Monday, November 20, 2017

Microblog Monday Food snobby

And now for something completely different.
This is not a political rant.
This is not something about adoption.

This--is about food.

I'm making Thanksgiving dinner this year.

I've been watching a lot of food network. Reading a lot of Pinterest. and I have a rant.

I am tired of food snobbiness when it comes to home cooking. 

I really am.

It's so off the cuff. "What like you're going to make franks in blankets for an appetizer?" Since it's on a web page I can't actually see the wrinkled nose or the "ewww" look that I saw every day in high school. It's implied though.
Yes. Yes I am. Moreover, if I didn't, there would be a revolt at my house by my husband, my daughter, and my father. I think that my dad would rather be without the turkey than the hot dogs in blankets.

Shall I continue? Of course.

I'm also serving sweet potato kugel (pudding)--yep, there will be marshmallows on top.
I'm also serving the green bean casserole. With canned cream of mushroom soup because I've never tasted anything better that it didn't take me for f**king ever to make.
So many articles I've read have had their guns blazing for these simple recipes you'd think that they were accused of sexual harassment. To be fair one article had a variation on the sweet potato pudding for people who aren't hosting over eight people and I plan to try that on a night when I'm not hosting so many people.

You know what? The last time I made this dinner there were hardly any leftovers. You know why? Because my guests ate those dishes that all of a sudden people are saying "ewww." You know why these are "classics"? Because people eat them and enjoy them.

If you're going to a fancy restaurant for Thanksgiving dinner and you don't want these dishes, don't order them. If you've been invited to a person's home, don't eat what you don't want to eat. Offer to bring something to serve. But that "ewww" look? That "this isn't fancy enough" sniff? That's uncivil and antithetic to what this holiday is about.

Be thankful you have a relative or friend who invited you to their home.
Be thankful that you are fed enough that you can decide what you want to eat or don't want to eat.
Be thankful that you're in a warm place.

Unless a rat crawls out of the turkey and bites you on your nose, say to your host, "Thank you, what a lovely dinner."

If a rat crawls out of the turkey---well tell about it!

Wishing you a happy thanksgiving with plentiful, good food.
Wishing you a happy thanksgiving with no awkward political conversations.
Wishing you enough in your life that gratitude is your default position.

Happy Thanksgiving.

P.S. What would your family have a fit about if it wasn't on the Thanksgiving table.

Monday, November 13, 2017

The 2016 election requires new language - Microblog Monday

I have been working as a freelance writer for some time now.

The last few months have been lean. I supplement by tutoring and I have grown to love it.

The other day I had an argument with one of my students. I'd call him my favorite student and it would be true but they're all my favorite. Anyway...

We were doing synonyms. And the word was Travesty.

There were four possible answers. One was mockery (correct) the other was disaster (not correct).  I told him he was wrong and he argued. He said that in several article he's read about Trump becoming president, the word "travesty" was used. He found several articles online and showed them to me. In those articles, one from CNN, another from the LA Times, the tone and meaning of the word travesty seemed to be disaster. He was defending his point and he was angry.

 Can I say how much I enjoy the fact that he is so mad about use of language that he is ARGUING? A 13 year old boy is just that pissed!!

I acknowledged that he had a point. The very next word was the word rescind. He said that means destroy. I said it means subvert. He rolls his eyes, "are we going to go through this again?"

Has the 2016 election scarred us so much that we need to repair the English language? Is it that bad? Well obviously it is. I'm sick to death about the state of things in this country and we're not even halfway through.

But I will say that I've got some hope.
When a trans woman wins over a homophobic bigot who wrote a bathroom bill and then refuses to insult the opponent because he is her constituent?  I've got hope.

When people in Virginia have set records for a non-presidential election for turnout I  have hope.

I do have hope, and fear, and anger.

But really, can we agree that we don't need to mess up the language?

Monday, November 6, 2017

Microblog Monday - Tales from the snot monster

So, I'm sick.

