Monday, November 27, 2017

I Am Your Neighbor Episode 6 - Paul Nickerson



When my friend Kim of Kim's Welcoming Kitchen first told me about feral cats as a potential solution for rat control in outdoor residential areas a few years ago, I laughed at her.

Stacy Snyder - I Am Your Neighbor - Paul Nickerson
Photo courtesy of Steve Dale Pet World
"Only you would consider such an insane idea to adopt wild cats that live in your back yard!" I scoffed at her, convinced that her modern hippy way of life was behind such a preposterous thought. "You couldn't use your yard because of the cats, the'd jack up the surroundings with their refuse, and it would be expensive as hell to feed them," I taunted. She silently let me grandstand that day while targeting her as the butt of my joke.

A year later, after having tried everything in the book to try and rid our back yard of rats, Paul Nickerson of TreeHouse Humane Society stood in my back yard and corroborated the benefits of feral cat colonies as a solution to Chicago's residential rat population. Poison, traps, exterminators, steel wool, bait, bb guns, bombs, nor wire mesh worked. The idea of stripping the lush yard of all vegetation and cementing the ground into a patio did not appeal to us, so instead, tail between my legs, our family adopted 3 feral cats to man our abode.
Stacy Snyder - I Am Your Neighbor - Paul Nickerson
Check out Episode 6 of I Am Your Neighbor to learn about the ins and outs of city cat colonies as a means to rid your neighborhood of rodents.

On a side note, I am so pumped with the new intro of I Am Your Neighbor, created by Mike Coleman! I need more faces on this collage, though.  Who should be next? I'd love your input for interesting neighbors to feature. Please post your ideas here or send me your connections via email at stacylsnyder@gmail.com.

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

I Am Your Neighbor Episode 5 - Candace Jordan



Meeting Candace Jordan was the highlight of my year in 2015. I topped that in 2016 with executing the talk show I'd always dreamed about, I Am Your Neighbor.  This year's a double whammy as I've got Candace on my show! Remember the scene in Annie when Daddy Warbuck's secretary/girlfriend Grace runs through the big house singing WE'VE GOT ANNIE! making it into a number?  That's how I feel right now!  Enjoy this great interview with Chicago Tribune society columnist, Candid Candace blogger, Candid Candace TV creator, and charity spotlight Candace Jordan.

Sunday, September 24, 2017

No Quiero Taco Bell

When I was a teenager, Taco Bell was one of my favorite fast-food restaurants as my friends and I could order tons of food after practice for dirt cheap, and I’d still have enough money from a fiver to order my mom the priciest item on the menu, a taco salad, to take home to her. As a young adult I remember going through the late-night drive through after picking up the girls at the end of their drag shifts and ordering a family-pack of tacos…for just the 2 or 3 of us in the car.  

Living in Wrigleyville in Chicago I lived a mere block 2 blocks from one of the only fast food joints in the ‘hood, The Bell.  After the 4am call had been made at the bars, if my roommate Michael and I hadn’t asked the cab to take us through the drive-through at Checkers on the way home, one of us might suggest, “You fly, I buy,” and the unlucky one got to stagger down the street for nachos and bean burritos to sop up the alcohol from the night before.  

But somewhere along the line, my body started reacting to the food adversely.  A little sour stomach here, a bit of diarrhea there….you get the picture.  Maybe it was after kids or maybe it was when I started to lose weight and eat better and exercise, or possibly even after our family gave up fast food almost entirely, but at one point I started actually rejecting the food altogether and deciding not to eat it, as it more-often-than-not made me drastically ill. 

But every 2-5 years, I get the urge for a Taco Supreme or a Beef Chalupa.  I try to push down the want and I usually slide through the craving unscathed as I remind myself of the nightmare that will ensue after the great taco taste.  Sometimes though, I fall prey.

