Monday, September 25, 2017

Microblog Monday - Going into the New Year

First of all.
If you haven't donated to Puerto Rico. Click Here.

They are Americans. They need our help and they sure as f**k aren't getting it from the Federal Government.

If you can't donate money, find a Salvation Army or a drop off point and drop off stuff. Again. They need help.


On 60 Minutes yesterday Oprah hosted a roundtable discussion about how divided we are. She invited people from across the political spectrum. It was interesting. It is what we should be doing, sitting and talking about what is going on.

The thing that scared me though, is that they mentioned civil war.

I am so scared about that. I was so scared that I was filled with anxiety when my daughter came and played with me. I worried that her countrymen and women would see her as other and take her from me. I held her so tight and I started to cry. I tried to pass them off as happy tears but the five year old wasn't buying it.

One of my friends who is of the same political bent as I am got annoyed with me because I say that we have to start people to people who don't agree with us. He's happy in his echo chamber. He pastes the most far-left memes on his Facebook page so people who agree with him already can nod their heads. He has happily un-friended all the people who don't agree with him.

I won't.

I have unfollowed people when I don't want hate to clog my feed, but I make sure they see what I can post. Maybe they will like the picture of my daughter with the colander on her head.

It's the ten days of repentance and I repent of a lot. I want to change in small and big ways.

I need to acknowledge that my pre-diabetes has turned to type 2 instead of burrowing my head in the sand. I need to take steps to take far better care of my health.

I need to exercise. I will be joining the Y or Health Center.

I need to go on social media fasts. I might do that in a way to honor the sabbath. I don't know. Still thinking about it.

I need to forgive.

Yom Kippur is coming up and I need to forgive.

I need to forgive the people who voted for Donald Trump. Some of them are my friends. Some of them are horrified with their decision. I need to forgive my fellow countrymen who are both elated by their choice and horrified at what they have done with their precious votes.

I need to forgive Trump and the current administration. Please understand by forgive I do not mean acquiescing to all that they suggest and do. I mean that I need to stop letting it eat at me. I need to stop giving into the hate and fury that it causes in myself. I need to let go of that hate and channel the anger into fighting the actions--not the people.

I have no illusions as to how difficult that it will be, but the hate and the fury they cause me is eating me up. It is not helping me or our nation.

If we fall into civil war I don't want to say that there was nothing I could do to stop it. There IS something I can do. I can be the change I need to see. I can be better than I have been. That is what Yom Kippur is about. Trying, always trying to be better.

I wish everyone a happy and healthy new year and all who celebrate an easy fast.

Friday, September 22, 2017

The new movie IT has monsters--and they don't all wear clown makeup

I first saw IT as a miniseries. Tim Curry scared the shit out of me as Pennywise. I fell for the losers both as adults and pre-teens.

I then read the book and fell for them all over again. IT is one of my top five Stephen King novels and I love the characters. So when my husband got two days off for Rosh Hashanah and my daughter only got one day off I knew that we were going to go see the movie IT.

I am very familiar with the book.
I reread IT every so often and I just finished listening to it on audio. I highly recommend this version. Steven Weber does such a wonderful job it feels like I am listening to someone telling stories by a campfire.

And then I saw the movie today









For those who have never seen IT and don't mind spoilers. Here's a decent synopsis of the book.

I was going to oppose most if not all screenplay choices that were different than the book, I knew that going in. But I didn't expect to find myself disgusted with the tokenism and sexism displayed in the movie. They stripped down the characters of both the sole person of color and the female member of the losers club and made both of them practically unrecognizable.

Mike Hanlon.

The only black member of the Losers Club in the book and in the 1990 miniseries is intelligent and the person who is dedicated to the history of Derry.

In this movie he was the muscle who had the gun. In this movie he was homeschooled--heaven forbid he go to school with the rest of the kids. In this movie his parents were killed in a fire for no reason I could understand.

Why would someone change a nuanced black character into a non- nuanced one?  Why make him less? It sure as hell wasn't because Chosen Jacobs didn't have the acting chops. The actor did wonderfully with what he had, but wasn't given anything to shine with. All the history geeking went to the character of Ben, a white character.

