My Uh-Duh! Moment

Remember Oprah? You know, the one-woman media magnate who revitalized Chicago’s West Loop, gave audience members cars, did Stedman and maybe Gayle, got people reading again, is responsible for unleashing the hackfests that are Drs. Phil & Oz and Suze Orman, and who empowered millions of upper-middle class women the world over? Yep, that Oprah–the one and only.

During her media tenure, Oprah had several positive, love thyself phrases that were seen as avenues her fans could travel in order to live better lives. (Nothing wrong with trying to better one’s life, of course.) One was the whole “Remembering Your Spirit” vignettes that were popular in the early aughts, and one of the last ones was “Aha! Moments.” Basically, Aha! Moments are similar to “Come to Jesus” moments or EPIPHANIES as they are known to us non-religious folks. Some person (usually a woman) figures out somewhere along the line that her life is more than a dress size, her baby-making abilities and by being a dutiful daughter/sister/niece/wife/aunt, etc.

Oprah’s magazine and tee vee show featured mainly the Aha! Moments of famous folks, who have all the money ever but decided it’s necessary to give back to us serfs. Most efforts are to be applauded because, dammit, they should be giving back. Some of these moments are just famous folks engaging in navel gazing and that’s just boring as all hell.

I’ve had a few Aha! Moments in my life. (this ain’t one, but the vid still works)

One moment urged me to go to school in Southern California, then another brought me back to finish my studies in Madison. Oh, then there was the engagement that ended badly in my 20s…then the switching of careers and moving back to the Midwest….yeah.

What else? Yes, getting a master’s degree which lead to me getting my ass kicked in a new, but fab, career. Super fun!

Most of my Aha! Moments have been good for my soul, but then there are those that kicked the ever-lovin’ crap outta me, watched me crumble, then came back and kicked me AGAIN just for shits and giggles. I’ve realized since that life is one, big, fat, steaming pile of chunk-filled Aha! Moments. The trick is learning how to handle them with grace, humor and a pair of handwraps, boxing gloves and a heavy bag.

Now that I’ve got THAT figured out, onto what Uh-Duh! Moments are. Simply, Uh-Duh! Moments are “what the hell did I just do?” moments. I’ve had a shitload of them in my life and it’s safe to say that MOST of those moments have occurred in the past couple of years. I’m not exactly proud of these “oops” either, but I figured I’d share them here so y’all can either point & mock, or nod your heads, sigh and utter ‘Yeah, I’ve done that too, Julia.”

The first one involves honey.

This particular Uh-Duh! Moment made me realize that I truly hate honey. Loathe it actually. I think it’s disgusting and tastes like what I imagine rancid bee sweat mixed with bee urine tastes like. I’ve given it my all–tried to develop a taste for it by serving it on toast, in my tea, my oatmeal, and I even used it in my hair–what the fuck for–I don’t know. Well, I thought I’d be the bigger person and give it one more shot.

This time, I used it on my face because the woman who waxes me (shut UP) said it made a great facial mask because it was all natural and has some sort of healing qualities. Ok, ok, I said to her as she was putting wax on places that don’t normally need wax (ahem), I’ll give it a try. Again.

So, a couple of nights ago, I had a couple of gals over for a semi-nude slumber party and we decided to try the honey facial mask treatment. We each put our hair in pigtails, giggled A LOT, slipped into our silk camis, Hello Kitty! tap pants, and our Uggs, and then slathered our mugs in warm honey.

Then, we left it there for about 15 minutes and during that time, chose teams for the midnight pillow fight (my team won, natch). After rinsing the golden ooze from my face and hair, I kept waiting for the healing qualities to happen. Five minutes went by–nothing. Fifteen, 20, 25–still nothing. At thirty minutes, my skin was starting to tighten and darken like the skin on one of Ed Gein’s lampshades. Feeling the anger starting to rise and my feet starting to sweat in my Uggs, I slathered my face in uber-hydrating moisturizer, and kicked my Uggs off. After a brief tickle fight with the gals, I tossed the bottle of honey in the trash.

The following morning while I was cleaning up post-semi nude slumber party, I wondered why I had given honey another chance–I hated it years ago–how was that going to change now?

Hmm…maybe it’s not only a Ah-Duh! Moment, it’s an I’m frickin’ stupid moment too.

Favorite Things 2011 — The McCrabass Version

2011 has been a heartbreaking year for me and other folks too.

Horribly so.

However, there were a few highlights that made me stop in my tracks more than once. Some made me raise my eyebrows, laugh and some caused my eyes to roll so much my eyes ached for a day or so. It was a memorable year in many ways — it forced me to grow up some, cry a great deal, laugh a lot and swear alllll the damn time.

