Baby, It’s Cold Outside

Baby, It’s Cold Outside

I feel like you have to have been living under a rock lately to not realize that people seem to be REALLY reaching for things to be offended by. Case in point: Baby It’s Cold Outside, written in 1944 is all of the sudden so offensive that radio stations are pulling it from their Christmas air play rotation in droves. Why? Apparently it’s a little rapey, overbearing, and generally creepy. 

I’m not always the biggest fan of Christmas music, since I work in retail and get the pleasure of listening to it for 6 weeks of the year. It gets a little annoying, but I LOVE Baby It’s Cold Outside. In fact, this song was my go to jam in the car all weekend long. It was a weekend of Car Karaoke featuring me, myself, and I, and this song was the most requested, by me, and performed by me, and not once was I offended by any of the lyrics. Why? Because I realize this song was written in nineteen forty freaking four when a gal had to at least make a show of saying she needed to leave a boy’s house when she really wanted to stay. That’s why there’s the back and forth of “I really should go. Ok, I’ll stay for another drink. Ok, now I really should go. What will everyone think. Ok, I’ll stay for a cigarette.” And so on and so forth. Do we know if she really left? No, but we know it’s cold outside, and she didn’t really want to leave anyway. 

Sure, if you look at the lyrics to this song as if they were written today, they seem a whole lot more sinister, but let’s be honest…. If this song were written today, in a day and age where you literally summon strangers from the internet using an app on your smart phone so you can hook up whenever and wherever you want (Related: THIS makes dating rather than hooking up in this day and age a special kind of hell!), the song would be insanely short, written post smash and feature a quick Nicki Minaj or Pitbull cameo. It would be an auto-tuned mess and go something like this: You really should go. (But baby it’s cold outside.) Aight boo, I guess you can wait for your Uber inside, but lock the door behind you.

But don’t let Baby It’s Cold Outside take all of the offensive Christmas song credit. Here’s some more that are equally offensive if you really want to find trivial reasons to be offended. 

  •  I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus: did we really just subject children to seeing their mom as part of an extramarital affair? And did Santa have mommy’s consent?  I sure hope so!
  • The Christmas Song: Open fire?! Really? Think of the pollution. What about folks dressed up like Eskimos? Can we say cultural appropriation being blatantly celebrated? And what about the chestnuts and people with nut allergies? Sugar plums dancing through heads of children that might have diabetes…
  • Is dreaming of a White Christmas racist?
  • Santa Claus is Coming to Town: He sees you when you’re sleeping. He knows when you’re awake. Well…is Santa a stalker or what?!
  • How about celebrating the blatant bullying in Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer?  
  • Santa Baby: If ever there was a song to teach your daughters to be gold diggers, this is it!
  • Surely All I Want For Christmas Is My Two Front Teeth is offensive to all of those poor unfortunate souls who have lost all of their teeth to meth…

I could go on and on and on with completely asinine reasons to be offended by nearly every Christmas song ever written, but I won’t, because I’m literally sitting at my desk laughing to myself at how the people who are so worked up over a Christmas song that is over 7 decades old are probably the same people who are dressing their daughters up in adorable dance costumes and stage makeup for their dance recitals. Recitals where they will dance to some of the most popular songs in the country, which are either subtly or overtly sexual in content without even batting an eye, but a playful Christmas song from 1944 is offensive and should never see air time again. And besides….if you’re going to be offended by something in that song, be offended by the fact that he’s setting her up for a lifelong addiction and possibility for lung cancer with that cigarette she’s staying for. 

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It’s the most wonderful time of the year. (But not really…)

It’s the most wonderful time of the year. (But not really…)

The 4th quarter is my least favorite time of the entire year. Yes, it’s even worse than the 6 weeks of summer where I don’t get a single day off and am stuck in town for the long haul. I mean, I don’t HATE everything about the 4th quarter, but the parties for hosting, gay happy meetings, misteltoeing, and caroling out in the snow are just not my cup of eggnog. (Oh yeah, and eggnog is gross too.) I don’t watch Hallmark style Christmas movies unless I’m REALLY deep in to a self loathing cycle, and I could do without Christmas music in any form except classical until the day of Christmas.

