Tracy: It sounds like you need a treat.
Tuesday, November 30, 2010
Tracy: It sounds like you need a treat.
Friday, November 26, 2010
I love family.
I love friends.
I love life.
I love to entertain.
My people bring me so much joy and delight and they enrich my life in so many different ways.
Even though there are logistics to be maneuvered and stress to be tamed, planning a feast is something I love to do.
This year did not disappoint. My entire family came into town for Thanksgiving this year. This is the first time every single one of us, kids included, has been together for a major holiday since my brother Andy's wedding almost 10 years ago. We have come together at different times for different reasons, and have had all of the siblings together, but not always with spouses and children. This was a huge event and worth all of the planning.
Everyone came into town on Sunday and we have been spending all of the time together that we can manage. It is so unusual and yet feels so fantastic to be able to drop by my Mom's and any number of my siblings are there. It is incredible to have my doorbell ring and there on my doorstep are people that I don't get to see very often, but that I love like crazy.
We celebrated our usual Pie Night on Wednesday, Thanksgiving Eve. This is year number 12 of this happy tradition and our home pulsed with the humanity contained within. We had a plethora of pies, a table heavy laden with savory items to balance out the sweet, and a couple of tasty soups. We had 30 people filling our home with conversation and laughter this time around. It was definitely a packed house late into the night.
Today, for Thanksgiving, we collected en masse at my sister's church hall for our happy feast. The tables fairly groaned with the weight of their contents and children ran scattered, maniacal and happy round and round. We had a chance to break bread together, to talk and laugh, to relish each others company and to clean and pack it all up together. After dinner was done and cleaned up and all of our belongings and howling children were packed up into our cars we mosied over to my mom's house for desserts and games. Though we slowly tapered off into the night with families, pies and left overs en tow, some of us lingered longer and continued our visit late into the night. What an absolutely wonderful Thanksgiving...I didn't want the day to end, but home I went into the icy starlit night and here I am, hoping to catch it briefly, between yawns.
Despite the difficulties in the world today, despite the distance and the differences, in the end none of it matters when you have the people you were blessed to be joined with as a family during this mortal probation. Family is what we make it. Family is what we define it. Family is who we include in our personal definition of that word. It may be clannish to voice it in such a way, but I don't care. I love who I love and that's just how it goes.
To my people, whether you are attached to me by blood, marriage or friendship, God bless you and keep you during these tousled times. I love you. Thank you for being part of my life and for everything you bring to it. You are beautiful--remember that.
Kisses & Too Many Squeezes...
Sunday, November 21, 2010
I'm sick. Again. And soooooo not happy about the situ.
I loathe being sick. I hate colds the worst--and this one is a doozy. I stayed in bed most of the day yesterday, being Saturday, the one day when no one owns me and I get to do everything that needs doing and wants doing. I had mild fevers and a few chills. Couldn't get warm and couldn't get naked fast enough...but by then I was freezing...you get the picture.
I stayed in bed and slept, read, slept and watched The Lord of the Rings trilogy...but not all of it, because like I said I slept and read too.
Then I woke up in the middle of the night several times with a mouth and throat that felt like I had left them open in the Sahara and they filled with sand and dust. I hate that feeling. You wake up because you've been a giant mouth breather during the night and you are dry as a bone. You can't get to water fast enough, and you know how when you're sick water tastes disgusting and awful, but you are choking it down just to get some moisture in your mouth. Yeah...welcome to my early morning hours. Not to complain or anything. ;)
After stomping to the bathroom in the dark with my empty glass, and having rinsed it out, just in case an invisible spider had dropped into it that I couldn't see with my dry, squinting eyes that were trying to keep my contacts in, once I had mildly hydrated, I looked up into the bathroom mirror and I jumped back. Whoa!!! Who her??
There was a wild woman with crazy hair sticking up and out in every direction with dark rings under her eyes, parched rose red lips and pale, pale skin...and she sooooo didn't look happy to be there. It actually gave me a wry chuckle. Then that lady in the mirror started hacking up a lung, gave me an evil glare and left the scene to go blow her nose...again.
I felt bad for her. She looked poorly off and I thought, man, she's had a rough night. She looks like a truck wreck in a nightie. I hope she gets feeling better...
Below is a family favorite. We love it. It's delicious and it's easy. It also feeds a fair crowd. We had it last night. I've been sick in bed so Beloved made it. It was everything I hoped it could be. Excellent with some crusty bread with butter and a glass of milk. I was in a carbohydrate coma that helped me forget my coughing, congested woes.
