Saturday, June 9, 2012

Build Your Wings on the Way Down

In the 6th grade, I fell in love with Ray Bradbury.

I was one of those kids that read incessantly.  I often ran out of things to read between trips to the library, because if I checked out as many books as I could read I'd lose one or two.  Anyway, my English teacher only assigned a few of the short stories in our textbook, so I decided to read the rest of them.  Of the lot, I still remember two.  Carnal Knowledge by T. Coraghessan Boyle was memorable because parts were funny, but there were sexy bits I didn't understand.  I probably remember it because of the confusion and the not wanting to ask my parents what was really going on.

But The Pedestrian by Ray Bradbury resonated with me.  I didn't feel confused, I felt I'd reached enlightenment.  When I finished it I felt my heart racing and my brain clamoring and my skin prickling.  It was as if he'd written the story just for me, to let me know I wasn't alone and I wasn't crazy.  Whoever wrote this, I thought, has feelings just like mine.  I think he knows me already.

At eleven-years-old I didn't understand that the stories in my textbook were written by authors that had written other things, so I didn't search the library for his books.  A few years later my eleventh-grade English class read Fahrenheit 451, which is my favorite book to this day.  A couple months prior to that assignment my class had the chance to attend one of his speaking engagements.  If I had read the book first, I would have hung on his every word.  Actually, maybe it is for the best that I was unaware of his awesomeness, because I would have cried in front of my entire stupid class because my idol was so close but not close enough to thank.

The Pedestrian is more precious to me today than it was twenty years ago.  How many times have we tried to hold a conversation with someone who keeps looking at their phone for texts?  How many times have we competed with a motherfucking screen to gain someone's acknowledgement?  How many times have we wanted to scream STOP CHECKING TWITTER AND PAY ATTENTION TO MEEEEEEEE!!!  

The only other famous people whose deaths caused me genuine grief* are Jim Henson and Fred Rogers.  Like them, Ray Bradbury changed the way I looked at the world and how I felt about myself.  I have purposefully paced myself for reading his works so I don't run out of new stories by the time I'm 35.  I know I'll continue to be shaped by his imagination, and for that I am thankful.

Rather, I am thankful for everything you gave me, Mr. Bradbury.






*I am tearing up right now.


Tuesday, May 1, 2012

The End of the Middle

I'm impatiently awaiting my grade for the last final exam of my second year of PT school, and I'm killing time on the computer so I can obsessively check for my grade.  I have posted very little about my life since 2010, for a couple of reasons.  Firstly, it was difficult to express the process of losing my brother to cancer.  I hope you never know what it is like.  It was also hard to jive what I'd say to people with what I wanted to write to the internets.  Face to face, I felt I had to put up a brave front.  If you saw me and are thinking "THAT was a brave front?  I've seen a quivering mass of Jell-o hold up better!" then I say "You have no idea what I was like on the inside."  ANYWAY I felt like I couldn't say one thing to people and the truth to the internets.  But I couldn't lie to the internets either, I mean, who does that? 

Secondly, I was afraid that every post I wrote about school would devolve into "You guuuuysss, it's so haaaaarrrrrrrrrd.  I mean, soooooooo hard!"  It took three years of hardcore effort to be accepted, and then for three more years I just whine about how reeealllllllyyyy hard it is?  WHO DOES THAT?

Next week (if I pass this last final) I start another clinical rotation, and I realized I never told any stories from the first one!  Which is one reason I'm on blogger!  If I had actually written anything, rest assured you would have been emotionally moved, entertained, and gained a new appreciation for life itself.  This would have been your favorite blog, and you would refreshed Butter No Parsnips in the hopes I'd written another gem as frequently as I've been checking Blackboard for my grade .  Alas, the opportunity passed me by, and you just happened to stumble across this measly post in December because you wanted my recipe for Christmas cookies and you thought maybe I'd blogged about it in 2007.

Hmmmm, posting about cookies might actually be a good idea.  I can't whine about how hard that is. 