“But Annalee, what kind of Christmas movies do you watch then?”

Good question! The Die Hard franchise, The Long Kiss Goodnight, Gremlins, and Bad Santa. Who needs feel good Christmas movies anyway?!

 But I digress, this isn’t an “I hate Christmas” post. Far from it actually. I love the excitement little kids have on Christmas, and I love the serving others part of the holidays. What I hate, is that after Halloween, the remainder of the 4th quarter is basically a whole lot of “Will you be bringing anybody with you this year” or “Hey, can I steal you from your family tonight so everyone will just question my sexual orientation instead of wondering why I’m still single?” Yep…It’s 2 full months of Valentine’s Day-like hell.

 I’m usually pretty good at avoiding this line of questioning really. It’s easy; I just hang with the kids. They’re usually more fun anyway. This year, however, one of my very oldest friends is getting married in the beginning of December. This guy has pulled me through some pretty rough times. Namely, when my parents got divorced, and he took it upon himself (with the help of his kick ass girlfriend at the time) to make sure I was eating and sleeping. I was the permanent third wheel in their relationship for at least a month. So he’s getting married, and I’m not even sad that I’m losing my “If we’re both single when we’re 45, we’ll just get married” back up plan. (Rom-Com plot…gross! Also, I don’t think it was 45 either, but we haven’t quite reached that age yet, so it works) Here’s what sucks about this. He’s getting married on a weekend. The ONLY weekend that I could fly to the PNW for a quick wedding weekend, and I don’t have a soul to go with me.

 I know what you’re thinking. I thought about it too. There’s only like 5 million Hallmark style Christmas movies with the same plot. I could ask a guy friend to go with me, or hire a stranger to come with me and pretend that we’ve been quietly dating for months. We’d go to the wedding, get snowed in during a rare Portland blizzard, and fall madly in love before we have to come home. Yeah, I just threw up a little in my mouth too. This is precisely the reason I won’t just ask a guy friend to come with me. I can’t turn my life in to the plot of a Christmas movie, especially when I’m absolutely certain those kind of Christmas movies exist only to make single people feel even worse about themselves during the time of year when everyone is coupled up and happily celebrating. So, even though I’m DYING to wear that black Michael Kors in a public setting, I’m skipping the wedding in favor of crashing their life for a weekend during the summer when we can all chill, instead of spending a week’s worth of wages to play dress up and hang out with a bunch of people I don’t know. It’ll be better weather, and there won’t be the winter season PLUS wedding weirdness that comes along with still not seeing anyone. As an added bonus, I won’t have to hear “You’re such a nice girl, I just don’t understand why someone hasn’t just snatched you right up.” At least I’m not alone in this though. You see, as I was sitting in my office throwing myself one hell of a pity party because I had convinced myself that I can’t go to a winter wedding alone, even though I really need some Jones brothers in my life soon, when the real reason is that 8 days prior to the wedding, the county I live in will be stealing all of my discretionary spending money in the form of a giant ass property tax bill, I received a snapchat from another dear friend of mine. It was a picture of the invitation to her office Christmas party captioned “Please tell me I’m not the only one who gets severe anxiety at the idea of going to a Christmas Party alone. I know I could take one of my girl friends, but I’m sick of going without a guy. I’m tempted to call up an ex and see if he’ll go with me just so rumors stop about me being a lesbian… Or so I don’t have to feel self-conscious walking in and sitting by myself.” You are definitely not alone…. Solidarity sister. This single shit is hard, but at least we don’t have someone blaming us when they’re the ones who burned the dinner beyond recognition, so there’s that.
Bee stings in the burbs

Bee stings in the burbs

Have you ever met someone and you clicked instantly?  Like, sometimes you meet someone, and it’s so clear that the two of you, on some level belong together. As lovers, or as friends, or as family, or as something entirely different. You just work, whether you understand one another, or you’re in love, or you’re partners in crime. You meet these people throughout your life, out of nowhere, under the strangest of circumstances, and they help you feel alive.

