Somebody pull the plug, STAT!

May 31, 2011 § 12 Comments

Well, folks, I’ve long suspected it, but today I received confirmation: Pat Robertson has officially lost his fucking mind.

Before I label myself as a watcher of The 700 Club, please allow me to explain. I watch The Today Show most mornings, and especially on the mornings when I have to pay bills (oh, end-of-the-month payday, you fickle, fickle bitch). Sometimes I’ll be busy doing something else and will not change the channel in time to miss The 700 Club‘s ominous opening theme. Today was such a morning. I was caught up in the process of creating a new online account for one of my creditors when I heard the gravelly voice of top hatemonger Pat Robertson. I decided to tune him out, trying like hell to remember the new password I had just created. And then…I heard it. The most-fucking-ridiculous thing I have EVER heard anyone say in my entire life. Ever.

Segueing from a piece on the tragedy that is human sex trafficking in order to introduce a one-on-one interview with The Second Coming of Christ Tim Tebow, Pat Robertson makes the following statement:

“And, you know, people call it a ‘victimless’ crime because the girls want to do it. But, those children don’t want to be sex slaves. It’s disgraceful.”

Uh-huh, uh-huh, uh-whaaaaaaaaaa????

Friends, I would like for you to tell me precisely who calls the crime of human sex trafficking “victimless.”

Who believes that these kidnap victims would rather be whores, bought and sold on the whims of pimps, than, say, happy-go-lucky teenage girls or college students or professionals?

Who believes that these girls willingly go along with it because it’s their preferred choice?

Who believes that these girls haven’t been brainwashed or threatened or beaten into submission?

Who believes that, given the option between returning to their families or spreading their legs for a dollar, these girls prefer the latter?

Come on, Pat Robertson! The only rational adult who would call human sex trafficking “victimless” isn’t really all that rational. What you have described, Pat, is a sociopath.

Fuck you, Pat Robertson. Fuck you and your fucking stupid generalizations and divisive commentary.

So, let me kick this out to you guys, my readers. Is Pat Robertson a fucking liar who just likes to make others outside of his little realm appear to be barbarians? Or has ol’ A.Hab. just completely reamed a defenseless old man who was trying to make a nice point? Have you ever heard anyone call human sex trafficking a victimless crime?

Revisions: In Memoriam

May 30, 2011 § 8 Comments

On this Memorial Day, I am not sitting by the lake eating a hot dog. Nor am I throwing a frisbee around in the park with my dogs. Nor am I swimming off the coast of a white sandy beach.

No, my friends, on this Memorial Day, I am ensconced in my home office, work work working. I’m not looking for sympathy, really. It’s okay. I’ve observed the “holiday” in my own way. (It’s always bothered me that Veteran’s Day and Memorial Day are referred to as “holidays.” These are not exactly happy occasions. Not to my mind anyway.) I have shed a few tears to some rather poignant Memorial Day commercials, and I perused the ads for some great sales I wish I could indulge on, and I did spend my lunch stuffing my eye sockets with Bravo TV.

But mostly, I’ve spent my day paying tribute to the paragraphs, style choices, and quotes that just didn’t quite make the cut. Maybe they failed to make my point. Maybe they distracted from my goal. Maybe they only afforded me the opportunity to sound like a moron. Whatever the reason for their inadequacy, over the past couple of days, those instances have been meticulously excised from chapter drafts.

So, here’s to you, Personification: instead of using the word “I” and wearing my Big Girl Panties to argue with a critic, I relied upon you, Personification, to do the heavy lifting for me. Well, no more. No more shall I say “my dissertation argues that” and “the point argues against his thesis.” You are hereby banished.

Here’s to you, “Qtd. In”: only a marker for laziness, you lured me with the sweet promise that you would sufficiently cover my ass, and you tempted me away from doing my own research for myself. You are a seductress and a siren. But now I am a Greek soldier. Sing all you want, for I have stuffed cotton into my ears. I will forevermore rely on the original text itself.