If you try it, I hope you like it. :D
Tater Tot Casserole
© 2 lbs. Ground Beef
© ½-1White Onion, Diced and sautéed w/Beef
© 2 Cans Cream of Chicken and Mushroom Soup (not each...the combined cans)
© 1 Can 2% Milk
© 1 lg. can Green Chili’s, diced
© 1 ½ C.+ Cheddar Cheese, freshly grated (Freshly grated is better than the bagged cheese and I like to use a little more than this because we really like it to be cheesy!)
© 1 bag Ore Ida Onion Tater Tots
© 2 cans Kitchen Cut Green Beans, drained
Cook onion, ground beef, seasoning with garlic powder, salt, pepper, parsley and onion powder. Be generous with the onion powder. Add in green chili’s stirring all together, followed by the green beans. Add in soup and milk, stirring all ingredients in together. Let come to a simmer. In a 9x13-inch pan, spread all tater tots. Pour meat mixture over tater tots, distributing evenly. Sprinkle with cheese liberally. Cover in foil and bake at 350 degrees for 30-45 minutes, or until bubbly and cheese is melted.
Tuesday, November 9, 2010
World: Burning Desperation - nytimes.com/video
When I see things like this I want to scream in desperation and anger and refusal that human beings can create this kind of despair in one another. I want to go to those girls and women and I want to hold them and look and their eyes and say:
“Baby girl, baby girl—you are precious—you are beautiful—you have value.
Why didn’t they tell you that?
Why didn’t they teach you that?
Come with me. Let me take you away.”
How can people preach peace out of one side of their mouths and shame and embarrassment out of the other? How can they say that not bringing a gift to a birthday party is a reason for a degree of shame that requires self-immolation? How can abuse be doled out in such a way as to make a married 13-year-old want to set herself on fire just to put an end to the words?
When I see and think and ponder on these things…these heinous acts….this despair and demoralization and the dehumanization that one individual suffers at the hands of another…I don’t want to talk about Jesus, or God, or Allah or Buddha or any other religious figurehead. I don’t want to say or hear the words “The only way to save them is by bringing them God.” Or “The only way they will be better is if they believe in…” Because it’s not true.
The only thing that will save them is for people to behave humanely towards one another. The only way to stop the burning, the beating, the berating, the stoning, the whipping, the cutting, the sadness, the despair, the humiliation, the domination is to just stop. It is not the hands of a God that brings this pain into the world—it is the hands of men who would exert their will and their desires on another human being that brings this pain into the world.
How can you say you love someone and do these things? How can you say “I loved you, but you have shamed our family by holding hands with that boy who is not our same religion, so now I am going to behead you…or run you down with our family car…or chop your hands off…or smother you…or drown you…or lock you in the basement…or the closet?” In no way is that love, or kindness or caring.
The shame is yours for the thinking and for the doing of these things. YOU are the one that is the shame. YOU are the one that is the criminal. YOU are the one that is practicing unlawful domination of one human being over another. It is YOU. It is not them.
You are the one with all of the power and they are subject to your whimsy and your desires. They have no power. They have no control. You hold it all in your monstrous paw. You pull the strings. You decide fate. You make decisions over things that are not your right or your choice to decide, and yet out of respect and fear these women continue cowed by it all.
A woman is, by nature, a sweeter creature who will generally be interested in caring and creating and loving and serving. There is no dispute here. But so often through the millennia man takes undue advantage of this. He takes what would be sweet and mild and he twists, and he twists and he twists. And even this is not the most wicked thing of all. He teaches, through his own example, that to survive one must emulate his behavior and so he passes on his vampiric legacy of abuse and violence to his wife and to his children, both girl and boy.
How can you hear their near-silent sobs? How can you listen to their quiet weeping when they have hidden themselves away from you? How can you look into their pleading eyes that are begging you for a reprieve from your hate and your vitriol? How can you see their bruises and their scars and not weep? How can you watch their blood run from the wounds that you have caused by putting hands, that should have loved them, on their bodies in hate? How can you live with the pain and the anguish shown on the flesh, through spilled blood and in the hollow eyes of those who would have loved you most and best and forever???
If I could I would take them from you.
If I could I would love them.
If I could I would give you their pain as a direct mainline shot into your very soul.
If I could I would condemn you to the worst of hells that any fiction could come up with.
If I could I would take their pain for my own.