My husband came home with the cold. He suffered and gave it to Lotus. She suffered and made sure she cuddled her mommy hard. I have been given the cold.

I am the snot monster.

Because Lotus doesn't feel well we have been spending an inordinate amount of time watching children's television. Lotus' new favorite is My Little Pony at Equestria High.  It has been an abrupt shift from Vampirina.

Vampirina is the love child of the Addams family and the Munsters. Lotus loves it. or...she did. This week there was a new episode on. Yay. I wasn't paying attention as I know that a new episode of Vampirina to Lotus is like a new episode of Scandal to her mommy. Basically it means that  the world could explode and she would just be making sure that she got the rest of the show. All of a sudden Lotus cries out--"I don't like this one. I want it off." I looked up to find that one of Vampirina's family has been packed in a crate (by accident) and given away. To say that Lotus found this too close to home would be an understatement. She came on my lap and together we watched how Vampirina went through all hoops to get the family back. We turned it off and hugged for a while. It wasn't too long before we got the question. "Did China mommy leave me by accident?"

There are often so many triggers for adoptees. Tangled, Finding Dory, but I admit I didn't see this one coming. I just have to roll with the punches, much like I'm teaching Lotus to.

And hoping to get rid of the snot monster.

Monday, October 23, 2017

Microblog Monday - It's getting to me.

At the end of West Side Story a woman kneels at the side of her dead lover who has been shot. Two rival gangs stand and approach each other with violence on their minds.

"Stay back!" The woman says. She goes to the boy with the gun and takes it from him.

"How do I use this? By pulling this little trigger? You all killed him... not with guns but with hate. Now I can kill too because I have hate."

I'm finding myself hating.
Hating the occupant of the White House.
Hating the people who thought it would be a good idea to get him elected.
Hating the haters.

I'm finding myself in rages.
Rages at the political climate.
I have to stop shouting and yet I can't keep myself from shouting.

I want to de-personalize people. I want to say if they think THAT, then they aren't deserving of the moniker human being.

I want to.

And then I can't. I can't let my body fill up with hate. I can't let myself give into the fear.

How do you not give into the hate? How do you avoid cocooning in your home because you don't think you can handle somebody discriminating against you? How do you avoid it?

It's getting to me.

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Tell me your story - Biographies on Audiobook

I've been listening to a lot of books. Right now I'm in the middle of Grant. This book, written by Ron Chernow, the author of Alexander Hamilton, is an in-depth look at the man, the soldier, and the president.  I'm only about eight hours into this 48 hour behemoth of an audiobook but I'm finding time to do things so I can listen.

It is fascinating.

After I finish the book I'll do an in-depth review of it. However I was musing about how some of the audiobooks I have liked the best have been biographies. I've listened to four biographies that I had not read previously and sometimes it is like listening to someone wise tell me about how someone I looked up to (Steve Jobs) might have been a bit of an asshole. Sometimes it is showing me history (Alexander Hamilton, John Adams, Benjamin Franklin) and teaching me that the founding fathers weren't gods. They were just as human as you or I.

The art of listening to biographies is different than listening to fiction. One, you listen and think, oh, this famous and accomplished person did thus and so, and I do thus and so. My best example of this was when I listened to the book of John Adams and I heard how he would pack books first before any trip and often kept a book in his pocket--just in case. I do that as well and miss the abundance of mass market books that I often kept in my purse.

Sometimes I hear parts of a person's life thinking "I don't know how they're going to get out of this one!" This was prevalent when I listened to the Steve Jobs biography. I knew he became successful, but it was the how of the journey that took me by surprise.

But most important about listening to these biographies is the sense that I'm not alone. It is a voice, quite literally, reaching out from my computer or smartphone telling me that even though I am struggling through difficult times, I'm not alone. These people struggled too. They survived. They thrived, and it gives me the strength to go on.

