Tuesday, August 3, 2010

I Scream; You Scream; We All Scream for...

I made a fantastic discover last Thursday evening at my local Target super store. Yes, I know we’re supposed to be boycotting the retail behemoth because they won’t let gay people have sex in the home furnishings department or whatever [See note(1)], but I’ve never been much of an activist and I was in need of several toiletry items that are typically far more expensive at the grocery store. The plan was to dash in, grab my body wash, deodorant, toothpaste, and contact lens solution and be out of there in under five minutes toting a single shopping bag. But you know what they say about the best laid plans…

As it turns out, this particular Target had just completed a remodeling – one which left them with a huge fresh grocery section. To promote the new inventory, they had significantly marked down prices on a number of items, and I quickly found myself trading in my little hand basket for a full-blown oversized grocery cart. I strolled slowly down each aisle, plucking items from the shelves to fill the cart. While pleased at some of the bargains I was finding, the moment of indescribable bliss came when I approached the frozen foods section, or, more specifically, the ice cream freezer. As if it weren’t enough that Edy’s ice cream was marked at a mere $2.69 per half gallon, a radiant light shone down from heaven on two half gallons of an Edy’s Slow Churned flavor I’d not seen in two years – Limited Edition S’mores.

You see, I’d had this variety of Edy’s over two years ago while on lake-house vacation in Pennsylvania. Since returning to civilization, every trip to Safeway, Giant, or Wegman’s had included a hopeful swing down the ice cream aisle, but I’d not been able to locate the delightful combination of “toasted marshmallow and chocolate light ice creams with a graham cracker swirl, marshmallows, and chocolaty chips.” (Description courtesy of the Edy’s official website – I’d never say “chocolaty.”)

I blinked in disbelief, momentarily stunned at my discovery. My eyes darted left and right. Might there be other shoppers approaching poised to knock me out of the way to secure the last two containers for themselves? This was serious stuff. The last time I remember searching so persistently for an item was when my son was seven years old and desperately wanted a red Power Ranger for Christmas. People get killed over stuff like this; it was a time for immediate and decisive action! I swung open the freezer doors, grabbed the sweet creamery gold, and hid the treasures under other more mundane foodstuffs.

Once home, I warned my 20-year-old son that the Edy’s S’mores was NOT to be consumed in total overnight. He grunted something along the lines of, “Whatever, Mom. It’s just ice cream,” but later that night as I sat at my dining room table pecking away on my laptop, I heard him in the kitchen, first opening the cabinet to grab a bowl, then moving on to the silverware drawer for a spoon, and finally to the freezer as he made his play for the S’mores. As is his practice, he disappeared back to his room with the ice cream laden bowl, only to return a few minutes later.

“Mom! I can’t believe that no one invented this flavor of ice cream before! It’s incredible!”

Just ice cream, indeed.

I returned to Target again yesterday and was happy (intentional understatement) to see that the inventory had been replenished. I procured three more ½ gallons – two for my house and one for a co-worker to whom I had described this heavenly treat, piquing her interest. She, too, was a disbeliever until she tried it for herself, careful to ensure her virgin bite included a bit of the graham cracker swirl I’d raved about so enthusiastically. She’s now a fervent disciple of Edy’s Limited Edition S’mores.

As I wrap up this blog entry, I realize I may be shooting myself in the foot by sharing news of this frozen bit of utopia with the world, but I shall post my ramblings nonetheless. All I ask is that you steer clear of the Target in Sterling, VA. After all, I’d hate for someone to get hurt.

(1) The boycott is actually in response to a $150,000 political donation made by Target to a group called MN Forward who supports a Minnesota candidate strongly opposed to gay rights. The candidate would not comment on whether or not he supported the right of gays to enjoy Edy’s Limited Edition S’mores ice cream.

Candy Parker

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Lesbians - The Un-Pampered Chefs

I know there are exceptions to every rule, but lately I’ve been wondering – what the hell is up with lesbians and their lack of hostessing skills? I ask because virtually every friend I have is astounded by my ability to plan and present a dinner party. I serve up a roast, rice, garlic bread, and a vegetable and am greeted with “Ooohs” and “Aaahs” akin to those received by David Copperfield when he made the Statue of Liberty disappear!

