waived. But they weren’t. They were a same-sex couple. And, well, DOMA.

Windsor paid the tax. And promptly turned around and sued the Federal government for a refund.

Listen. The love of her life – FORTY FUCKING YEARS – had just died. And now the Federal government was telling her that their marriage didn’t count. Did she roll over and pay the money and weep about how unfair it all was?

Fuck that. FUCK THAT. She sued the FEDERAL GOVERNMENT.

And you guys?

Yesterday she won.

And they say there aren’t any more heroes.

The Supreme Court of the United States said that Section 3 of DOMA – the second bullet point up there – was unconstitutional. And from what I’m reading, it’s apparently only a matter of time before Section 2 (the first bullet point) goes bye-bye, too. (Oddly, Section One is just “This is called DOMA.” I’m not even kidding. We’ll let ’em have that section, if they want it.)

What does this mean?

Well, if you’re a same-sex couple married in one of the thirteen states that currently allow same-sex marriage (WHAT? THIRTEEN? BUT WHEN I WOKE UP YESTERDAY THERE WERE TWELVE! Yeah, wait a minute, slappy) you get the same benefits as a opposite-sex couple. You can pay taxes together, you can make healthcare decisions, you can have insurance together, you can stay in the country if you are an expatriate or an immigrant who married someone who lives here…same rules apply.

WHAT DOES THIS MEAN FOR THE OPPOSITE-SEX COUPLES OMG FIRE! OMG BRIMSTONE!

It means nothing changes. It means life goes on. It means you wake up tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow and you get to instill the same homophobic bullshit into your kids’ malleable little brains as you always have.

No one’s making you marry someone of the same sex as you.

Let me put it simply, in case I’m being too verbiose:

FOR YOU, LIFE GOES ON AS IT ALWAYS HAS, YOU SMALL-MINDED PIECE OF HOMOPHOBIC SHIT.

Now, let’s talk about Prop 8. See, Prop 8’s a pain in the ass because for a brief period of time, same-sex couples were allowed to marry in California, until people got all “WHAT OMG NO!” and Prop 8ed them and then they couldn’t get married anymore.

Right after voting Section 3 of DOMA unconstitutional, the Supreme Court of Merka voted Prop 8 unconstitutional as well.

Yesterday was the worst day ever to be a homophobe, you guys. If they weren’t such small-minded crapmonsters I’d almost feel sorry for them.

Californians of the same sex can feel free to marry again as soon as various little legalities are ironed out.

That means we’re up to 13 states that allow same-sex marriage here in America. Well, 13 and Washington D.C., so 13.0005 or whatever we call D.C., I suppose.

You are all aware that’s both awesome and terrible, right? Because that’s 26% of Merka. 26% more than we had when we started, but ONLY 26%.

Now, listen. I know what you homophobes are thinking. You got home yesterday. You kicked at your pets and you poured yourself some sort of stiff double beverage and you started saying the following to whoever would listen:

  • “The Bible says this is AGAINST GOD’S WILL!”
  • “Those damn gays! Who do they think they are? They don’t deserve any more rights than the rest of us!”
  • “Once gays marry, who’s next? Turtles?”
  • “Kids raised by the gays are more likely to become gay themselves!”
  • “The gay agenda is taking over Merka and I DO NOT LIKE IT!”

I am here to help, homophobes. Luckily, I grew up among you. I dated some of your ranks. I am related to some of you. I KNOW YOUR PEOPLE. I speak your LANGUAGE. I can HELP.

Let’s break this down, one by one.

“The Bible says this is AGAINST GOD’S WILL!”

Yes. The Bible says a lot of things. The Bible also says don’t eat lobster and don’t wear clothes that mix fabric types and to stone whores and, here’s the kicker, and I know this one’s going to shock you…treat others as you, yourself, would be treated.

That’s the one people tend to forget.

Would you want people screaming your marriage is against God’s will? Would you want people telling you you’re an abomination? Would you want people telling you your marriage is invalid?

Nope. Didn’t think so.

“Those damn gays! Who do they think they are? They don’t deserve any more rights than the rest of us!”

I totally agree with this one. Who DO they think they are? They DON’T deserve any more rights than the rest of us! Oh. Shit. Wait. That would mean…the right to marry whoever they loved…and get the same benefits as opposite-sex couples…and not get beaten up on the streets just for holding hands…and not get called names…and “faggot” wouldn’t be something you call a kid in school if he was feminine as the ultimate put-down…

Crap. Where would we STOP once we gave them the rights that the rest of us had? This IS a slippery slope.

“Once gays marry, who’s next? Turtles?”

I think we’ve talked about this a few times because Bill O’Reilly said on Fox News once that if same-sex marriage became a thing, then people would start marrying turtles.

That’s just absurd. Everyone knows turtles look awful in veils. Now FROGS, on the other hand…

(No one’s marrying a turtle. Or a goat. Or a frog. Listen, let’s liken this to when interracial marriage was banned, then allowed. Did people start marrying wildlife? No. They didn’t. So I highly doubt anyone’s going to wake up today all, “Part of DOMA got declared unconstitutional? I’m marrying the bear at the Country Bear Jamboree today, then, dammit!”)

Well, he COULD provide the musical entertainment at your wedding. That is a consideration.

Well, he COULD provide the musical entertainment at your wedding. That is a consideration.

“Kids raised by the gays are more likely to become gay themselves!”

I can answer this one without research. I know, right? It’s amazing how cool I am.

Children raised by same-sex parents are not more likely to be gay or lesbian. And do you know why?

Because being gay or lesbian (or trans, or bi, or what have you) ARE NOT CHOICES.

They are they way people are born. It’s hard-wired into your brain. Asking this question is like asking, “Are the children of same-sex couples more likely to be left-handed?” or “Are the children of same-sex couples more likely to be blondes?”

It’s the way you’re born. A gay child is just as likely to be born to a gay couple as a straight couple. End of argument.

“The gay agenda is taking over Merka and I DO NOT LIKE IT!”

OMG SPARKLES AND RAINBOWS THE GAY AGENDA!

You’re totally right, though. I’m going to tell you a secret that the gays don’t want me to tell you. See, I have many friends amongst the gays, and they entrust me with their secrets – and I am sharing one with you now. This may well get me kicked out of their special people club.

THE GAY AGENDA *IS* ATTEMPTING TO TAKE OVER MERKA.

And guess what it is?

Equal rights for everyone in the LGBTQIA community.

Full stop. End of sentence.

Equal fucking rights.

The right to marry the person they love. The right to have all the accompanying benefits that come with marriage. The right to be safe in their environment. The right to be accepted. The right to be seen as an equal member of the human fucking race.

Yes. The gay agenda. Look out, homophobes. It’s coming to YOUR TOWN.

And it’s deliciously accessorized. Possibly with a feather boa, or perhaps a pair of kickass motorcycle boots.

(Congratulations to everyone affected by the Supreme Court’s decision to strike down Section Three of DOMA and find Prop 8 unconstitutional yesterday. Selfishly, a SPECIAL congratulations to my most-beloved gay and lesbian friends, married or not, who are now one step closer to being a citizen with full rights in the country they were born and live in. Thank you, SCOTUS, for doing the right thing; in a country where you never quite seem to know if the government is for or against you, you did the right thing not once, but twice today. And yes, I spent pretty much the entire day yesterday reading my Facebook feed and various news outlets and weeping in joy. We got it right. For once, we got it right.)


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