Monday, October 16, 2017

A little more about that me too - Microblog Monday

I had to ask my husband if what I thought was sexual harassment was--before I wrote my Me Too tweet and Facebook page.

And yet the one huge sexual harassment incident in my life, I didn't ask about. I try not to think about it. Yet, yeah I have been thinking about it off and on for the last few months. I'm writing out most of it here, but I'm trying to keep some of the details to myself. Mainly because---well, because.

On my seventeenth birthday my crush and his best friend gave me a novelty item. It was sexual in nature. They gave it to me in front of an assembled group of kids at my locker. It was in a wrapped box, like you'd imagine long-stemmed roses come in. I opened that box to find another wrapped box. When I opened the second wrapped box I heard a giggle. My first real clue that whatever this box contained, was not something I wanted.  Then, when I peeled the wrapping paper back on the second box I saw what it was. Everyone around me--my girlfriends too--started to laugh. I tried to meet my crush's eyes. I was so naive at this point I didn't know what this was, much less what it was for. When some of the assembled people made crude gestures, I got the idea. When I think of my 17th birthday I think of people I barely spoke to coming up to me and making crude gestures.

So, if this happened today it would be all over youtube. The kids in question might get arrested or something. Every time someone did a google search it would come up. I really don't know. But that would be the wrong thing to happen. 

You see, I still consider the crush one of my oldest and dearest friends. 

"You forgave him?" I can almost hear the horror. 

Yes. I did. I do. 

Understand that by the end of that day, he realized what he had done was not just wrong, it was heinous. He sent me yellow roses--two dozen of them. For those who don't know the language of flowers, those mean "forgive me." The next day when someone made a crude gesture, he shut it down and shut it down hard. By the end of that week, maybe even that month,  I would say that he became someone who could never do that again. 

That's the difference between him and say a Harvey Weinstein. He learned from his mistake. He felt horrible remorse. When I allude to this, he cringes as much, if not more, than I do. He hates the 17 year old boy that he was that did that to me. I see that and I forgive that 17 year old boy because the man he became is a good and kind one.  He is not entitled. He is respectful of everyone, women, men, everyone. 

He had to learn by making that horrible mistake in judgement. 

People can change. They have to want to. They have to have empathy enough to realize that what they were doing was wrong. My crush did. The current occupant of the White House doesn't. Now the big problem is when do we stop giving people a chance to change? 


Monday, October 9, 2017

Parenting by Peopling - Microblog Monday

I asked my father a question this weekend. I asked him about the times I saw him send checks back--even when they were in his favor.

I asked him if he did it because it was right or because he knew I was watching. He looked at me as if trying to see if I was kidding or not and then he sighed. "Both." He said. "I did the right thing because it was right and because I knew you were watching. You're our third kid and by the time we got to you we knew that if we do something, good or bad, you'd see it and think about it. I wanted to try to be the person I wanted you to be."

I remember little things about my mom. I remembered a Valentine's day when I was in 9th grade. I had done my duty and given my valentines out and I didn't receive a one. Not one. I remember slamming in the house. I remember not telling my mom anything about the day. I remember slamming into my bedroom to be alone  because that's all I would be. I sat sulking and probably crying on my bed. My mom knocked twice and then came into my room--it had been the devil to get her to knock at all! She told me she had to make brownies for something or other and asked if I wanted to help. I did the typical teenage shrug but I remembered eventually going down and making brownies with her. I didn't tell her about my day. She asked and I was monosyllabic. But it is hard to sulk when you're sharing just-baked brownies and milk.

Mom was gone when I thought about this and realized that she probably didn't need to bake brownies that day. I never thanked her for the gift of simple companionship.

Today Belle had no school and I had been scrambling to find out what to do with her. We went grocery shopping. We bought more halloween candy than we should have. But Belle read me things off the list--words like Banana and Milk. Other words she found when I made the sounds for it. We tasted yummy things and had a good time. I get what my father said now. I want to be the kind of person I want my daughter to turn into.