I feel pretty lucky to have a few of these people in my life. Most recently, the one I met 3 years ago. He’s one of my best friends. Sometimes he has girlfriends who don’t mind it, sometimes they go batshit crazy because someone who he considers to be his best friend isn’t standing to pee like he does. I wish I knew if this was just a crazy girl thing, but I don’t really date, so I don’t know if guys would be chill with me having a BFF with different parts in the pants than I do or not. I mean, I’m sure the right one wouldn’t have an issue, but there are probably just as many fragile male egos as there are batshit crazy girls. Fortunately he isn’t one of those assholes who can only be friends with me when his girlfriend likes me, which probably makes them even more angry about this whole friendship, and again, makes him even cooler in my book for not just saying “Sorry…it’s just not worth the drama at home.”

The problem with having best friends who live 3 hours away is that you don’t get to see them anywhere nearly often enough, so you take advantage of any opportunity you manage to grab. This weekend, I was in Salt Lake, and only 20 minutes away from him for meetings. He had his kids, so we met at a park about 3 minutes away from his place so they could play and we could chat for a minute. The problem: his place is clear TF out in the suburbs southwest of SLC, in a place I like to “affectionately” call Almost Utah County. You can ALMOST feel the Utah County pretentiousness right there in Riverton. I hate the suburbs. I am a downtown girl. I know, it makes no sense considering where I live in rural UT, but whatever. I’m allowed to hate the burbs, and I do. BUT, I love those kids of his….he’s not so bad either, so it was worth the trip.

Do you have any idea how heart exploding cool it is to see someone’s kid jump out of the car, yell your name, and RUN to you to give you a hug when they see you? Kids and dogs…I’m telling you, they can sense evil, so when kids have this kind of excited reaction to seeing you, you know you’re doing something right with your life, no matter what some people think. Two hours of being the coolest person in the world (Yeah….even cooler than their dad for a little bit) was good for my soul.

Playing with kids who get that excited to see you is THE best therapy in the world. Even if that therapy includes getting stung by a bee for what I think may have been the first time in my entire life, and finding out I’m a little more than mildly allergic to them. Bee stings in the burbs….make that one more reason why I hate suburbia. Also, holy mother forking shirtballs…. bee stings hurt like a son of a B! Seriously, that little black and yellow asshole must have stung right on a nerve or something, because that STILL hurts more than 24 hours later. It’s also super sensitive to cold, and by sensitive, I mean washing my hands in anything short of water that is so hot it probably came from the depths of hell, where that bee was likely sent from, sends shooting pain from my thumb, all the way up to my elbow. In addition to that, there’s a nice area of red swelling that I decided needed to be traced in black pen so I can track any expansion and decide if I need to pay a visit to my doctor. Here’s the fun part of that. The redness goes up my thumb and has a bit of an awkward oval shape at the bottom of it, extending in to my palm. Yeah….it looks like I have a crudely drawn male appendage on my hand, so thank God there aren’t small children at my house to explain that one to.

Bee stings in the burbs, proximity to Utah County, and somehow staying conscious enough to drive 3 hours after taking Benadryl….they’re all risks worth taking for a couple of hours with 2 of the sweetest little guys around. And I don’t think it’s any coincidence that as I got in my car to go home, as turned the volume up, I was greeted with some POD just as this song was ending to hear “Now that I know you (I could never turn my back away). Now that I see you (I could never look away). I feel so alive for the very first time, And I think I can fly. ”  (And truthfully, I’ve taken enough Benadryl in the last 24 hours, and had enough caffeine in an attempt to negate the “you can’t have an allergic reaction if you’re unconscious” promise of that little pink and white pill, that I feel like I just may be flying…in my head anyway.)

The one with the regret

The one with the regret

I’m not the kind of person who typically regrets anything. I have a huge parenting regret though, and I didn’t even realize it until this weekend.

I’ve struggled with eating disorders since I was 13 years old. That’s just over a quarter of a century dealing with an eating disorder for those of you who know me and are doing the math. I WISH I was as fat as I was when I first thought I was fat. Mother eff…I REALLY wish I was as fat as I was when I was when I was 3 months in to post baby, depression fueled anorexia. If you know me now, you’ll see that I CLEARLY beat anorexia though. I mean, I’m not morbidly obese or anything (even if that’s what I see in the mirror…thanks to the eating disorder brain), but my body definitely says “loves tacos and tequila…and all the rest of the food.”