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

The Ratings: Vegetarians

Ovo-Lacto Vegetarian: Ahh, the lazy man's vegetarianism. The rules are simple: If the answer to "Am I eating a dead animal?" is "No," then ur doin it right. However, if the answer is "No, because he's still alive," then you are a sick fuck and not a vegetarian. A

Vegan: I have to admire someone that eats a cruelty-free diet that allows for french fries and whiskey binges if one so desires. Back in The Day, I wanted to go vegan and be able to claim No Animals Were Harmed in the Making of this Couscous Delight*. Try as I might, I could never give up the cheesecake and make the leap. I mean, have you had vegan cheesecake? I've eaten tastier plastics, thank you. A+

Ovo Vegetarian: Really? I don't get it. One: Dairy makes eggs better. Two: You've managed to forgo milk, cream, ice cream, sour cream, kefir, yogurt, butter, ghee, creme fraiche, and 10,000 types of cheese, but giving up eggs is a bit too much to ask? Ovo vegetarians are without the moxy of a vegan yet lack the easy-goingness of the "Don't mind me, I'll just order the cheese pizza/fettuccine alfredo/fried mozzarella" ovo-lactos. I'm sure you ovos have your reasons, but I doubt they're as logical and benevolent as my reasons for downing an entire jar of Nutella. C-

Vegan Rawist: Oh for the love of Pete, did none of you rawist people ever learn about science? Or evolution? Seriously, you can't argue with me that we don't have teeth like a jungle cat so we didn't evolve to eat meat AND turn a blind eye to having teeth that are ill-suited to gnawing on fibrous vegetation for hours at a time. You know what our teeth are evolved for? Pudding! D

Pescatarian: OK now, some of my best friends are pescatarians, and as a diet in general I give it an A-. But pescatarians that call themselves vegetarians make me feel a tad bit stabby. It's like claiming Hannibal Lecter was not a consumer of human flesh because he only ate the fancy bits. For nine years as an ovo-lacto I had the Sisyphean task of re-explaining to everyone that I will not eat your tuna salad because One: I hate pickle relish and Two: Fish are made of muscles, muscles are MEAT and just give me a gorram grilled cheese sammitch already. F



*Except for the squirrel the Kroger delivery van hit, that is.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

The Ratings: Christmas Festivities

Christmas Eve: I spent the day working on an apple pie. It used to be a fairly easy pie to make, until MacGyver pointed out he preferred soft apples in chunks for the filling. So instead of running six apples through the Cuisinart and throwing them in the pie dough, I have to chop 10 apples by hand, cook them down, and drain them before assembling the pie. YAY. The pie was for the Cooper family Christmas Eve dinner. The one dish I get excited about is my faux mom/aunt's cheesy potatoes. The socialization was better than usual because I scored a seat close to VBG and her sister, and Nico let me hold him for about an hour. I keep my eye on a certain uncle because he made a pass at MacGyver a few years back. When he grabbed MacGyver's ponytail, I slapped his hand and told him to be glad I didn't have a knife. My fingers stung for a good five minutes afterwards. B

Christmas: We skipped brunch with MacGyver's immediate family and I slept till nearly 11am. We watched Mythbusters and cuddled on the couch with the kitties. We hit the Woodwose family Christmas Extravaganza of Awkward Silences, and when I scanned the room I discovered my favorite uncle (on that side, duh) wasn't there, and my favorite aunt (ditto) was engaged in a boring conversation about dogs (I love dogs, but I don't give a fuck about whose neighbor owned what breed back in the day) with one of MacGyver's most despised cousins (it's not that he's flaming and closeted that bothers him, it's that he's a selfish prick). So we sat near his grandma who was playing cards with some of her kids. Attempts at conversation were futile. KT and her crew arrived, and after some small talk prodding she recounted Sunny's misadventures with gluten-free baking. Sometime after we left an uncle threw a cousin out of the house for insulting his mom and aunt something awful. We split after an hour to see True Grit with my dad and brother. I really enjoyed it. Since nothing else was open, the four of us had Chinese food for dinner. A-

Boxing Day: Because my eldest brother couldn't visit until the 26th, I organized a family dinner the day after Christmas. My entire family (except one sister-in-law) gathered at the family farm. I made triple-chocolate and cranberry-orange cookies, MacGyver made grilled teriyaki salmon, I coached my brother through making potato soup, my sister brought a delicious salad (a monumental event), Ruth brought fruit salad, and my youngest brother brought rolls. This was the meal I was fantasizing about through the Cristmas Eve Cooper Family Dinner of Repetition and Mediocrity (except those potatoes!). This was the meal I had organized and delegated and could be proud of. This was the meal I missed because I was sick and stayed home to vomit in privacy. F---