On a the public side, 2011 brought to the forefront a real messed up election process that is spotlighting some of the most ignorant and dangerous candidates ever to star in the presidential election theater. It’s going to get worse before it gets better folks, but it makes for great article and blog fodder — not to mention all of the great comedy this upcoming election year will produce. Personally, I can’t wait even though I am dreading the headaches I’ll get from banging my head on the wall in frustration each time Newt Gingrich et al says something asinine — which will be always. I’m gonna need a lot of Aleve in 2012.

2011 also showed the world what a motivated, angry populace can do. What happened in Egypt, Libya, Syria and Tunisia (granted, the Tunisian uprising began in December 2010) stoked the fires of people everywhere. People are fed up with being shat upon and 2011 was the year they just weren’t gonna take it anymore. The Occupy Movement that’s happening in this country and elsewhere is inspiring and sad. Sad because people shouldn’t have to hold protests for basic human rights like food, clothing, education, healthcare and shelter. The arrogance of those in charge is appalling — especially in the U.S.

This country is not about shitting on those less fortunate while celebrating your success. Especially since laws here helped those folks achieve all they have.

As George Costanza so eloquently said, “We’re living in a SOCIETY!” Who knew that the fictional short, stocky bald man’s words uttered in the mid-90s would be so prescient.

So, my favorite things. It’s an homage of sorts to Oprah (remember her?), but no one is getting any donated gifts from sponsors here. Hopefully, you’ll laugh a bit, nod your head in agreement and keep coming back for more McCrabass in 2012.

These favorite things are in no particular order.

1) The GOP Presidential candidates. These folks help to keep me engaged, they make me want to educate myself further and help to deepen my liberal beliefs.

There is so much material here that I don’t know where to begin, so I’ll just say this: Anyone who thinks any of these candidates could run this country need to have their head examined. ‘Nuff said.

I’m sure I’ll be repeating myself in a few days. You’ll see.

2) Louis C.K. Now, I know Louis has been around for a long time, but in 2011, he found his voice. His tee vee show “Louie” is great stuff — it’s funny, heart warming and original. He doesn’t steal material like the insufferable and extremely unfunny Dane Cook. Louis reminds me of the brilliant George Carlin, and I think he’s going to get better and better with age.

Take a gander … Both clips are from a couple of years ago, but you get the idea.

And here …

3) Bikram yoga. It’s safe to say that I wouldn’t have made it through 2011 without Bikram yoga. Say what you want about Bikram Choudhury and his brand of yoga, but it works for me and countless others. To me, it’s not the same routine in every class because I’m not the same person in every class.

Bikram-Choudhury

Bikram haters — rest your sphincters. This isn’t your time to comment about how Bikram yoga isn’t yoga or that your brand of yoga is “better,” or to debate me. This is the time to shuttie yer yap yap and appreciate and respect the fact that your friend is alive today because of this yoga. Even if I’m not your friend, zip it.

4) Moroccan Oil. Again, this product has been around for some time, but 2011 is the year that McCrabass discovered it. My god this stuff is fucking awesome and it has made my lovely locks even lovelier. It’s liquid crack for the hair. Try it — you’ll be hooked.

5) Never having heard a Justin Bieber song.  I consider myself truly blessed.

6) Thundersnow. I’ve written about this before, but here’s the video of Jim Cantore freaking out again. It’s worth watching over and over and over.

7) Madison, Wisconsin. I have never been prouder of the city that houses my alma mater. But, I am miffed at Wisconsinians for electing such a heartless douchebag in the first place. Y’all were sold a bill of goods and you shoulda done your homework. Nevertheless, the coolest capital in the country made me proud once again, and it’s the only city north of Chicago I’d ever consider living in.

My heart belongs to Madison.

8) “Game of Thrones” series on HBO. I’m not a huge fan of fantasy tee vee shows, books or movies but GOT grabbed me from frame one. Not only did have a stellar cast, but the story lines were actually interesting. Plus, from a film making standpoint, it was technically brilliant. Can’t wait for season two which airs in spring 2012.

Two words: Peter Dinklage.

Three words: Jason Momoa = DAMN.

9) Writing. Finally, something I’m decent at. Let’s hope I can make some money off of it in the coming years.

10) Social Media. Say what you want about social media, but it’s here to stay. I love it. Twitter is like writing your own personal headline in 140 characters or less. Social media kept up with the protests in the Middle East and informs followers as to what else is happening in the world. It’s a wonderful tool with so much potential that shouldn’t be shunned, but embraced by everyone — no matter what your age is.

The beauty of it is, you can make it what you want. You can be as open or as private as you want. However, if you’re all about privacy, don’t bitch on Facebook about how you want folks to remove your info from their newsfeeds because you feel like your privacy is being invaded.

Give me a break.

If you’re that concerned about privacy, get the fuck off of Facebook and buy good stationary,  a decent pen and start writing letters. Until you decide to do just that, shut the hell up about how you feel your privacy is being violated on Facebook because someone isn’t hiding your comments from their newsfeed. Leave Facebook to those who can handle it and who realize that there’s really no such thing as pure privacy anymore. Newsflash: There never was such a thing.