Here’s to you, Generalization: when I was ashamed of my lack of knowledge, you whispered in my ear, “just say ‘most’ instead.” Little did either of us know, Generalization, employing the word “most” merely begs the questions “who” and “which.” Much like your twin sister “Qtd. In,” you reassured me that I would not need to do additional research. You have likewise been banished from the text. Most of the time.

Here’s to you, Lexical Errors: you shrink away from my eagle eye when I edit, convincing me with your pound puppy whimpers, “but I know what you meant to say….” Allow me to correct your shy attempt at misapprehension: meaning to say and saying are two very different ideas. I will find you, no matter where you hide. And I will eradicate you with proper sentence structure and concision, in spite of your pitiful pouting.

Hand me my screwdriver. I’m in the business of tightening this project.

Happy Early Birthday!

May 29, 2011 § 4 Comments

Today, I worked. Hard.

This evening, we got together with Robert’s family and celebrated his birthday a week early (literally–his birthday is next Monday).

I was able to take the evening off and actually enjoy our time with his family. I didn’t think about my dissertation once…unless someone asked me directly.

I’m truly grateful for evenings like this one. I’m grateful that I have a good relationship with my in-laws. And I’m grateful that Robert comes from such a truly loving family.

Happy early birthday, honey. I hope you enjoy your weeklong celebration!

Happy birthday to you! Happy birthday to you!

Mmm...birthday cake from Shakes! That's vanilla custard in the center, folks. Delish!

Battling the I Don’t Wanna’s, part two: giving in

May 28, 2011 § 9 Comments

Yesterday, I lowered my sword Steel Will, fatigued and drained. I stared up at the Dragon “I Would But” and croaked, “You win.” I fell to my knees, too exhausted to hold up my own body. “I Would But” spewed black bile of guilt, shame, and humiliation over my head, drenching me until I became invisible.

I met V at our coffee shop for our weekly debriefing meetings. In these meetings, we give each other progress reports, offer support and encouragement when it’s needed (and wag our fingers on occasion). Twice while we talked, I felt close to tears. But we were in public, and I had to gain some control over myself. Today, I don’t remember what brought me to tears. It could only have been utter emotional exhaustion.

V left to meet a friend for lunch, and I called Robert. “I don’t think I can do it today, honey,” I murmured over the phone. The shame I felt giving in overpowered my ability to speak at a normal volume. With nary a negative word, Robert agreed. “You have to listen to your body, Amanda,” he consoled me. I went home to my husband and ate lunch. We went to the movies (Hangover 2, which is a must see if you enjoyed the first). We had dinner and caught up on our TiVo recordings. I forgot to write a post.

I rested.

Today I will dig my way through the mire of guilt and humiliation. I will draw up Steel Will once more and climb to my feet. I will engage the idle Dragon in battle. And I will win.

Creative Outlet

May 26, 2011 § 5 Comments

This evening, after a lovely afternoon with my officemate MC, I spent some time with the girls who are in relationships with the former boys’ club. (Even though only half of us are married to the group members of the group, I call us the Wives Club in my head. One day it will be true.) We “wives” (or maybe even “future wives”) spent our evening at a place called Sips ‘n Strokes. Dubious double-entendre aside, this place invites guests to sip their beverage of choice (for us: wine) while learning how to replicate a specific painting (the strokes portion). Tonight’s painting was sunflowers in a vase.

Observe step one:

Incredibly stressful--one of the measurements was actually a hand-width. I was practically trembling!

First, we outlined the general appearance of the painting before actually filling anything in. I thought I was going to die of anxiety. (The worst part of the entire experience, in my humble opinion, is picking up the brush, dipping it in a specific color of paint, and dragging it across the canvas. I hate that part.)

Two and a half hours of “wait, what’d she say” and “damn, I almost dipped my brush in my wine” later, and we had a final product:

Ohhh...it's sunflowers! I get it now!