This past weekend I had my 14-year-old daughter at bay to cheer me on with my hankering, as she loved it too, having only had her first Taco Bell just a few years ago.  Not only did we get Taco Bell after having eaten some snacky stuff as a form of dinner earlier, but we ordered it from a delivery company, as it was 9:30 on Friday night and we were snug as a bug in a rug binge watching Arrested Development.  We had both zonked out on the couch by the time the driver showed up an hour and a half later, but we still managed to throw down a few bites (in my daughter’s case or all 3 of the items ordered in my case) before hitting the sack.

Before I even hit the sheets, I was sick as a dog with massive stomach distress that kept me up all night and lasted through late Sunday morning, which yielded me unable to leave the house all weekend and a 3-lb head-start on next week's diet.

Lesson of the day:  A 'run for the border' is never a good idea in the long run.

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

I Am Your Neighbor 4 - Bill Brashler




I only knew of Bill Brashler as my neighbor and contractor who pimped out my unfinished basement into what we consider the Taj Mahal.  Who knew he was a critically acclaimed author and journalist with one book made into a major motion picture with Richard Pryor and James Earl Jones?  His 10+ year hiatus from writing is now over and he's back in the saddle researching and writing away!  Find out what he's got in store for us next.

Thursday, September 7, 2017

I Am Your Neighbor Quick Chat - Booking Guest Candace Jordan

A stalker says what?  What?   EXACTLY.  Check out this funny Quick Chat about the two years leading up to my interview with Candace Jordan.

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Southern Hospitality Part 2

Stacy Says It - Stacy Snyder -Southern Hospitality Part 2
“I can handle this,” I thought.  “It’s not a big deal.”

Our first “big deal” arrived in a word-of-mouth package from one of the Oklahoma transplant neighbors, Sarah, who had admitted to us that she’d never thought she’d actually be friends with a gay woman, much less a gay female couple and that she was proud of herself for treating us like anyone else, even though she knows other people don’t feel that way.

Like any couple with a new baby, our first line of business was forging a relationship with a babysitter.  Although forward in her admission of having no lesbos in her friend base, our neighbor couldn’t help but present herself as salt of earth. She was friendly, funny, non-judgmental, and would do anything for you; thus, a friendship sparked.  She had kids who were surrounding the age of our daughter, so I asked her for referrals for babysitters in our ‘all too perfect’ neighborhood, as she and her husband went out frequently and left their kids with a sitter.  She gave me a few names off the top of her head and said she’d get back to me with contact info.  After a few days, I asked her again and then yet a third time to no avail.  Finally, on a walk one day, I asked her what the scoop was with the sitters and she said that she felt badly, but that she felt obligated to contact the teenage babysitters’ parents in the neighborhood to make sure it was okay to give out their number to a lesbian couple in the neighborhood.  Once warned, the parents decided that they didn’t want their children to babysit, so as not to be influenced by “our situation.”  Just like that, the neighborhood sitters were out.

To this day, I don’t know if it was Sarah projecting her lack of comfort regarding “the situation” to the parents or the parents actually said that.  Hell, I don’t even know if she ever called the parents, as we quickly learned that Sarah, like many of the residents in the neighborhood, had a tendency to “stir the caldron” at warped speed in an attempt to cause a ruckus and render attention.  Bottom line, I felt like shit about the situation and got a bit of a chip on my shoulder from that point on.

The babysitting incident led to lots of discussion between me and Katie, me and my family, and pretty much every person I ran into that would listen, as I was just flabbergasted.  I'm assuming it either had the same effect on Sarah, or else she was excited to finally have something of interest to talk about.  She was a stay-at-home-mom, always looking for things to happen.  It wasn't two weeks later that Sarah referred me to Eduardo, the hairdresser (gay, of course) in a neighboring city that might have some connections for me in the babysitting world.  It was just like being referred to Bruno at the back bar of a gay club in the 90's, whom you ask if he has any video head cleaner and he provides you a treasured bottle of poppers for $20 - except different.  Since I didn't have a local salon to frequent, I decided to take a chance on Eduardo.  He hooked me up with a new Dallas blond "do" as well as two families' phone numbers that had kids who babysit for gays.