I would do this because I already know of my value and I already know of their value. I would suffer knowing who I am and that there is something more. I would suffer, but in my suffering I would relish in the joyful knowledge that they were now free to be the glorious girls and women that they were always meant to be. I would suffer knowing that they now had a chance to laugh and love and be loved.
I would suffer but I would fight against you in every way, taking every opportunity to create problems for you, I would recoil against you, oppose you, balk against you and take every opportunity to oppose you and to combat against you, to bring you trouble until you killed me with your own hands…which no doubt in your misogynistic mind and your megalomaniacal ways wouldn’t take long for you to deliver to me. But every minute of my life that was entwined with yours would be one that you regretted.
If I could I would set you on fire and kick you to hell.
If I could I would demand that justice be given.
But I cannot. I cannot do any of these things and hell is for the victim not the perpetrator, no matter what anyone says.
And so I see you with my eyes, and I hear you with my ears, and I speak against you with my mouth to any ear that will listen. I tell the stories of dead women who were abused at your hands and by your will so that all women who would hear, and all men who would believe, can stand against you to resist the perpetration of additional crimes against humanity.
Sunday, November 7, 2010
If you were Tracy D.'s boss at some point, and you think "Hey--my name starts with "M" and I wasn't very nice to her all those years ago...maybe she's talking about me..." Give the man a cookie...you're right--it is you.
As a caveat, somewhere along the way, and I'm not 100% on how this happened, I've forgiven you. I know, I know--I am surprised. I thought I had resigned you to the 9th Circle of Hell forever myself, but apparently you've made it out. I'm reserving the right to recount the stories though.
Forgiveness = Yours.
Stories = All mine, baby. All. Mine.
So--back to "M."
At the time he was a man in his prime. Superego, misogynistic, arrogant...oh yes. Holding people back-- "Heck, yeah!" Woo hoo. In his 30's, immature, poor judgment a-hole? Oh. I see you have met him...or his brother.
During the course of my time in servitude to him, no matter how hard I worked, or how good I made him look he was not going to let up on the power reigns whatsoever. He had a penis...purportedly...and I did not. That was enough for the torture and micromanagement that he happily doled out on a daily basis.
To set the scene, I had left the company for a very brief 6-8 week time period. I had thoughts of becoming a stay-at-home-mom...well, really they were thoughts of "If I get rid of some of the stress in my life, maybe I can finally get pregnant." And, if that didn't work out maybe I would head back to school for my Master's. (You can never tell career people, women especially, that you want to be a SAHM. They look at you like you've lost your mind and maybe you're not so smart after all.)
Anyway, after my very short reprieve from the work force I had to go back and take my old boss up on the offer that everyone makes, but are you really sure they mean it, "If you ever want to come back..."
I felt apprehensive and humiliated about it, but there was no other course, in my eyes at that time, except for that one. Unfortunately for me, they had just done some hiring for the good jobs and the only job that was available was one working for "M." I didn't want to work for him directly, as working with him indirectly had been a chore and I knew it would be so not fun to work for him directly, being the micro-manager and woman hater that I knew he was from previous experiences. My old boss, however, was very congenial and understanding and was happy to have me back into the department. "M." just acted put out about it. The interview was with my old boss and with "M." and all things considered it had gone really well, until the last question that he tossed out like a grenade and which came to rest with a poof of dust at my feet for me to pick up-- "So you left the company once. If I hire you how do I know you're not going to quit again?"
I was stunned. Really??
"Because my dreams have been crushed you asshole and I have no hope of ever going back to them again.
I have resigned myself to my fate of working in this Hell-hole, apparently for the rest of my shitty childless life. For you--no less.
Thank you for asking.
Can I have the job and get to it so I can go home and start drinking in the afternoon to numb the pain???"
Did I say that?
No. I was 29 and didn't have the figurative balls of steel that I do now.
Instead I, humiliated even further, and now knowing the full power this whiny, self-important man had over me and the course of my career, said--
"That's not going to happen. Those paths--those doors have closed and are no longer an option. My career is here and I don't see myself leaving anytime in the near future."
And the angels heard her heart break and they did sing unspeakably beautiful lamentations for her.
From that point forward, after smirking an evil all-knowing smirk, I was his bitch, and he never let me forget it, forevermore.
So, at that point in my life, during those two years that I worked for him, and a number of other years of interaction with him that trailed behind, I wished him death. But not just death as an end resolution of some miscellaneous sort.