How this happened is utterly beyond me. But the best part is that I did all of it by myself. Of course, the single caveat to that statement is a great big one: AB helped me a lot. She kept pointing to the places where I needed to fill in more, that sort of thing. She was the brave one who pioneered the canvas while I mimicked her. What I meant to say when I said that I did all of it by myself is that I didn’t have a teacher come and touch it at all. I was definitely tempted a few times, but I plowed on through anyway. So here’s to minor achievements.

And here’s the way my home looks now:

The pretty, framed painting on the left is the watercolor my granddaddy did for me of my bridal bouquet.

And the other two paintings i've done at this place. The one on the far right is the first one I ever did, and the red poppy is the one I painted at my sister's bachelorette party.

Sometimes it’s nice to have a little creative time with the girls. I was fortunate enough to have an entire day with my girl friends. I’m a lucky one! 🙂

Not Selected

May 25, 2011 § 9 Comments

After about an hour of talking on the phone, texting, and e-mailing everyone, it’s now your turn my wonderful, supportive, incredible readers.

...sigh...

I wasn’t accepted My application was not selected for the job I had applied for back in April.

I’m disappointed. And so very sad.

It’s taking a great deal of effort to feel confident now, and to change my phrasing from “I wasn’t accepted” to “my application wasn’t selected.” Both my husband and my father have assured me that it wasn’t a personal attack. So, following the deeply solicited advice from two of the most important men in my life, I am trying to change the way I look at this rejection.

It’s difficult not to see it as a personal attack, especially after I made a point to meet with the director in charge of hiring. I thought I had made a good impression on her, but as the weeks dragged on from April 11th to now, I began to doubt that impression.

I didn’t even get a real interview. I wish I had. Because I have amazing ideas for that job that I didn’t have the opportunity to share with her when we met the first time.

As I said, I’m disappointed and so very sad.

What will August look like now?

I can’t even think about it.

But thank you to all of you who offered me support and encouragement while I prepared to apply for this job, and especially while I waited and waited and waited to hear back. I really drew a great deal of comfort and confidence from you all.

Scrumptious Second Anniversary

May 24, 2011 § 5 Comments

Only one word can describe the meal Robert and I prepared together for our second anniversary: scrumptious!

Robert grilled steaks that had been rubbed down with olive oil and a dry steak rub while I cooked potatoes au gratin (and used a mandolin slicer for the very first time–I liked it!). Dessert was finished in time to put the potatoes into the oven.

Here’s our dinner table:

As we were setting the table, I realized that we had forgotten a veggie. Oops.

The delicious, deep red wine featured here is a Tempranillo by Biltmore. If you’ve never had it, I think it’s freaking amazing. We had been saving it from our trip to the Biltmore with our friends back in September. It’s extremely robust, dry, and blooms all the way down. Like I said, I adore it!!

For dessert, we had a yummy cinnamon swirl coffee cake, which I had never made before. In fact, I had just found the recipe on-line that afternoon. It was so delicious.

Delicioso!

I drizzled a powdered sugar glaze over the top of it and finished it with a sprinkling of powdered sugar.

And here’s the inside:

OMG, can I have my dessert before dinner tonight, please??

The dark line you see there is the cinnamon “swirl.” Sure, it didn’t really swirl but whatever. It’s in there and it’s delicious. The recipe calls for a cinnamon and granulated sugar mixture for the swirl. I read some of the comments and chose to go with a cinnamon and brown sugar swirl. I think the color contrast is really appealing, and the flavor is incredible!

I also used Swan’s cake flour instead of all-purpose flour. I found the cake to be crumbly, but I think a lot of coffee cakes are pretty crumbly. (I can’t imagine what it would have been like if I had used AP!)

Last night, I went to bed with a full and happy tummy. And maybe I was a little bit tipsy, too. Just a perfect anniversary!

730 days of wedded bliss

May 23, 2011 § 2 Comments

Today Robert and I celebrate our second wedding anniversary! 🙂

As I write this, our dinner is cooking, the cake for dessert is cooling, and Robert is preparing the dinner table. He bought me the prettiest floral arrangement from a local florist and surprised me with it this afternoon.

