Sunday, November 13, 2011

This Weekend I...

Videochatted. A lot.

I had coffee on my friends' porch. I introduced my sister to some friends and her boyfriend to mine. I learned that my great grandfather was a lifeguard with Ronald Reagan. I watched my boyfriend cut the dickens out of her finger (see bandaid in above picture).

It all made for a lovely Saturday.

Did Ab Ripper X.

And the 10 Minute Trainer Ab workout. Back to back. I needed the stress relief or, as my friend Kaitlin would say, the medicinal benefits of exercise. It worked, to an extent. And... just now I sneezed and felt the confirmation of all that hard work.


16 papers today. And 16 papers every day through Thursday to finish them up. I can do that, right?

Made (and ate) this sammich.

Peanut butter, bacon, green apple, honey. Mmph.

And now I'm going to watch TV and work on my Thanksgiving week menu. Get excited! I'll share some of it with you, if you're good.

How were your weekends, peaches?

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

The post and my very tender thoughts on it.

Last night I was caught off guard by this commercial:

I went from happily sipping whiskey and watching Chopped to the wanting to curl up under a quilt and cry.

This little thirty second ad said only one thing to me: The Post is in danger.

Now... you might have seen me around on the internet. I spend a lot of time there. Facebook, twitter, tumblr, this blog, your inbox, your mom's inbox. I get around online. I'm not ashamed of it. I've met friends, enemies, girlfriends, experts, celebrities, and probably your mom online that I likely would not ever have bumped into in any other way. The internet is my medium. I get it. I use it.

But. It's not the post.

The post is dreamy and romantic and personal and requires effort.

I can sit in my office and write you an email that says, "I'm thinking about you today."

You'll get the email in seconds. You'll smile, maybe, then it's done.

If I, on the other hand, write the very same message, "I'm thinking about you today." in a card or on a piece of stationery, seal it in an envelope, hunt down your address and a stamp, drive the whole lot to the post office (because my apartment pick-up is unreliable), and send it off in your direction, then you'll receive it in a very different way.

You'll get my card, open it, and know that for at least a bit of one day, I was thinking only about you and the piece of mail that would literally travel from my hands to yours. And then for weeks when you see it on your fridge or maybe a year later when it shows up in a junk drawer, you'll know that I was thinking about you then and just might be thinking about you again.

And... if the piece of mail is from me... then you might be able to tell that instead of spending minutes on your mail, I actually spent hours. Gluing paper, revising wording, baking treats, compiling songs, what have you.

Whatever the case... mailing something to someone means a lot more to me than sending them a text, a message on Facebook, a tweet. Those are daily. Those are tired.

The post. The post is where it's at.

It's no secret that this love of the post was passed down to me by my mom. My mom sends me roughly one card per week. Some weeks there's more than one. Some weeks (very rare) there isn't one at all.

Her cards range from the sincere to the bizarre.

Some of my favorites include the congratulations on my ballet recital and the mazel tov on my son's bris. Also the "Love being your sister" and the countless "Happy Birthday"s covered up with hearts and flowers and swirlies.

The common thread woven through these often silly cards is the fact the my mom loves me and that she thinks about me in a deliberate, focused way at least once a week.

Even so... I'm not the only person who benefits from my mom's postal expressions of love.

My brother, sister, boyfriend, and even some friends benefit from the occasional card. She recently sent one to a close friend of mine that featured a hotdog on the front and the inscription, "Bet you didn't think you'd get a wiener today!"

Don't you wish you were on her list now?

What I'm saying is... I love the post. Always have.

As a kid, I thought having a British pen pal was the best thing I could ever want out of life. As an adult, I've only slightly revised that idea.

My mom fuels my love for the post through her regular mailings. And I do my best to send notes and packages around as often as possible.

The thought that the USPS might be in such dire straights that they need to convince us to use paper in a world that begs us to go paperless is upsetting.

I've long thought of the post as the government's polite, "I'm going that way, would you like me to take that?" and I'd hate to see it waste away.

So... today I'm going to write letters. And buy stamps. And drop mail into the box knowing full well it will reach its destination and make one person feel good. Or better. Or something. Because that's what I do with the power of the post.

What do you mail?

Monday, November 7, 2011

Halloween Regrets

I didn't do anything for Halloween this year.

Really. Not a damn thing. I sat at home. I might have even had cereal for dinner; I don't remember.

This, for me, has been difficult. I love the hell out of Halloween. Usually I spend several months planning and perfecting my costume.

Since I didn't have the excitement of planning and executing the perfect costume for the day, I've had a hard time letting go of the costumes I'd considered. So... I'm blogging them in an attempt to set them aflame and push them out to see.