Here’s where this leads to the regret. I think it must be a universal thing that kids love the water. I have yet to meet a kid that doesn’t love to swim, slip-n-slide, run through sprinklers, or anything that involves a swimming suit and water. I live by some amazing lakes, we can swim in the river, and we have a pretty kick ass rec center pool. Do you want to know how many times I put on a swimming suit and took advantage of any of those experiences with my kid? Aside from a year or so where I had someone in my life who was seeing me naked on the regular, so it didn’t really matter how fat I thought I looked in a swimming suit at the lake with him and the kids (his and mine, not ours), I can count them on one hand. That’s not to say my kid was totally deprived of all water experiences. I just didn’t experience them with him. I sat on the sidelines, like so many other moms, terrified of what people would think of me if I just put on the damn bathing suit and joined my kid in the water.

This weekend, my best friend brought his kids to the tiny town I live in. They stayed at a hotel, partly so they had their own space with no questions back home as to the sleeping arrangements at my place, and partly because it’s been a loooooong time since I’ve had a toddler in my house, and it is NOT a toddler friendly place. (That, and I don’t have TV, so I needed something to help with the cool factor that I would have otherwise been COMPLETELY lacking…) Of course, since there are no Hilton properties in my town, and I refuse to willingly spend any of my money on any Marriott property ever, I just picked the nicer of the 2 hotels near my house, and made sure the pool was in working order before I made reservations for them.

Because this friend is one of the few people in the world I feel 100% comfortable around, you can bet I joined them in the pool, and you know what? Those kids didn’t care one bit that I am without a doubt packing around a few thousand (slight exaggeration) extra pounds. They didn’t care that once my top was wet, it clung painfully and uncomfortably close to my food baby. (Alright, alright…it wasn’t PHYSICALLY painful and uncomfortable….but you guys…I have an eating disorder brain, and the mental struggle was real.) You know what they did care about? They cared that I could balance on one foot, while the 9-year-old stood on my thigh, counting to 3 before I pushed him as high as possible out of the water so he could come crashing back down in to it for maximum splashing. They cared that I could lift the 3-year-old out of the water and on to the side so he could jump back in to me, and make sure I kept his head out of the water over, and over, and over again. They cared that I could do that for 2 solid hours, two different times that day. ALL they cared about was that there was someone there, playing with them, in the freaking water. The sheer joy was infectious. I haven’t had so much fun in the town where I live in YEARS.

I missed out on the one and only chance I had to experience things like this with my own kid. I missed out on that kind of pure joy because I was too damn worried about what other people would think if they saw me in a swimming suit, and after this weekend, I regret the hell out of that.  It’s one of the few things I’d change if I could rewind and try again. So learn from me being soooooo incredibly stupid, and just put on the damn swimming suit and play in the water with those tiny humans of yours. They’ll never forget it, and either will you.

Dating advice from the serial single…OR…You don’t turn down a date to a football game.

Dating advice from the serial single…OR…You don’t turn down a date to a football game.

I had quite the text message exchange with a friend who was looking for some dating advice today. It went a little like this:

Friend: Hey, I met this guy. He seems pretty cool and he wants me to go to a football game with him this weekend.
Me: Not that it matters, but met him, met him or Tinder met him?
Friend: Tinder met him.
Me: Tell me more about the football game?
Friend: It’s the one in Salt Lake.
Me: Ahh…So he wants to take you to the Utes game at Rice Eccles tomorrow?
Friend: Yeah. That’s the one. He said he has tickets on like the 50 yard line. Are those good? I just don’t know if I WANT to go to the football game.
Me: *in complete disbelief of that luck* Where exactly on the 50 yard line?
Friend: Like the 5th row or something.
Me: 5th row down from the top, or up from the field?
Friend: Up from the field. Why, are those good tickets?
Me: Why exactly do you not want to go to the game?
Friend: I just don’t know if I like him enough to spend the time tailgating and at the game with him.
Me: What about him do you not like enough to spend that kind of time with him?
Friend: Well….he’s really fun to talk to, and I know it sounds shallow, but I don’t really think he’s all that cute.
Me: As shallow as it sounds, with tickets like that at Rice Eccles, he doesn’t have to be. Besides, you swiped right, and didn’t un-match with him, so there’s that.
Friend: I don’t know why I ask you for dating advice.
Me: Either do I. Go to the game.
Friend: What if I REALLY can’t stand him after the tailgating? Can I just leave then?
Me: No. But you can change in to purple and cheer for UW, thank him for the freaking amazing ticket to the game, and tell him you have a friend with much better taste if he needs someone to go to the USC or Oregon games with him.
Friend: You suck.
Me: Not for free 😉
Friend: I should have known you’d say that. I’ll snap you from the game.