I never made it to the second family to call, as I hit the jackpot with the first.  The family matriarch, Tisha, had three daughters, all within babysitting age range.  I felt as if I were Uncle Tom rapping on the door with the secret knock as I explained to Tisha how I had gotten her number and why I was calling.  As if she got this type of call all the time, she started into a rehearsed speech that began with a personal apology for all the people of Texas and the way they would treat me and my family.  She went on to say that her sister is a lesbian and ultimately moved to Austin, as the climate in Dallas was just not conducive to her same-sex relationship with her life-partnership. Tisha told me Austin was much more gay-friendly and that her sister didn't have as many problems there.  I thought the speech and its content a bit dramatic, but I clearly was not prepared for what lie ahead.  Tisha's teenage girls ended up being very conscientious and sweet girls, perfect for babysitting with one exception...they lived one town away!  This meant we could have a night out, but we couldn't catch a buzz, as we had to drive one of the girls thirty minutes home and thirty minutes back to our house, which couldn't be done safely with a few cocktails under our belts.  Dammit!  We used the girls a few more times before we tapered off our affiliation due to the sheer distance and pain-in-the-ass drive.

Luckily, my sister lived right down the street.  She was ‘with child’ when we moved to Texas, so not much into going out, and happy to hang out with her niece.  She and her husband gave us a few nights out on our own during that first few months while they watched our daughter.  Later, after they had their first child, we got into somewhat of a routine of switching off weekend nights or any night, for that matter, with babysitting back and forth, as we all missed our freedom. More than that, Katie and I missed our network of friends always willing to babysit our daughter, as she was such a precious addition to a group of gay women that hung out at The Closet, where our pre-baby lives consisted of working, socializing, drinking, and partying with our friends.  Don't get me wrong, we missed our friends for the sole purpose of having good friends, too...not just for the babysitting.  However, we were still basking in the newness of suburban living and still hopeful for the potential of new and improved friends in Dallas.  Basically, we were too stupid to miss what we had in Chicago, as we thought we could just recreate a new community of friends as good as the last.  Not so much.


----excerpted from my yet-to-be-published memoir Y'all Are Gay? How I Made It Out of Texas Alive, which chronicles all the crazy, ass-backward people and things my family and I encountered in our five year residency in a northern Dallas suburb.  The real story, though, pokes fun at my own ridiculous ideas of what the world is and how I fit into it.


Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Life is Fragile

Stacy Snyder - Stacy Says It - Life is Fragile - ParenunpluggedYou’d think we’d further question our own mortality attending the funeral of a child or visiting an incoherent spouse in the nursing home.  Seems like a no-brainer:  life is short, so make the most of it.  The problem is, life happens so fast and when one company merger butts up to the finality of a divorce, which is wedged in between the school acceptance letter your child has been waiting for and the incarceration of a loved one, you don’t always have the time to acknowledge the fragility of human life.
You don’t notice the emergent yellow buds on the half-yearly dormant tree in your yard.  You don’t hear the birds chirping as you blow your horn for the car in front of you to “move it buddy!”  And you certainly don’t acknowledge your child’s sheer bliss over wearing shorts for the first time since spring has started to bloom.  These snippets of animation are here and then they’ll be gone. 
Sometimes it takes an external slap in the face to remind us to pay attention:  an associate you haven’t seen in a few years is in a near-fatal accident and has been rehabilitating, not easily, for months.  You decide to join that softball team and utilize your legs while you have them at your disposal.   Or you attend a 50-year-anniversary party for an old couple and decide to re-devote your dwindling affection toward your spouse of five years.
Do what you want, there’s no right or wrong way to live.  But just don’t let the days, weeks, or years pass you by without notice.  Pay attention, as the scenes from your life and others’ are playing right in front of you, in all their splendor and wretchedness, and they won’t last forever.  You may live to be 19 or 90.  The years don’t matter, but the moments do.  Slow down and take stock of your senses and your interactions.  Appreciate the beauty and ugliness alike today.