A Viking funeral for the costumes that didn't happen.

Now... this year I also have a boyfriend. A boyfriend who is more than willing to play along with my costume excitement. You'll see that reflected in my choices. Let's start with the classics...

JFK and Marilyn Monroe:

I could be his Jackie, sure. But... I'm more Marilyn, dontcha think?

Johnny Cash and June Carter:

But only if I can carry around a dulcimer and tell all our friends we can't stay long because he's goin' to Jackson.

Now... a quick jump to...

Joan and Roger:

Any day. Any time. As long as I get to smirk, speak softly, and walk around the office like I own the damn place. Because... I do.

Which leads us to our topical couples...

Prince William and Kate Middleton:

Quick! While people will still recognize us!

DaveCat and Sidore:

Clear winner. Hands down. Amirite?!

Incidentally, "hands down" refers both to the DaveCat/Sidore win and the pose I'll be assuming for the entirety of the evening: Hands down, eyes blank, mouth slightly open. I've been practicing. It's spectacular.

So... I think this has helped.

I'll let these costumes go for this year. Knowing full well that I've catalogued them here and can revisit next October.

Who would you be if Halloween were this week and you had all the money and time to costume?

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Crimson Tide Cupcakes

Today is the big Alabama/LSU game. ROLL TIDE!

I doubt you're surprised about the game, it's kind of a big deal. But you may be surprised to see me blogging about it.

I'm a little surprised myself. Just weeks ago I uttered this sentence: "What's a Bear Bryant?"

And look at me today.

Crimson velvet cake with cream cheese icing.

And that, there on the left, is my attempt at Bear Bryant's iconic houndstooth hat. Use your imaginations, please. Houndstooth is not an easy pattern to reproduce. Tiny. On gum paste.

What I'm saying is, I've come a long way. I know who Bear Bryant is. I know which way they run on the football field. On a good day, I can even explain downs to you.

But... I'm still me. Take a look at this:

Uh huh.

I prefer to think that instead of being runny, my icing is just being spirited. Roll icing, roll.

Who's watching with me tonight?

Friday, November 4, 2011

Stuff _____ Likes (An exercise in revision)

1. Prince
2. Cookbooks
3. Quilts
4. Texting
5. Fancy Drinks
6. Flintstones vitamins
7. Crafts
8. Sleeping

* * * * *

I... found this post, titled "Stuff ______ Likes," as a draft that I began August 1, 2009. It contained only this list of 8 things that I, at the time, liked.

And, while I do still like some of these things, I don't know that they would be the 8 things I would list when asked what I like. Let's revise, shall we?

1. Prince It's not that I don't like Prince. It's just. That. I like a lot of people like I like Prince.
2. Cookbooks These stay. I read them like novels.
3. Quilts They're fine. And sometimes great. But sometimes real freaky. Like when they're pilly. With... banish the thought... someone else's pills. Ew. I don't like those to touch my skin.
4. Texting Keeping this. Because, let's be honest. I don't function (as well) without it.
5. Fancy Drinks I'm a whiskey on the rocks girl. So, if that's fancy, then sure.
6. Flintstones vitamins Fell out of like. Only munch them occasionally these days, out of obligation and because I bought my last bottle at Sam's. They'll last forever.
7. Crafts Will. Always. Love.
8. Sleeping Same. C'mon.

So... I'm now left with
1. Cookbooks
2. Texting
3. Whiskey
4. Crafts
5. Sleeping

To which I'll add...

6. Teaching

7. Costumes

8. Cuddly toys (to include babies and round animals)

9. The Internets

(Webcam pumpkin-carving double date with my parents. Obvs.)

Now this is a list of stuff Amanda likes.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Pumpkin Ginger Pecan Cheesecake

Warning: This picture is old.

I say that not because it changes the greatness of this cheesecake. I say that because I don't want you all showing up on my doorstep, demanding pumpkin ginger pecan cheesecake.

Because... you guys... it's really that delicious.

For Thanksgiving two years ago (like I said... old), I wanted to do something traditional... but more exciting. So, instead of a good ol' pumpkin pie, I started researching pumpkin cheesecakes. It had to have been done, right?

And, boy, had it.

I ended up combining the filling from Sweetest Kitchen's Pumpkin Walnut Cheesecake and my own crust of ginger snaps, chopped pecans, sugar, and melted butter.

I riffed Sweetest Kitchen's crumble topping by swapping out the walnuts for my tiny pecans.

Trust me: it was all perfect. Perfect creamy pumpkin sandwiched between rich ginger snaps and sweet, mapley pecans.