Friday, November 26, 2010

Piss and Vinegar Tom

At MacGyver's family gatherings, there is a woman I avoid. She is MacGyver's dad's brother's wife's mother. This woman only sees me on Christmas Eve and the occasional Thanksgiving, she's not related to me, and I'm fairly sure she doesn't even know my name. However, she always demands to know when I'm going to make some babies.

Here's the thing: my biological clock is broken. I love my nieces and nephews and my friends' kids, but I have no desire to spawn my own. The ticking of MacGyver's biological clock is nearly deafening. It's a sad point of contention, and if anything ends our relationship, it's this.

So. Every time this woman asks me about subletting my womb, it is a pointed stick to my heart. No, Lady, I am not pregnant. I may never be pregnant. And there's a chance the love of my life may someday leave me because of it.

To amuse myself, while I avoid her I think of things I would like to say, but am too polite to say out loud.

She asks, "When are you going to have babies?" and I mentally reply:
-"No hablo ingl├ęs."
-"When I run out of 2-for-1 abortion coupons."
-"When I run out of wire coat hangers."
-"I'm barren, and your question deadens my soul."
-"Shut the fuck up."
-"When sleep and money lose their appeal."
-"When the novelty of aborting them wears off."
-"When I'm too drunk to remember the condom."
-"When the black market price of blue-eyed infants plummets."
-No words. Just a swift punch to the throat.
-"AFTER YOU DIE."

Monday, November 1, 2010

Liquid Sin

I was the perfect daughter.

Mostly.

During my teenage years, I made the effort to not misbehave, ever. My motivation came from my mother's rare and unpredictable illness. Seriously. Do you know what agnogenic myeloid metaplasia is? Of course you don't. She had a lot of ups and downs, and I was riddled with fear that I might do something to disappoint her, and then she'd die, and she'd die disappointed in me.

It was horrible. Also irrational. But real.

Anyway, I never ever broke curfew, smoked, drank,* backtalked, argued, had sex, talked on the phone too long, or ignored schoolwork. I flossed, went to mass, studied hard, followed the rules, and smothered my desire to give Doug a concussion with my biology textbook because that would be wrong despite how vindictively satisfying I knew - nay, fantasized - it would feel.

However. There was a major point of contention between my father and me. It inspired the closest thing to arguments I ever had with a parent. I protested on my behalf when confronted. I indulged in it behind his back. And the vice behind all of this?

Orange juice.

I drank orange juice by the glassful every day, sometimes twice a day. Dad did not approve. He said I shouldn't drink an entire glass of it, I should use a juice glass. And if I was still thirsty, I could have water. What he called a juice glass was a pimento-cheese spread jar. It held four measly ounces. I pointed out that a serving size was EIGHT, and it said so on the label. I left out the fact that I drank two to four times that amount daily. He told me it was too expensive. Apparently, orange juice is made of liquid platinum and the tears of baby unicorns. And that is why it cost an entire six dollars per bottle.

After he made noise about how he couldn't support my habit, I'd mutter "Fine" and act like I repented, but on the inside I was all "Give me orange juice or give me death!."

Later, I'd drink all the damn OJ I wanted. When I ran out, mom bought more. Repeat. Because I was just that kind of rebel.



*Except when my brother gave me that Apple Jack when my parents were out of town. It doesn't count if your big brother gives it to you, right?

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Epiphany. Or something.

I thought I'd post a random thought, but I couldn't remember my password to log-in. And I was all "I don't need you to email me my password, Blogger! I'm better than that!" Because, you know, that would show weakness and I'd be attacked by a bear even sooner than I anticipated.

And then I remembered my password. But I used it with the wrong user name.

Go me!

So now I can post that thing I was thinking, which went something like: "If I ever meet someone less cool than me, some jerkwad is going to tell me it's an ironic lack of coolness. Which is cool. And I would no longer have someone I could lord my coolness over. FML."



That is all. Good night.