A Side of Rice

Hopefully Humorous (and sometimes R-rated) Musings About Life


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I usually write funny stuff. Self-deprecating stuff. Making fun of ego-driven celebrities stuff. And then there are times when I want to share something much more important.

Yesterday, my family and I were cleaning out closets to make a donation to the Frederick Rescue Mission. Our home had plenty of clothes, shoes and linens that we have outgrown or no longer need. We have an embarrassment of riches.

Our riches include more than clothes and linens — there is furniture, food, warmth in the Winter and — when there isn’t a major malfunction — cooling in the Summer. We have family we can count on. We own our home. Our kids play sports that require registration fees and lots of expensive equipment. We have really good health care through my employer, which is a boon when you have two boys. We have two labrador retriever mixes that we adopted from a rescue. Our cars are in great shape. The community we live in is overwhelmingly supportive and full of lots of wonderful people.

So when a friend on Facebook posted a poem, asking folks to read it in the context of the rampant state of anger and nastiness exhibited in today’s political climate, I did.

I thought about what this poem shares from the perspective of people who do not have an embarrassment of riches. People who barely have the basic necessities. Heck, some people who have only the clothes on their backs.

It makes me forever grateful and humble that my “Home” is not the mouth of a shark.

Note: poem copied in its entirety and not redacted for offensive language.

“Home” by Warsan Shire

no one leaves home unless
home is the mouth of a shark
you only run for the border
when you see the whole city running as well

your neighbors running faster than you
breath bloody in their throats
the boy you went to school with
who kissed you dizzy behind the old tin factory
is holding a gun bigger than his body
you only leave home
when home won’t let you stay.

no one leaves home unless home chases you
fire under feet
hot blood in your belly
it’s not something you ever thought of doing
until the blade burnt threats into
your neck
and even then you carried the anthem under
your breath
only tearing up your passport in an airport toilets
sobbing as each mouthful of paper
made it clear that you wouldn’t be going back.

you have to understand,
that no one puts their children in a boat
unless the water is safer than the land
no one burns their palms
under trains
beneath carriages
no one spends days and nights in the stomach of a truck
feeding on newspaper unless the miles travelled
means something more than journey.
no one crawls under fences
no one wants to be beaten
pitied

no one chooses refugee camps
or strip searches where your
body is left aching
or prison,
because prison is safer
than a city of fire
and one prison guard
in the night
is better than a truckload
of men who look like your father
no one could take it
no one could stomach it
no one skin would be tough enough

the
go home blacks
refugees
dirty immigrants
asylum seekers
sucking our country dry
niggers with their hands out
they smell strange
savage
messed up their country and now they want
to mess ours up
how do the words
the dirty looks
roll off your backs
maybe because the blow is softer
than a limb torn off

or the words are more tender
than fourteen men between
your legs
or the insults are easier
to swallow
than rubble
than bone
than your child body
in pieces.
i want to go home,
but home is the mouth of a shark
home is the barrel of the gun
and no one would leave home
unless home chased you to the shore
unless home told you
to quicken your legs
leave your clothes behind
crawl through the desert
wade through the oceans
drown
save
be hunger
beg
forget pride
your survival is more important

no one leaves home until home is a sweaty voice in your ear
saying-
leave,
run away from me now
i dont know what i’ve become
but i know that anywhere
is safer than here


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Well, That’s the Pitts

Unless you’ve been living under a rock this week — or have all your entertainment alerts set to ‘Kardashian only’ (shame on you, if that’s the case) — you’ve heard the news that the Jolie-Pitt marriage has finished/ended.