Most of my friends are self-proclaimed neophytes in the kitchen, admittedly unable to do much more than is required to “cook” a frozen meal in the microwave. Many have more beer cozies than glassware and readily admit that what they most often make for dinner is a phone call.

I ask – is it really that unusual to be able to host dinner for eight and set the table with complementary dishes and silverware? Does the fact that I count a mundane gadget such as a garlic press amongst my possessions truly render me an anomaly in the lesbian community? Is it, in fact, odd that I can serve up martinis in actual martini glasses? Does the rendering of a complete Thanksgiving meal honestly qualify me for deity status?

I fear many of my Sapphic sisters have gone the way of lifelong bachelors as relates to their culinary skills. I suppose it can make sense for those who came to terms with their sexual preference early in life and were never, therefore, cast in a traditional role in a male/female relationship, though I don’t really attribute my ability to read and execute a recipe to my 11 years of marriage. I definitely had a fondness for Tupperware (which can most likely be ascribed to the fun rainbow colors in which the contraptions were molded) and could easily discern between a gas and an electric stove long before I took my vows.

So pray tell – why the glaring lack of gastronomic mastery, my friends? Don’t be skerred – just get out there, or rather in there, and do it! To get you started, I have recipes/directions for Asado Negro (an amazing pot roast recipe from a Venezuelan co-worker; no racial undertones intended), a three-cheese tortellini pasta salad, and pasta fagioli (my Italian ex-mother-in-law’s formula) all typed up and ready to send out. Just drop a line to Editor@gay-e-magazine.com and I’ll send ‘em along.

GAY e-magazine, the e-zine by lesbians with a sense of humor…who can also cook.

Candy Parker

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Summertime and the Living is...Sweaty

If the holiday season (aka Christmas season in less P.C. circles) is the “most wonderful time of the year,” then I’d like to officially nominate the summer season as the “worst wonderful time of the year.”

As we here in the mid-Atlantic settle in for yet another day under a heat advisory, with temps into the triple digits and the humidity percentage not far behind, I long for the good ol’ days of Snowmegeddon. While it’s easy to say now, I truly prefer shoveling three feet of the fluffy white stuff to living on the surface of the sun.

I marvel at the people who claim summer as their favorite season. Really? You prefer 102 degrees and 75% humidity to the nirvana of spring or fall with their daytime highs in the low 70’s and their fresh, dry mornings? I never knew so many people loved to sweat, at least not while standing perfectly still under a ceiling fan with the A/C working overtime.

Yes, you can swim in the summer – that is if you’re unemployed and actually have time to avail yourself of the community pool. But is the opportunity to immerse oneself in a nasty mixture of water, chlorine, and urine really worth living day-to-day enveloped in what feels like a scorching, wet blanket?

And oh how people love to cook out during the summer. Of course! Nothing says, “Let’s light a radiating hot fire and stand over it grilling meat for hours,” like a sweltering summer day. Mind you, my grill and smoker sit idle in the summer months, lest I contribute further to the oppressive fever plaguing the region during those months. My grilling policy is much like my visiting the state of Florida policy – I don’t do either between June and August.

No thank you, Mother Nature. You can keep your mosquitoes, liquefied air, and blazing orb in the sky. I prefer my days as I prefer my martinis – crisp and very dry. So until a stroll outdoors is complemented by the crunching of leaves underfoot and the joyous perfume that emanates from a crackling fireplace, you’ll find me indoors gazing longingly at my fall wardrobe, tolerating soccer rather than living for football, and cursing my monthly electric bill.

Candy Parker

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Taking a Crack at Saluting Fathers' Day

I know. I know. Women worry about turning into their mothers, not their fathers. But on the eve of Father’s Day and my father’s birthday (June 23rd), I worry that I’m turning into my dad. My father has been deceased for more than four years now, but I believe he makes a return each June to see his kids, a visitation if you will. There are signs, this year most notably, my pants are falling down and you can see the crack in my ass. I thought it was cute, kinda funny, when it was happening with just one pair of jeans. I said to myself, Hey, Cindy, lost a few pounds, did ya? Cool. But now, every single pair of pants I own seems to slouch down below my ass and show butt crack. This is eerie. This is not normal. This is my father haunting me. Pants falling down around his ass, showing butt crack, was one of his trademark poses. Yes, he was the quintessential dad in that respect.