Make. It. Tomorrow.

Or for Thanksgiving. Your choice.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Queer Query: E's Root

So... I may have mentioned my boyfriend. Maybe. Once. Or something.

Whatever, she's fun.

Anyway... E is guest blogging tonight about her root. So... without further ado... I'll let her get to it.

My Root

As you can see, I was clearly born this way, so it’s hard to point out one early root to my extreme gayness. There were a few clues, however, such as the ways I related to popular Nickelodeon shows, including but not limited to:

• Hey Dude and Salute Your Shorts: Both shows featured tough lady characters with gender neutral names: Brad, Venus, etc., and involved cowboy garb and cargo shorts.

• Clarissa Explains It All: I desperately wanted to be Clarissa’s neighbor friend Sam. I wanted his haircut, and I wanted his flannel. Most of all, I wanted his constant access to a pretty lady’s bedroom.

• All That: As many of our people do, I’ve always appreciated a variety show. In true lesbian fashion, my favorite sketch featured the deadpan Lori Beth Denberg offering sarcastic Vital Information (For Your Everyday Life). Early love of snarky women…check.

• Doug: I still dream of a closet in which I have 20 sets of exactly the same outfit.

• Nick News: This show helped spark my adult love of current events, and Linda Ellerbee is one bossy bitch. Her wide-shouldered blazers had an early impact on my sense of fashion.

Queer Query: My Root

Yesterday I posed this queer query:

What is one early memory worth sharing that makes you nod your head and say, “Yep. I was born this way?” What is your queer root?

The root of my particular queerness can be traced right back to… Beauty and the Beast.

The Disney movie.

Just think about it:

A nerdy girl who wants more than this provincial life runs off into the woods to rescue her hapless father from certain death at the hands of a legit beast. In order to free her caged father, she must live in the castle and dress up for the beast who’s taken a liking to her. She dutifully puts in time both batting her lashes and scolding this helpless brute, until one night he gets in a fight with another suitor, ascends to the heavens, acquires spirit finger jazz hands, and falls back to earth as the most beautifully effeminate dandy.

In other words, Belle meets someone. Moves in far too soon. Watches her life partner fend off another butch and marries the fairy when the dust settles.

I don’t know how I didn’t see it all along.

I mean. C’mon.

Super gay.

No wonder I ran home from school most days to watch it.

Other "My Root" posts from my friends:
Bren from Buzzcuts and Bustiers
G from Can I Help You, Sir?
Bee at Patriarchy Party Crasher
Timidvenus at Beautiful Suffering
Let me know when you write about your root! I want to read. : )

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

A Queer Query

Last night I went to sleep debating the possibility of participating in NaNoWriMo this month. Do I have time? Am I interested in writing a novel? Justin Bieber and Miley Cyrus wrote autobiographies, so I’m old enough to write a memoir… right?

This morning my usual social network review turned up this post in which Bee determines to blog more in November.



That I could get into: regular posting, a return to a simpler, more prolific time. And, unlike NaNoWriMo, no one would be holding me to word counts. (Oh heeeeey, 50,000 words!)

I excitedly tweeted Bee to let her know I might steal her idea and the whole thing snowballed from there. Folks joining in, sharing ideas, and generally getting excited about writing. There was talk of writing prompts, blog community, and even media moguls… all of it queer.

Do I need to tell you what all of this did for this queer writing teacher’s heart? DO I?!

So… here I am. Writing the first post of my November attempt to blog more. Regularly.

And in this post, I’m going to set up the first prompt for our little queer blogger community. There are no rules, restrictions, or binaries; just respond to the prompt if you want to. I’ll probably come back later tonight to respond to the prompt myself. Here goes nothing!

What is your root?

I’m sure many of us have seen But I’m a Cheerleader. And many of us have joked about our “roots.” If you haven’t seen it, or you’d just like the refresher, enjoy:

Now, we all know that none of these things made our beloved characters gay. Graham’s mom’s wedding pants didn’t force her into lady love.


It’s pretty damn funny to, as a grown ass lesbian, look back on my childhood and point out the queer bits that I didn’t notice at the time. I’d love to tell you about one of my queer roots and read about yours too.

What is one early memory that makes you nod your head and say, “Yep. I was born this way?” Tell us about your root.

Annnnd... Here’s a sneak preview for my root, if you’re interested:

Now... go forth and blog, my friends! About this prompt or about anything your hearts desire! If you do respond to the prompt though, let me know! Send me the link in the comments or on twitter. I want to read!

Thank you all for helping me get back on track with the blog world. : )