And since they are such a globally aware couple now a pair of ‘normal’, heading-toward-a-nasty-divorce pair of adults, here’s how we say it’s over in any language —

  • Afwerking (Dutch – and so fun to say!)
  • Finir (French – for their neighbors in France, where they have a castle/estate)
  • fini (Haitian Creole – in honor of New Orleans, where they have a $3+ million dollar home)
  • បញ្ចប់ (Khmer – official language of Cambodia, for son Maddox’s fans)
  • hoàn thành (Vietnamese – in honor of son Pax’s fans)
  • Chereshe (Amharic, official language of Ethiopia, for daughter Zahara’s fans)
  • “50/50-ed” (nickname Californians have for how you divvy up the estate)
  • Overflate (Norwegian — which might actually be best for describing their egos)

There has been much speculation about this surprise Hollywood breakup… it’s all because of Angelina’s supposed OCD … it’s definitely Brad’s alleged marijuana use … it’s that their last movie By the Sea sucked something awful … it’s because TMZ needing to goose ratings.

Whatever it actually is, I’ll tell you what this break up/divorce isn’t. It isn’t…

  • shocking that two strong-willed, determined, and professionally-minded people find that they have grown apart
  • going to keep the Kardashians out of the news…unfortunately
  • nearly as newsworthy as Entertainment Tonight, TMZ, Access Hollywood, E!, or The Washington Post have made it out to be
  • brimming with the potential to be as entertaining to watch as the shit show called an election we already have going on in 2016
  • anything Taylor Swift hasn’t already written a thinly-veiled revenge song about
  • the excuse I can use to get out of working my concession stand duty
  • something special that any couple with kids hasn’t already gone through if they have divorced

So … maybe … being no more special than ordinary people who have to deal with this every day with far less fame, money, and access to cut-throat divorce attorneys is the the real reason this situation is the pits for the Jolie-Pitts.


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Becky Who?

In case you’ve been living under a rock, Beyonce dropped a visual album last weekend. Suddenly, everyone’s thirst for celebrity gossip is being quenched by Lemonade. More like sour grapes, if you ask me.

And everyone wants to know who the fuck ‘Becky with the good hair’ is. There has been much speculation about who the home-wrecker could be, much to the delight of those of us who bask in the train-wreckdom that can be celebrity.

Or maybe, everyone is just anxious to prove they are not ‘Becky with the good hair’. Like Rachel Roy (who I, too, might confuse with Rachel Ray):Skimm Image

or pop singer Rita Ora…

Eonline Becky Pic

or Full House actress Lori Loughlin…Becky Full House

Even Iggy Azalea is determined to clear her name, which — hello, you narcissistic twit — wasn’t even in the running…Iggy the Idiot

So as Beckys and non-Beckys everywhere start denying the moniker of mistress/homewrecker/cheater, this Becky is here to say…

Becky with the good hair

You know how you’d know it was me that Queen Bee was talking about? If she had sung:

Becky with a shit ton of laundry to foldLaundry to Fold

Becky with an absolute disdain for working the little league concession standSno Cones

Becky who is about 2 weeks late with the Root Touch-up In spite of what my roots would have you believe, I was not a skunk for Halloween
Becky with a bad sunburnSunburn Face

Becky with a bunch of crazy ass sports mom friends who love doing Fireball shotsSports Moms

Becky with a lack of selfie-taking skillsBad Selfie

So, let’s face it. I may be Becky with 99 problems, but being the Becky ain’t one.


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Change I Can Live With

If you’re an uncool mom like me, you don’t love/like/care about/know any of today’s one-hit wonders in the pop music world. To me, all of them are inter-changeable without any distinguishing features. Or much talent.

I became interested in music in the late-70s and 80s, and my tastes morphed as I grew up:

  • in middle school, it was classic rock icons like Zeppelin, The Doors, The Rolling Stones, AC/DC, The Beatles and others so that my street cred with the older kids I was trying to impress would be boosted
  • in high school, I swooned over bad-boy rock bands in shiny pleather pants, ripped t-shirts, too much faux zebra print, more eyeliner than Maybelline or CoverGirl could keep in stock, with hair that kept AquaNet rolling in cash
  • in college, it was punk rock/new wave, with faves like The Clash, The Cure, The Go Gos, The Tubes, INXS, Blondie, and Devo.
  • in my post-college 20s, I donned flannel so show my solidarity for grunge rock as I chased local bands and shook my head until I strained my neck muscles, to tunes from Nirvana, Soundgarden, Stone Temple Pilots, Pearl Jam, Alice in Chains and the like.