My next door neighbor, this guy who keeps building patios and outdoor rooms in his backyard for no one – he never has any company – was leaning over the other day and what do you think? Major Butt Crack. I had a direct line of vision from my kitchen window to his newly laid out patio where he was leaning and exposing his half naked butt. Dad? You here already? Showing yourself by using my neighbor’s ass as your vessel?

Okay, it’s bad enough when you see your neighbor’s crack or your dad’s, but when you are a woman and the same thing is happening to you, it’s frightening. Every single pair of pants falling down my butt! This is unnatural. It’s downright supernatural. Happy Father’s Day to the dads out there, and Happy Birthday to my dad, up in heaven, or down in that other place, leaning over, no doubt, with his angel/devil trousers drooping down his ass, and channeling me.

Cindy Zelman

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

My (World) Cup Does Not Runneth Over

For those of you who count yourself amongst my Facebook friends and are, as such, subjected to my multiple daily status updates, you know that I was summarily underwhelmed by the supposedly supreme world event known as the 2010 FIFA World Cup. I posted my first rant after the disappointing USA vs. England match and haven't let up since, posting the YouTube link to Letterman's "Top Ten Reasons Americans Don't Like Soccer" last night.

As a sports fan and an American, I initially bought into the hype. The USA vs. England match was touted for weeks and by the time the kick-off or tip-off or whatever they call it in soccer rolled around (pun most definitely intended) last Saturday at 2:30pm ET, I was fired up and ready for my underdog Americans to put a revolutionary ass-whoopin’ on those boys with notoriously bad teeth. (Calm down all you folks over in the UK; sweeping generalizations and the perpetuation of stereotypes are permitted for comedic effect.) What I got instead was 90+ minutes of the most disappointing and anticlimactic sporting event since Mike Tyson knocked our Peter “Hurricane” McNeeley in less than 90 seconds. As you no doubt know by now, the game ended in a 1-1 draw, aka a fancy word for ”tie”. That is, no one won and no one lost, kind of like in U-5 soccer.

After witnessing that disappointing yawn-fest, I find myself having a difficult time getting into a tournament governed by rules which would permit such an atrocity. I mean, this is a HUGE tournament. People wait four years for this thing to come around, paint themselves in their home country’s colors, take a month off from work to attend, and have been known to beat each other to a pulp over the outcome. This is supposed to be the Super Bowl, World Series, Stanley Cup, and NBA Championship all rolled into one (again, pun most definitely intended).

Imagine going through the entire NFL season and heading into the Super Bowl. As luck would have it, your favorite team is matched up against your most loathed rival in the opposing conference. You eat, sleep, and dream football for two weeks. You trash talk. You RSVP “No” to your own child’s wedding because you don’t want to miss the game. FOX runs slickly produced commercials ballyhooing the game and you get a little more charged up each time you see one. You have your snacks lined up, your friends gathered around the 52” HD set to rally ‘round the team, and your sports-averse partner has agreed to leave the house so that you may bask in glory that is hardcore, hard-fought, and hard-won competition.

The teams scuffle through the first half to a 0-0 score. “Great defensive battle!” you tell yourself as you replenish the beer cooler and re-fill the dip bowls at half-time, “THIS is what championship football is all about!!”

Defense continues strong as each team manages only a field goal in the second half. Time is running out on a 3-3 score. Your team is driving down the field, almost within your kicker’s striking distance when you notice that the game clock has expired. But wait, the ref is winding his arm indicating that he’s putting more time on the clock, albeit a mystery amount of time to which only he is privy. You watch a few more plays, your team getting closer and closer and then….*SHRILL WHISTLE SOUND* Game over. It’s a 3-3 tie and there is no winner. Thanks for watching; everyone can go wash off their face paint now.

How disappointed are you in that moment? Exactly.

And the world dares call this “soccer” thing a sport! *hrumph!!!*

As a patriot and general sports fan, I won’t say that I won’t continue to follow the US Men’s team as they work their way through the bracket. While I don’t plan to take a day of vacation to watch the conveniently scheduled 10a.m. ET game against Slovenia or Slovakia or SloGin-esburg on Friday, I’ll likely TiVo it and zip through to the “exciting” parts, such that they are. But just as I don’t follow luge or water polo once the Olympics come to an end, you shan’t find me following soccer once the FIFA World Cup comes to an end. Heck if the guys who make the rules of the game don't care who wins, why should I? I know there were high hopes that the USA vs. England match-up would make soccer fans out of us ugly Americans, but unless they unleash a few of those lions or tigers or some other creature native to South Africa onto the pitch to add a little zest to the game (and give the weenies who play it a REAL reason to roll around on the ground acting like they're dying after the tiniest bump or tap), I do believe the world will be waiting another four years to take their shot at making us believe that futbol’ is anywhere near as great a game as football.

