RuPaul’s Fierce Queens help women deal with their shattered egos after losing family and jobs.

There is a lot to be said about the emotional and psychological impact that losing a job has on a person. It really screws with your head. You could have been once a self-confident, stubborn, strong, secure person, well-versed in your strengths and aware of your weaknesses- but not hindered by them. Then you lose your job and you learn what it is to be humbled. You wonder: “What did I do wrong? How could I have let this happen?” And, if it was you who quit: “Why THE HELL did I do that for??”

A lot of us can relate to these feelings, having survived the last few years of this recession. I know I have. I actually survived the recession pretty well; I left jobs out of my own free will for really silly reasons like wanting to be there for my son when I thought he needed me (turns out, he didn’t). But recently, I did find myself in that predicament. I felt out of place at job- one really good job- or just plain tired of dealing with the office politics… so I found another job. Then THAT new job was just a really lousy fit, and so I left.

Being unemployed- or, working for yourself because you have to- is hard. It’s really easy to find you doubting yourself. Envying those who do have jobs, and wondering what the heck you’re going to do next. And everything seems so much worse than it is. Some days I swear I’m going to be sleeping under the park bench by next week…

This state of self-loathing can be severely destructive. People identify themselves with their jobs, and having that taken away is a tough blow. People let themselves go. They enter a deep depression. They can’t see a way out. They stop going out. They stop trying. They stop caring.

Now, I’m not saying that RuPaul has the antidote to post-job-loss-depression, but I found this episode of his show DragU to be …. healing, in a way, to see someone tackle this head-on, and in such a humorous, light-hearted way, at that.

Enjoy, my friends. And ONWARD, always.


Food Un-Safety

I recently had to take a class on food safety for restauranteurs, since I am opening up a hot dog cart later this month. The things I learned during this course were, to put it quite simply, fascinating. As it turns out, I have been doing many, many things wrong for a very, very long time.

For instance: Did you know that the maximum amount of time you can keep leftovers in the fridge is seven days? Seven days. Well, you see, my grandmother keeps cooked black beans in the refrigerator for up to three weeks. Three weeks!!  What her mother had taught her was that the way to keep the beans from going bad over that extensive period of time was to boil them once or twice a week (this is repeated reheating). This procedure, she said, would kill off the bacteria and allow the beans to last that much longer. It worked- especially for low-income families living in the outskirts of the big city. Makes sense to me.

However, according to modern-day regulations, this procedure is not only a gross violation of many health codes, but a great and potential danger for all kinds of horrible, fever-and-vomit-inducing diseases, some being so severe that they may even result in DEATH. DEATH, I tell you! How-ever did my grandmother’s generation survive this time/temperature abuse?? (Those of you who deal with food on a commercial level understand this terminology…). How did my mother, so young and frail at one time, survive such severe abuse of time and temperature control?? It’s not like the beans went into the refrigerator right away (which is a violation too, anyway), nor did they get cooled in a chilled pan for a quick 2 hours to bring them to the safe temperature for refrigeration. Noooo. These things would sit, at the nifty and scary room temperature zone, for hours.

And while we’re talking about room temperature… according to the CDC and FDA and FUKCU, eggs must be stored at 45 or below. I had an instant flashback of my granmother’s kitchen from just last week, where she was holding a cute little basket of brown eggs right on her kitchen counter. We live in Florida. Trust me, room temperature is NEVER 45 or below. Gasp!!! Another violation! How are we still alive?!

And this brings me to my last and most twisted – and recent, at least – story of time/temperature/oxygen abuse. We’re talking full-on, no hold-barred, violations of at least 10 different kinds of food safety procedures. You see, we had an Independence Day party at our house recently, and our friend James made some smoked pork ribs. He started around 8am on Sunday, and cooked until about 4pm which is when the ribs were ready. By that point, everyone in the house was pretty much trashed. People were coming in and out of the house, people were singing/playing instruments/playing board games, food was everywhere, and flies were having a field day. The ribs and the potato salads went on the table around 4pm , and sometime around midnight, the last of the guests left and we just went to bed.

The next morning. I woke up, still in a state of intoxication, and went through the house assessing the damage. My house was destroyed. But where it really gets good is that, there in the back of the house, in the family room, near three large windows, sat two tables full of leftover food…. and this included two pans full of smoked ribs, still on display. Full, whole, delicious, marinated, smoked, meaty goodness, stacks of them, in aluminum trays. Dear Lord.

The ideal thing would have been to throw those ribs out. But… it was at least 4-5 lbs. of deliciously smoked meat. Enter my dear husband’s reasoning: “Well, you know, that’s how they used to preserve food back in the day, when there were no refrigerators…”

Really? Okay! I forbid myself from further rationalizing why that statement may not really be accurate, in favor of blissfully ignoring all safety hazards because, after all, we’re talking about smoked ribs which were prepared truly, as a labor of love. SOLD! The ribs went in the refrigerator, and we happily ate these ribs for an entire week before chucking the last two racks because we were sick of eating ribs.

We survived.

No Regrets?

Some people claim to live life with “No Regrets”. The thing is, can someone really live with no regrets? I don’t think so.

Everyone has regrets, whether they choose to admit it or not. Whether the regrets are too small to be considered worthwhile, or life-altering fuckups, everyone has regrets.

Whether it’s that one lost love who was THE ONE, the job you lost, the trip you turned down, the job you turned down, the move you made when you should have stayed where you were because the grass isn’t always greener, the opportunity you didn’t take… as much as I hate to say it, life is full of Shoulda-Coulda-Woulda’s.

Some people prefer to NOT look back thinking “Shoulda-Coulda-Woulda”, but rather Move On to the next thing. I would like to be one of those people, and I try- I really do try. But… sometimes… every once in a while…. it creeps up… what I should have done, what I could have done, what I would have done had I known better (except, for one of my biggest regrets, sadly I DID know better, but I fucked up anyway). When you’re stuck in that hole, in the consequence of that bad decision, it’s hard to pull yourself out and get back on “Move-On” mode. It really is.

Anyway the point of this post is to state that people who say they have No Regrets are simply choosing not to focus on their bad decisions, which is a totally different thing from saying you don’t regret anything. It’s a blissful state of denial. I, for one, don’t think that’s all that bad. If anything, it may be the one thing that saves you.