Much like my teen years in general, my musical tastes were all over the place. The one place they didn’t veer toward was pop. They have never veered toward pop.

So when some singer named Iggy

or was it Shakira…Lorde…Taylor…Demi…Salena…Ariana…Kei$ha…Katey…Meghan…Miley — I just can’t tell them apart

got all pissed that the only reason she seems to be getting attention is for the plastic surgery she’s having, I did get interested in pop music. But, Iggy, since you’re bitching about the attention you are getting for plastic surgery, I figured I would address your concerns. Not in the totally cool way that many bloggers more creative than myself write those “Dear Obnoxious Celebrity” letters, but in the STFU you whiny, questionably talented, overpaid ass sort of way. So here goes…

Iggy was quoted during an interview in which she opened up about having plastic surgery. Aside from the incredibly deep and insightful “We’re all doing it anyway” argument, she also said this:

 

So Iggy, this is what you think of people who criticize you for having plastic surgery? I agree with you – why should you be criticized for having plastic surgery when you could be criticized for…say…being totally dismissive of the opportunity to do good for others with a small portion of your ridiculously over-stuffed bank account.

But when it comes to what women — regular, everyday women — would change with $10 million in their account tomorrow…well let me give you some insight into what this woman would change.

  • I would change my employment status: that’s right bitches, PEACE OUT to working for the man full time. Except…I like what I do, who I work for, and the people I work with. So even though my husband would spend the rest of his life unemployed, eating Cheese-Its, and shouting at the xBox that he “did so press button A and his wide receiver should have run the out route and not the in route,” his wife could not. And changing my employment status would lead to…
  • Changing my commute to work: after giving my current employer time to find a replacement for me, I would then do volunteer work locally. You see, I spend 4 hours each day commuting to work, between the stop-and-go drive to the Metro station, parking and walking to the platform, the Metro ride to downtown, and then walking to my office. And I get to do it all in reverse to head home. So changing my commute to something local would give me four glorious hours back in each weekday. I wouldn’t even need a facelift because I’d be smiling so much. And all that time saved would…
  • Change the amount of time I have to volunteer in my community. I’ve always been a big believer in pay-it-forward. Even when I was laid off a few years ago, I continued to use my money to make treats and goodies for my son’s baseball team that Summer and I took tons of photos to share with the parents. I volunteered to help manage the Facebook page of our baseball league and started pages for individual teams my sons played on. I volunteered at the local center for the arts. I did pro bono work, helping a nonprofit develop a sponsorship program. I did all this while looking for a job – and looking for a job can be a full time job! The layoff meant our family had a big reduction in income and it necessitated I give up things, including (but not limited to) mani/pedis, fancy haircuts/colorings, and a gym membership. But I know the pay-it-forward approach makes me beautiful from the inside out. And how people see my personality has always been more important than how they see me physically.12804622_1160320587326262_675410197340451188_n
  • I would change my attitude about having to make dinner: Oh, who the fuck am I kidding? I would still hate making dinner. But, with $10 million at least I would feel less guilty about eating out all the time.

Oh, who the fuck am I kidding, I never feel guilty about eating out.

But one thing I wouldn’t change about myself? I wouldn’t begin liking the vacuous, self-absorbed individuals who are looking for empathy about the struggles with being scrutinized because they have so much disposable income that they use it for plastic surgery to improve themselves.

And that’s a lack of change I can live with.

 

 


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What All Those Snow Prediction Numbers Really Mean

Unless you live in the southern or eastern hemisphere of Earth, you know that winter storm Jonas is pummeling the east coast of the United States. More importantly, the bulls-eye happens to be the area I live in.

Snowfall Predictions

There are lots of numbers and measurements being thrown around. Those are important, but I’m here to share the truth behind the numbers.