This is why you don’t ask your smart ass single friend for dating advice. Or maybe any advice really….

It’s not always who you think it is.

It’s not always who you think it is.

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If you broke a bone, people would want to sign your cast. If you had a cold, people would offer all kinds of tried and true home remedies for that. If you had cancer, the sympathy and help would pour in. We are 100% OK with helping people with visible illnesses, and that is amazing.

Collectively, we suck when it comes to acknowledging mental illnesses and struggles though. We think that telling someone “you just need to snap out of it,” or “it could be worse,” or “it’s all in your head,” or “there’s more to life than….” is all it takes to magically “fix” people when they just aren’t OK. MAYBE hearing something like that is enough for a few people, but honestly, it’s more likely to just make someone feel even worse, and isolated, and alone.

Monday (9/10) this week was World Suicide Prevention Day. Worldwide, the suicide statistics are pretty damn alarming. Every 40 seconds someone in the world commits suicide, and for every one of those people, it’s estimated another 20 people attempt suicide, or have serious suicidal thoughts. Every 40 seconds. Every. Single. Day.  It goes without saying that we should ALL check on our people, and often. Touch base with your freaking friends and family once in a while, and not just the ones that you think might be depressed, because the truth is, depression looks a whole hell of a lot different than you think it does.

Hollywood depression is easy to recognize: sad, withdrawn, never socializes, cries a lot, sleeps a lot, wears a lot of black, maybe drinks or uses drugs excessively. You’ve seen it in the movies and on TV; you know what I’m talking about. Hollywood depressed is easy to be concerned about, but it’s not all Hollywood depression.

Depression also looks like this:

  • Working 70 hours in 5 days every week to try to stay on top of your finances and having absolutely nothing left to give at the end of the day.
  • Not sleeping at night even though you’re exhausted because it simply takes too much effort to shut your brain down enough to sleep.
  • Spending an ungodly amount of money (that you should probably put towards your own debt) to help someone else survive because at least this way it feels like you’re doing something good for someone.
  • Always feeling like you need to be the “fixer” for other people, because you know what broken feels like, and you don’t want other people to experience that.
  • Being the funny one
  • Buying new clothes even though they absolutely are not in the budget, because the thought of doing laundry is just far too overwhelming.
  • Throwing your dishes away and buying new ones because the kid “cleaned” his room and brought 6 million dirty dishes to the kitchen and left them for you to do.
  • 2 naps on a Saturday because you don’t have anything better to do, and that mess in the house will still be there tomorrow anyway. Besides, you worked 70 hours in the 5 previous days, so it’s not like you don’t deserve to relax.
  • Avoiding church activities so you don’t have to answer questions about your personal life, or complete lack thereof.
  • Spending all the time with the kids because they adore you and you just need someone to think you’re worth it, even if they are 3 years old.
  • Being the one who is constantly there for everyone, no matter when, and no matter what they need, all while wishing someone would just want to do for you even 1/10 of what you do for other people.

Obviously that’s not an all-inclusive list. The point remains though, that depression looks different for EVERYBODY. Some people handle it differently than others, and obviously some people have a much more difficult time with it than others. Just because someone seems like they have everything going their way, doesn’t mean they aren’t struggling.

There’s a reason you often hear “I had no idea they were struggling until it was too late.” Life is unbelievably difficult, and the strong ones need support from their people every bit as much as the people they are always working so hard to make sure things are OK for. Check on your people. Yes, even the strong ones. Especially the strong ones.