I thought "If the planet, in all of its blue and white and green glory, were to momentarily lose gravity but not stop spinning--and if one person and one person only could be flung from it into the great black void of space, never to be heard from or seen again--If it were "M."--I would not be sad. I would not shed one tear. I would not lament the grief of his wife and children. They probably wouldn't know it, but they would be better off."
It was a number of years before the fantasy of "M."-thrown-into-the-void dissipated and I began thinking "Meh. Who cares? I see he's mellowed. But he'll never be the leader he could have been." Because my friends, the tragic part of the story isn't me--it is him--it is him and what he lost in treating the women around him the way he did. (Women in the workplace can always use a strong champion, they have enough people holding them down in so many places and ways, that did you really need to jump on the bandwagon with the rest of the majority?) The tragedy was in what he refused to step up and do, it is in what he never truly disciplined himself to become, which was a great and charismatic leader.
The thing that is so pathetic is that since those dismal days, as time has passed, he has acted like we are old friends, like the past never happened, and believe me...there is plenty more that is worse than this little tale of woe.
For example, I hadn't really seen him or interacted with him in several years and we ran into each other in the hallway (this was several years ago) and he walked up, clapped me on the shoulder and said "How's my old friend Tracy doing?"
Since when were we on clap-me-on-the-shoulder "friends" terms?
Yes...I was stunned. (Now, I'm not a rude person, and I kept my personal feelings to myself, for the most part, about the poor work relationship I had with him, but I did have some close friends who had either been a direct witness to the misery or had suffered at his hands themselves.)
A good friend of mine, who had also been a subject under his miserable regime, was with me. After he walked on and turned the corner, we looked at each other like a couple of open-mouthed mailboxes in stunned silence...because he had been **serious.** Then we promptly busted into laughter by the shock of it all.
But here's the other bit...men, consistently, who are massive jerks in their younger adult years, after seasoning and maturing and etc., often end up being quite nice in their upper 40's and onward. I don't know what it is.
As long as you meet them after they've mellowed they are great people---but for all of us that they stepped on in the early years...Guess what? Time may have mellowed the pain and humiliation, the wounds may have healed, the stories may even have taken on humorous twists now that they are far enough back in the past, but we still have your boot prints on our backs and a bit of jaded life's experience tagging along from our past with you.
So...yeah...thanks for that and it's super-awesomely-stellar that everyone loves you now...but even though I've forgiven you--even though I have also matured and grown and have moved on--I'll still always be a little wary of you and I will never trust you... but I don't hate you anymore. I don't wish you death anymore. In fact, I hope you're doing all right.
Wishing you the best... well... at least not wishing you the worst anymore...
Friday, November 5, 2010
You know what I delight in?
The occasional late night Friday-eve indulgence with sleepy-can-barely-keep-them-open-eyes listening to melowlicious music, browsing all of my favorites in their Facebook peeping, G-mail snooping, Bloggerific, late night Cops watching kitschy goodness.
I should have been in bed long ago.
I've already fallen asleep once in the Conan Chair (the large, overstuffed chair with both arms covered by sheepskin throws.) I've watched a plethora of CSI's...Miami, NY and the original Las Vegas. I got a little behind and had to get caught up with my people and murder and mayhem story lines. It's a sick addiction really.
I've indulged in several in and out of consciousness episodes of Cop/Jail/Gang/Prison shows...they really all just meld in to one. Half of the people are in uniforms with guns and sticks and pepper spray and the other half are either in jumpsuits or in some degree of undress...or both. Why is it that everyone always ends up half naked in these? And why is it that people are always so ultra pissed off in the summertime? Right now they've got this one show I've never heard of before Women Cops of Dallas or something like that. A couple of these chicks are pretty cool, but the rest of them? --Let's be honest--if I were some of these drunk, angry, high people--I would want to arrest myself just to get them to shut their squeaking, screeching mouths. I'm just sayin'...
Now I notice that there is an empty jar of honey roasted peanuts here on the desk that Beloved must have polished off during his latest round of online Warhammer gaming...I love that man. :)
So, now with the Sneaker Pimps "6 Underground" notes tickling my ears and this latest take down of a criminal on t.v. by 6 cops, I should probably finish turning out of the lights and go climb my weary, but happy, bones into bed.
So...as my sweet cousin Kelly would say..."Kisses..."
I love when she says that...I think it's so sweet and cheery, so I'm going to occasionally adopt it for my own.
So from me to you...Kisses, People...