Numbers in inches: The snow started Friday afternoon, and as of Saturday morning at 9:00am we already have 15″ of snow. And it is falling at a rate of 2″ per hour until late into tonight. I’m no math wizard, but that sounds like a final snowfall total best described as 30+”, or:

  • ‘Ain’t-nobody-going-to-work-on-Monday’ inches, or
  • ‘How-the-fuck-do-we-walk-dogs-in-this-crap?’ inches, or
  • ‘Stop-arguing-over-the-damn-Xbox’ inches, or
  • ‘Watch-how-much-milk-you-drink-but-I’m-fine-because-I-bought-the-big-bottle-of-Fireball’ inches

Numbers in MPH: Another important prediction was the winds accompanying the storm. Some gusts are up to 50MPH, and these sustained winds, limited visibility, and large amounts of snow are what lead to blizzard conditions.

You know what else goes 50MPH? A freakin’ lab with cabin fever who gets to go outside after you clear a path from your deck through the yard to the area under where your giant cedar trees are.

And you know what doesn’t go 50MPH? Our other — and much more lazy — lab who, at 10:15am, is still sleeping upstairs. Along with my lazy sons and my husband.

Numbers in hours: This weather event started for us mid-afternoon Friday and is predicted to go until late Saturday — maybe even into early Sunday. That’s a potential for up to and possibly more than 35 hours of non-stop snow.

You know what else goes non-stop during a weather event like this?

  • The bitching and moaning about whose turn it is to play on the Xbox.
  • The bitching and moaning about the fact that with 40 gajillion channels on cable “there’s nothing to watch”.
  • The washing machine and dryer, because we finally have no conflicting sporting events for the kids.
  • A dog’s need to go outside — because in the canine brain, snow is infinitely more inviting than sunshine and refreshing summer breezes.

    IMG_0840

    “You humans are a bunch of candy-asses when it comes to this light dusting of snow.” – Lab who is actually equal parts lab, polar bear, and leaping kangaroo

  • A dog’s need to sit on you instead of next to you during a movie, when you finally do find something on cable to watch

    IMG_0849

    “After Age of Ultron, we get to watch Animal Planet, right?” – Lazy ass lab to oldest son, both of whom finally woke up

  • My need for Fireball because of the Xbox, cable, washer and dryer, dogs, kids, and husband.

And finally, here’s one number that I just can’t get out of my head today…only 57 days until Spring. I’m sure the Fireball will not last that long.

IMG_0850

It’s important to stock up on the essentials during a blizzard.


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On Guns, Flags, and Hatred

One of my favorite bloggers, Wendi Aarons, recently challenged all of us via Facebook to write about the horrific events in Charleston, SC.

WendiAarons

To raise awareness. To get conversations started. To make people think outside of their comfortable confines about what race, race relations, and hatred truly mean in ‘Merica today. And what we can do to start making some changes.

There are two things about this situation that disturb me. The first is guns. The second is the confederate flag. And I have (very) opinionated friends and family on both sides of the debate.

GUNS: As the hideous traffic I endure on my commute to work luck would have it that day, I was stuck in a no-go situation on my commute. I was behind this patriot, and his window sticker caught my attention.

Comeandtakeit

License plate obscured by me so you won’t be able to look him up. Privacy AND gun rights protected. Yeehaw.

In case you can’t read his window sticker, here’s a zoomed in look:

I love a challenge

For real, dude?

Frankly, you can keep your semi-automatic assault weapon. Or your rifle. Or your handgun. I don’t want to take it from you. I have no intention of modifying the Second Amendment in any way.

And for the record, here’s what the amendment says:.

As ratified by the States and authenticated by Thomas Jefferson, then-Secretary of State:

A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.

So good luck with your militia. Or hunting down wildlife. Or target shooting. Or protecting yourself. Or whatever it is you would like to do with your weapon.

But please stop blaming the victims. For the love of all that is holy, stop blaming the victims:

NRA Board Member's comments about Charleston. SMDH.

NRA Board Member’s comments about Charleston. SMDH.

All I’m asking — all any of us are asking — is rethink the current regulations surrounding gun ownership and sales practices.