(Note: Yes, I know that in the championship contest of the FIFA tournament the game won't be permitted to end in a tie so spare me your detailed explanation of the round-robin tournament-type format and the associated point system.  I'm a girl, but I do "get" it.  I just don't like it.)

Candy Parker

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

What I Learned from My Last Relationship

One of the great things about getting older is that over the years, if you’re at all self-aware and take the time to process through your experiences, you grow a little bit wiser with each mistake made, each heart broken, each tear that falls. On the heels of the disintegration (or perhaps “implosion” might be a better word) of my most recent relationship, a nine-year rollercoaster ride lined with carnival mirrors, I realize I’ve learned an invaluable lesson:

I should only date women who work for small companies.

That’s right, going forward all my dating will be what they call in the government procurement arena a “small business set aside,” meaning only women who work for small businesses will be eligible for award, so to speak. Sounds crazy, I know, but read on and you’ll get where I’m coming from on this.

We all know the drill, the post-break up heartache, that period of time when every song is a reminder of better days or when every restaurant you go to is one of “your places” filled with memories of celebrations or hot date nights. That’s all bad enough to cope with, right? Well, try adding to the mix a scenario where virtually every show you watch on television – whether it be a baseball game, a CNN broadcast, or an episode of a thriller like “24” – includes either a commercial for or a product made by the company for whom your ex works? It’s doubly difficult when said ex was a workaholic and the company name was a mantra in your household.

My ex, who we’ll call “Lisa” since that’s her name and because it'll be tremendously upsetting to her to see it in print here should she ever stumble upon it, works for a Fortune 100 company; a huge ass technology company for whom she excels as a national sales rep. As if the memories associated with nine years of music, venues, and knickknacks weren’t enough to keep me in the doldrums, I can’t get through one night of television without seeing her company logo, tagline, products (particularly hi-tech phones or state-of-the art HD video cameras), or commercials for her major client (“America’s Most Reliable Network”) flashing across my screen.

So now perhaps you understand why I think that going forward I’ll stick with women who work for tiny little companies no one has ever heard of – and about which I’ll never have to hear ever again should our relationship go awry. I suppose that’ll rule out a lot of McDonald’s regional managers, auto company assembly line workers, and Walmart greeters, but I’m willing to take the loss on that just to be able to get through my favorite television shows without a box of tissues on my lap. Hey, you process through your relationships YOUR way, and I’ll process through mine MY way. ;-)

The human network, indeed...

Candy Parker

Dear Straight Women: Stop Kissing Each Other

The growing epidemic of straight women kissing each other is getting more annoying every day. Sadly, during the MTV Movie awards last night, which I didn’t watch because it’s three hours of complete suck, Sandra Bullock and Scarlett Johansen entered the ranks of attention seeking straight women. Sandy had a huge shock with the Jesse James white supremacist cheating thing, so I’ve decided to give her a free pass. Johansen gets a free pass too, because, boobs. But they did inspire me to write an open letter to straight women about this out of control epidemic.

Dear Straight Women,

I get it - you are hot; your friend is hot; you’re so sexually open! It’s so great when guys pay attention to you for doing it! Oooo you are so liberal and yet so not wearing Birkenstocks and would never actually go ‘down there,” but still so liberal and hot!

I wish that all lesbians were as hot as you and not plaid-wearing motorcycle mamas who hate men and use Natty Light as lube. IF ONLY REAL LESBIANS WERE AS HOT AS YOU! I’M IN LOVE WITH YOU AND, YES, WHEN YOU ARE DRUNK AND SAD BECAUSE NO GUYS LIKE YOU I WILL BE THERE TO TELL YOU THAT YOU ARE BEAUTIFUL NO MATTER WHAT THEY SAY. Xtina Aguilera style.

However, maybe you don’t have to kiss each other to prove some crazy point about how hot you are. Maybe you can just try being yourself to get attention and not try to get boys to look at you by exploiting and trivializing my sexual orientation.


Natasia Langfelder