Also, no one gives a shit about your comments. Seriously. They’re too concerned with their own lives and with trying to guilt their Facebook friends into writing inane status updates “proving” that they hate cancer, pedophiles, pollution and Republicans.

Me? Well, I use social media mostly for fun. I find it to be a wonderful tool for story ideas, keeping in touch with family and both old and new friends, and for wasting time.

It’s the coffee klatch for the new world.

Finally …

11) President Barack Obama.

Coming soon: My Least Favorite Things of 2011.

The beauty of unemployment

Believe it or not, being unemployed has many advantages–at least that’s what I keep telling myself so I won’t throw myself off the end of Navy Pier whilst wearing ceeee-ment shoes. There are many things I don’t have to worry about doing on a daily, or even weekly, basis and I’m finding great comfort and joy in that revelation.

1) No daily shower. Unless I do Bikram of course. However, I don’t shower right away because I like to wander around in small, enclosed public spaces with horrible ventilation & opium den-esque lighting to let the common folk bathe in my aura and aroma. Since I’m quite the social butterfly and can extract an actual conversation from the meanest of souls, I make sure my breath is extra-stanky and my skin extra-ruddy. This is their punishment for any previous nefarious acts. Hey, that ‘thing you smell’ is what they get for being bullies, or Teabaggers or whatever.

2) No makeup. One of the great things about being blessed with decent skin is I don’t need to wear a pound of makeup when I leave the house. At this age, about 1/2 pound is sufficient since I don’t garner all that much attention from my fellow humans on any given day. If anyone does pay attention to me, it’s because the drag queen scared them, and they need to see what meh looks like in order to get on with their lives. I happen to like somewhat expensive makeup because I believe you get what you pay for. The cheap stuff just slides off my visage and isn’t worth it in the long run. The downside to applying makeup after a long hiatus is I have to re-learn how to put makeup on. Sometimes I look at my eyelash curler and am reminded of the time a roommate in college used one as a roach clip. This memory causes me to giggle, of course. But then I have to try to remember how to use the eyelash curler PROPERLY. That, my friends, takes some serious thought.

3) Braless–All day, everyday. Or until it really starts to hurt, or until my boobs are brushing against my knees whilst standing up straight. Kudos to Ms. Jenni Spinner for reminding me about the wonderful world of going sans bra. It truly is a magical experience until it’s time for my daily break dancing practice, then I gotta bundle the gals up.

4) Schedule-free zone. This is both good and bad. If I don’t have some sort of plan for the day, I’ll just sit on my ass and futz around on the computer and watch “Teen Mom”, or my new fave “Monster In-Laws.” Or, I watch amateur Bulgarian porn but even that gets frustrating after some time because the poor production value drives me NUTS. I mean, c’mon! It’s so cheap to make movies these days, you’d think these porn auteurs would put some actual thought into lighting, camera angles, editing and sound, but NOOO. They can’t be bothered. Why can’t anything good ever come out of any of the former-Eastern Bloc countries? It’s been–what–about 12 years since the fall of the Iron Curtain, correct? One would think that would be enough time for the denizens of those countries to take a tour of the rest of Europe in their Yugos and realize just how easy it is to make porn. Maybe they’re too busy mourning the death of Yakov Smirnoff’s career.

Wait…where was I? Right–not having to adhere to any type of schedule. The only thing I have to do each day is go to Bikram. It may not be much, but it gets me out of the house AND gets me my daily dosage of Vitamin K.

5) No wardrobe malfunction. When McCrabass ain’t gracing some newsroom with her presence, she’s dressed from head to toe in sweats–usually something from Target and my alma mater. The bigger and more unflattering the better. And big socks if it’s cold out. And some sort of beanie on my head–usually the one I bought at the Sundance Film Fest a few years ago. Who am I trying to impress? The missing link who lives across the street? My motto is, if it’s relatively clean and BO/peanut butter smell is faint, it’s my uniform for the day. It saves on wear and tear, and money on dry cleaning. Plus, I don’t need to buy new threads for work.

6) Agoraphobic by choice. As I’ve aged, I’ve come to the conclusion that the less interaction I have with the citizenry of this fine city, the better for both of us. Plus, this is a rotten time of year to be unemployed with all of the holiday crap being shoved down our throats by way of cheery window displays, garlands/sparkly stuff hanging from lamp posts, red and green crap everywhere and insipid holiday music. I don’t need the constant reminder of how I can’t afford gifts for family and friends because I don’t have a job, money or prospects. I’m succeeding beautifully at that task all by my lonesome, thankyouverymuch. It’s just best that I remain inside my apartment, keeping the couch down and watching movies on my eyelids.