And they smell as lovely as they look, too!

Two years ago this evening, we were taking pictures and having dinner with our family and friends.

One year ago this evening, we were in Destin, gorging ourselves on the most delicious fondue meal we’d ever had at the Melting Pot.

Tonight, we’re having steaks, potatoes au gratin (which I’ve never made before), and cinnamon coffee bundt cake (also, a new recipe I’d never made before).

I considered making a red velvet cake for our dessert, since that was what our wedding cake was (well, half of it, anyway–each tier was made of both vanilla cake and red velvet cake, which is a combination of our favorite flavors). But the process was a bit messier than I was interested in doing over a single afternoon.

This dinner, though, will be totally delicious. 🙂 I love that after two years, we’re enjoying a quiet dinner at home. One that we both had a hand in making. I love that we know each other’s food preferences so well that we can make a delicious dinner for each other without having to ask whether or not the other likes that food.

We have shifted from those exciting, butterfly days of getting to know one another. Now we have created our little home, started our little family of two (plus the four furry ones), and we’re happy as can be.

Here’s to two years.

I love you, my most favorite person in the whole world. 🙂

In celebration

May 22, 2011 § 8 Comments

Two years ago today, I was practicing a walk down the aisle.

Two years ago today, I held hands with my favorite person in the whole world and echoed the priest’s dialogue.

Two years ago today, I giggled my way through the mime, through the playing pretend.

Two years ago today, I prepared to step forward into a new identity, a new skin, a new life, a new relationship.

Two years ago today, I mingled with family and friends the last day I would be known by my maiden name.

Two years ago today, I slept fitfully, filled with anxiety and excitement for what the next day would bring.

Today, I am celebrating with the one person who knows exactly how I feel before I can even form the words.

Today, I am stronger, happier, better than I have ever been before.

Today, I have started a home with the only man who could make that home as warm and loving as it is.

On the eve of our second anniversary, I am flooded with comparisons of my old life and this one. I am hardly the same person any more.

And I have Robert to thank for that.

Enraptured

May 21, 2011 § Leave a comment

So…I didn’t get raptured today. Anyone else out there just mildly disappointed? 😉

I’m joking, of course.

Why, if I were raptured, I wouldn’t be able to complete my Post-A-Day Challenge on WordPress.com!

All jokes about death and ascension into Heaven aside, today has been a decent day. I proctored a practice LSAT exam this morning, came home and napped, and now Robert and I are recovering from binging eating dinner at Five Guys. We love it there because (as far as we can tell), their soy usage is limited to their buns. They use peanut oil (yes, yes, not super nutritious) instead of vegetable oil (which contains a ton of soy). Robert tells me that Five Guys doesn’t leave him feeling as ill as other hamburger joints, so that’s our go-to one.

I guess if I were to write a post about the failed rapture, I would generally point out that the “signs” (earthquakes, tsunamis, torrential downpours, tornadoes, economic disasters, wars, worldwide social unrest) are actually what constitute “normal life.” Does it suck that our world has experienced these recent disasters? Absolutely. Is it possible that the disasters indicate that we’re destroying our world while we’re living on it? I think there’s a strong chance. But could it also just be summer? (I’m thinking particularly of the tornadoes that recently ripped through the South.) Tornadoes are not unheard-of here, nor are hurricanes or mighty gusting winds or torrential downpours or flash floods. We might even get an earthquake or two. But it just doesn’t strike me that, as disastrous as these disasters are, they are indicative in any way that we are somehow seeing the prophetic warnings of a vengeful deity.

It feels silly even just to type it out.

Maybe what we ought to be figuring out, instead of preparing for the end of the world, maybe we ought to be figuring out how to live with one another while we’re here.

In the meantime, I’m glad I wasn’t raptured today. I have a lot of life left to live. And I’m glad the rest of you weren’t raptured today, too. I look forward to learning more about our human-sameness through knowing all of you.

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