CONFEDERATE FLAG: My feelings on the flag are this: its legacy of hate trumps any BS about heritage. I think John Stewart said it best. So, all I have to say is “ditto”:

In the end, I’d like to think that my opinionated family and friends can come together and agree on this:
When individuals are being repeatedly slaughtered in the name of hate or because it’s easy to bring violence to innocents, we need to act.


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Mark My Words

So, Marshawn Lynch decided he was going to trademark the phrase “I’m just here so I won’t get fined.” I had decided that in response to this, I was going to trademark the phrase “That athlete’s an egotistical ass.”

My first thought was, I’m going be so rich! And now, nothing was going to stand in the way of my champagne Patrón wishes and caviar spinach dip dreams.

I decided to do some research, to make sure my potentially trademarked phrase would still be available. I took a look at some of the phrases that (airquote) famous (end airquote) people have trademarked.

Here’s a small sampling of what’s trademarked, and I think my checking account is pretty safe. For the most part.

That’s Hot® : owned by Paris Hilton, however it only applies to descriptions of alcohol and clothing. I’ve never used that phrase to describe alcohol or clothing. However, I may have said it repeatedly while 1) watching Magic Mike, 2) watching my husband fold laundry , and/or 3) yelling at my kids when they were younger about why they shouldn’t touch the stove.

Let’s Get Ready to Rumble®: owned by Vince McMahon of WWE fame. As of 2009, he had made $400 million off this trademark. In 2015, he’s worth $1.2 billion. I don’t recall ever saying that, because I was never a Jet or a Shark.

Tebowing®: owned by Tim Tebow. Since I don’t get down on one knee to pray/clean/look for shit under the couches/pick up dirty laundry/scrub the baseboards/look for my other earring that fell behind the nightstand, I should be ok on this one also.

Jeah®: owned by Ryan Lotche (rhymes with douche?). Here he attempts to explain Jeah®:

The fuck? Lay off the weed, dude. I’m not giving this douche any money…even if I do accidentally slur the word after too many Patrón margaritas.

Three-peat®: owned by Pat Riley when in 1993 he thought he was going to — but failed to — win a third world championship with the LA Lakers. I wonder if this phrase could ever be used in my house, e.g., “If mom made dinner three nights in a row, we’d all die from the surprise of a Three-peat®.” I may end up owing some a bit a shit ton of money to Mr. Riley.

I die®: owned by Rachel Zoe. See above; would apply if child and/or husband spoke in the singular person. This one may also end up with me writing royalty checks to Rachel, who obviously won’t use the money for something as amazing as spinach dip.

Bam®: owned by Emeril Lagasse, American chef. I think you need to cook dinner in order to say this. Definitely will owe no money for this (see Rachel Zoe and Pat Riley above).

They are who we thought they were® : owned Dennis Green, former head coach of Arizona Cardinals. Said during a 2006 press conference following a game vs the Bears. Pretty sure no one in the Witness Protection Program lives in my neighborhood. Should be ok.

Fear the brow® and Raise the brow®: owned by Anthony Davis who said “I don’t want anyone to try to grow a unibrow because of me and then try to make money off of it.” No worries Mr. Davis. I’ve spent most of my adult life waxing the shit out of my unibrow because there is just no money in it. Trust me. My husband is able to raise one eyebrow, but — and I hate to break it to you — we have seen no financial windfall from this talent ability freakish abnormality.

It's hard to see in this picture, but here my husband is giving our son the "people's eyebrow".

It’s hard to see in this picture, but my husband is giving our son one raised eyebrow.

50 cent® : owned by rapper Curtis Jackson, who is also known as 50 cent. Err..50 cent®. If Curtis is smart, he’ll change his son’s name to $700K. And trademark it.

Blue Ivy Carter® : owned by Beyonce/BKG entertainment. No worries here. Rather than speaking the actual name, I will just say “So, another celebrity has named their child something unusual. That’s why my kids will never amount to anything star-worthy. Their names are too ‘plain white Rice'”.

Hmmm…Plain White Rice. As unusual names go, That’s Hot!