Rachael Ray: Terrorist?

Rachael Ray in the cancelled Dunkin\' Donuts AdYou know it’s a slow news day when Fox News a/k/a Faux News is claiming that Rachael Ray is a terrorist.

Squeaky-voiced, perky, and–to some–intensely annoying; Rachael Ray is certainly the last person I would peg as a terrorist.  Certainly the last person I would have pegged to promote terrorism.  Thank goodness the brilliant minds at Faux News took time out of their busy schedules to come up with this important story.

Uh-huh…

The scoop is this:  In an ad for Dunkin’ Donuts that aired on websites this week, Rachael Ray is shown wearing a scarf that conservative commentator Michelle Malkin claims looks like a kaffiyeh, which is traditionally worn by Arab men.  Another report says it looks similar to the scarf worn by the late Yassir Arafat.  Because of the flak from Ms. Malkin and other conservative critics, Dunkin’ Donuts pulled the spot from the airwaves.

I never saw the commercial, and this image doesn’t show the scarf clearly enough for me to decide one way or the other, but please.  What a crock of shit.  It’s a scarf.  I doubt very highly it was placed to imply anything at all- certainly not in support of terrorism.  Does this mean that Dunkin’ Donuts is going to bomb us all with Boston Cremes and Coolatas?  Please.

So this is what Faux news has come to:  McCarthy-like attacks?  And on Rachael Ray of all people?

Hold on, folks, it’s going to be a bumpy ride from here until November. 

 

Memorial Daze

Memorial Day never lasts long enough. No sooner than it starts, it’s over.

But thankfully, I got to fit some really fun activities into my beloved three-day weekend.

The big question when this weekend rolls around is always, “What am I going to do?” It’s like planning for a major event for some; for others it’s a welcome time for rest and relaxation.

In Chicago, an obvious solution is to participate in some way in the festivities at the International Mister Leather (IML) event. This event happens every year and draws a very colorful–in dress and in behavior– crowd that is perfect for people-watching as well as participating.

But I didn’t participate in the IML festivities this year. Most of my friends took off for other locales. I didn’t feel like doing the leather thing alone, since I’m not much into the scene to begin with; so I had to make some different plans. I chose a much more leisurely approach to the weekend.

My friend Matt and I both got new cameras in the past year, and we’ve been talking about going on a photo excursion somewhere in the city for a while now. The weather was nice and was looking to stay that way all weekend, so I thought this would be a great time to go on our first excursion.

Needless to say, I am pleased with the results!

Arthur Caldwell Lily Pond Swim, Duck, Swim!
Skyline from Lincoln Park Lagoon Arches
Enter here Pink Crabapple

On Sunday night I headed north to Kenosha to pay mom a visit.

As I went home Monday night, I realized there was one thing we didn’t do– we didn’t visit dad’s grave.

I don’t think we decided to do this consciously. We certainly talked about dad over the weekend, and other relatives who have passed as well.

It seems to me that people pay tribute to those they love in their own ways. I think if Mom could get around better we would have made a point to go to the cemetery; but we chose to remember him in our own way. We certainly don’t love him any less; it just was easier for her to do it this way.

I cut up old branches that had fallen the yard, and cut down some tree saplings that had begun the grow in the flower beds. I went out in back of the garage and picked an enormous bouquet of lily of the valley and plucked a few sprigs of lilacs and put them in vases on the table so she can enjoy them. I brought up her laundry, I changed light bulbs and did other odd jobs around the house that she couldn’t do for herself.

And we cooked and talked and laughed and just enjoyed each other’s company. In all, it was a really nice visit. I think Dad would have been pleased with that.

Now the week is all messed up. Tuesday should be Monday and Wednesday should be Tuesday. It’ll be like that til Friday- which will come faster than expected, and that’s a good thing. But it was worth it to have that extra day to spend with my mom. I’d gladly take a hundred more of those days than have to work five days in a row! That’s better than any vacation.

Re-igniting the fire

Full Moon Festival
Fire twirler at the Full Moon Jam, Foster Beach, Chicago.

I’m back.  Did you miss me?

It’s ok, you can say no.  I won’t be mad.  Really, I won’t!

After all, I’m the one who practically abandoned my own blog– you didn’t do anything. 

So yeah I took a little break.  I needed it.  Badly.  I won’t get into the whole story of why I was gone for so long.  Just know that I needed the break, and now I’m back and feeling a lot more energized.

So what’s been up with me lately? 

Well for starters, I’ve been hanging out with friends again, keeping busy with work, watching my beautiful nieces grow up like weeds (see the pictures below), meeting new friends, cleaning up my financial situation, and preparing for an exciting summer.

And that was only in the last week or two.

I’ve also dealt with a horrible case of writer’s block for the past few months.  So instead of pressuring myself to come up with something witty or clever or not-so-depressing, I chose to chill for a while. 

But now I feel like the clouds are clearing and brighter days are ahead.  So time to sally forth and see what happens.

Thanks for coming back. 

 Me with Emily

Abby with Grandma Aiello

I need a massage

I’ve been told by more than one person lately that I’m far too negative.  I focus on everything that’s bad and let it eat at me until I can’t see what’s good anymore.  In some ways I guess I knew this, but I never realized how bad it was until very recently.  I don’t like that about me.  I never have.  It’s something I need to be more aware of and something I need to fix.

I’ve felt alienated by a lot of people lately — friends, acquaintances, and co-workers alike.  I’ve felt much more alone and much less social.  And as the weeks have passed, I’ve become concerned that something was at the root of all of this.  I didn’t realize how much of that root involved me and my own outlook on life.

Talk about a spring awakening! 

So what am I going to do about all of this?  I’m working on that, but I think there is one way I can start to get back to my center and work my way out:  Get a massage.

For the past few months or so, I’ve been hounded by a friend of mine in the Feast of Fools community to get a massage.  And although I know his heart is in the right place, I’ve done just about anything and everything possible to avoid doing it.

Thing is, he’s absolutely right.

In fact, he’s told me on more than one occasion that I should look into regular massages.  Not only would they help me relax, he says, they would help me to focus more and be more attuned to the things that need attention in my life.

Surely I can’t argue with that logic.  At times my life feels like I’m teetering on the brink of disaster.  Just the slightest gust of wind or sesmic jolt could send this house of cards on a freefall that will never end.

So an hour or so of complete silence and the hands of a good masseuse can’t be a bad thing.  I just need to get my shit together long enough to make an appointment and do it.

Of course that’s easier said than done.  In this economy, where grocery prices are skyrocketing and gasoline is more expensive than gold, things like a massage seem like a distant luxury.  But groceries can’t relieve my aching shoulders.  Gasoline can’t lull me into a meditative state.  Well, I suppose it could, but I’d kill a few thousand brain cells at the same time.

So my goal for this month is to get this massage taken care of.  And the sooner, the better.  Because I really need to start relaxing and enjoying life again.  I need to smile and laugh more.  I need to be a better friend and a better person in general.  Then, once I take this step, I may decide to take other steps.  The more steps I take, the better I will feel about myself, which hopefully will be recognized by the people around me.

I don’t like who I’ve become lately.  And if I don’t like myself, there’s no way other people will like me.