 

 

RIP to my brain

RIP to my brain

Facebook keeps reminding me that I haven’t posted in a while. What Facebook doesn’t know is that it’s because I’ve been a little busy here working on some political things, and trying to maintain a shred of sanity while working 70+ hours a week and not having any time to escape the tiny town I live in to get some real life saving time in the city. Anyway, I’m pretty sure that’s all made the last functioning brain cells I have left abandon ship, so instead of being able to compose something somewhat intelligent about some of the actual kick ass things I’ve been doing lately, you can get to know me just a little bit with this “30 questions adult version” I’ve been tagged in no less than 30 times on Facebook this week alone.

1. What bill do you hate paying the most?
I hate paying for all of them except my insurance, and that’s only because my insurance agents are THE best. Seriously, I pay my bill and then we chat for a while (sometimes over cocktails) about the people who are driving us crazy.
2. When was the last time you had a romantic dinner?
Does wine in the shower count as a romantic dinner?
3. What do you really want to be?
Relaxed, well rested, and content.
4. How many colleges did you go to?
I kind of burned myself out in High School and made some bad life decisions afterward. So…I’ve taken a few classes at a couple of different colleges, but that’s about it.
5. Why did you choose the shirt you have on?
Simple: It was clean.
6. Thoughts on gas prices right now?
It doesn’t matter what gas costs, I don’t want to walk, so I’m paying whatever it is.
7. First thought when the alarm goes off in the morning?
“So….here’s another day of waking up to an alarm instead of morning sex or breakfast in bed.”
8. Last thought you had before you went to bed?
Literally woke up at 3am with my phone on my face, so considering I fell asleep while binge watching season 4 of The Last Ship, my last thought was probably “I should probably plug the iPad in.”
9. Do you miss being a child?
I miss not having adult responsibilities, but that’s about it.
10. What errand/chore do you despise the most?
Cleaning in general.
11. Up early or sleep in?
I don’t even know how to sleep in anymore. Is this something that comes with getting old? Because I think only old people consider 6am sleeping in….
12. Found love yet?
Yeah…but not in a way that is ever going to result in the end of people asking me when I’m going to settle down and get married, so there’s that.
13.Favorite lunch meat?
I prefer lunch cocktails.
14. What do you get every time at Wal-Mart?
Anxiety. I avoid that place like the freaking plague.
15. Beach or lake?
They’re both water. I’m at home in either location. I prefer the beach, but a lake will do.
16. Who mows your lawn?
I’ve managed to cut down on the lawn needing to be mowed by simply not watering it. For real. I shouldn’t even own a home. An apartment with a little balcony to sit on and read or chat with friends and no yard to take care of would be absolutely perfect.
17. Is marriage over rated?
Probably not, but I know a whole lot of miserable married people, so who really knows.
18. Ever crashed a vehicle?
Unfortunately, yes.
19. Do you make your bed?
Of course, but it’s not something I’m a stressed out bed making Nazi about…
20. Strangest place you’ve brushed your teeth?
What the hell kind of question is this? Like are there people who brush their teeth on a roller coaster, or while scuba diving or something?
21. What is your bedtime?
Whenever I can’t stay awake anymore.
22. Somewhere you’ve never been but want to go?
Fiji, Hawaii, Iceland, to sleep for 10 solid hours…..the possibilities are endless.
23. Your favorite vacation you’ve ever been on?
Have you ever experienced the joy of taking a kid to Disneyland? It’s the best thing in the world. Favorite vacation sans kid though? Adult trips to Vegas are always a solid choice!
24. At this point in your life would you want to start a new career?
It’s something I consider on a daily basis.
25. Do you have a go to person?
Several of them.
26. Are you where you want to be in life?
Am I currently a trophy wife who does brunches and CrossFit and has a nice budget for philanthropy? No, so I’m not where I WANT to be in life, but I’m exactly where I NEED to be.
27. Growing up what were your favorite cartoons?
I only had cartoons on Saturday morning growing up. We took what we got.
28. Are you a parent yet?
Meanest mom in the world 19 years and counting.
29. What do you think has changed about you since you are older?
Besides the gray hair? I’ve finally learned that it’s ok to say “no” to people, and I care a whole lot less about the opinions of people who think I’m going to hell because I don’t live up to their standards.
30. What do you miss the most about being a kid?
Easy: spending every single day of the summer at the pool. That, and not paying bills.