Worst of all, in this EW article, they want to change Mike Hanlon's adult character to a drug addict.  To quote one of the comments to the article, "heavens forfend that he gets through each day with his own grit and forcefulness."  I hope they don't change Mike like this. If, when the next movie comes out, that does seem to be the case, I will not be in the audience.

Beverly Marsh

The movie takes away Bev's choices. Again, the only female member of the Losers Club and it rips the choices she made in the book away from her.

In the book, Bev was the markswoman. She threw the rocks better than anyone. She used a slingshot and she hit what she aimed at.  When the Losers follow IT into the sewers she is there because she chose to be there.

In this movie she is taken from her home after nearly being raped by her father. She spends the last act of the movie catatonically floating. She is the damsel in distress, not a member of the team and that's not what Mr. King wrote.

Monsters are a staple of movies. But with the sexism and tokenism--I have to wish that they had just stuck to Pennywise.

Monday, September 18, 2017

The Pages

Since the beginning of September, something has been happening.

It's happened before, since my mom passed, but then it stops. I'm hoping this time that it will keep happening.

I'm reading again. I mean reading again. I mean since September began I have read 5 new books and listened to a new on on audio. The really amazing thing I have to say about these books is that two of them are what I call five-star (Thanks goodreads) books. Two. When I have gone almost two years without any book that was that superlative.

And all of them, even the four and one three star books have been good books. Books that played in my head when I had to put them down. So without further ado... here are the books and small reviews.

Forbidden by Beverly Jenkins

I read one book by Beverly Jenkins before, and it was good but not great. Forbidden was amazing. Forbidden was so amazing I went to Barnes and Noble and bought two more of her books and put others on reserve in the library.

Forbidden is a historical novel set in the old west. The hero and heroine are people of color. Well the heroine is. And the hero is, but he is passing. There is so much I enjoy about this book it is difficult to know where to start. Scorching chemistry- Check. Characters I care about- check. A historical setting so real that I look at an electric light and I hardly know what to do with it. What I loved especially is that the heroine is courted by two men (one being the hero) but the other one was lovely and kind.

If you like historical romance novels and you think that there isn't anything really creative out there, pick up this book and find your cynical little heart growing three sizes.

Ready Player One by Earnest Cline

This has been on my bookshelf for about two years. I have been told by so many people who I trust that I should read this book. I started it and put it down. It wasn't the right time. Then I picked it up and had a hard time putting it down. I jumped into the reality and loved it. To all my friend who told me I would love it were right right right.

I can't talk too much about it without giving it away. Just saying that if you like Eighties cinema. If you like video games. If you like a fantastic adventure read this amazing book.

Come Home by Lisa Scottoline

I was privileged enough to attend Writers Digest Conference 2017 where  Lisa Scottoline's magnificent key note speech inspired me to pick up one of her books. I hadn't done so in a while. I won't wait so long to read another one.

Come Home showcases love. Love that doesn't adhere to definitive roles. The main character's stepdaughter comes to her and tells her that her ex-husband is dead. Moreover she believes that her ex-husband has been murdered. When is it okay to mourn someone who hurt you? When a second marriage breaks up, what about the kids for whom you were their step mother?  Love doesn't fall into neat little categories and neither does my emotions for this book. This is an excellent read.

Hold Me by Courtney Milan

If you like romance, get this book. If you like New Adult fiction, get this book. If you like characters that you can empathize with, love, and want to swat, get this book. The last time I had such a reading frenzy, I read Trade Me by Courtney Milan, the first in the series. Now Hold Me does what I didn't think it could do--I liked it better.

Hold Me is Shop Around The Corner updated to the geeky halls of university, texting, and blogging. The characters are amazing. The dialogue makes me laugh, and the sex scenes are so wonderful they require the AC on full blast. Now I've got to read her historical romances.

I also read another book but as I am only reviewing the ones that I think others should read now--I'll come back to that another time. It engaged me enough to finish it but I didn't like it enough to recommend.

So, to sum up.

Five star books

Ready Player One by Ernest Cline
Hold Me by Courtney Milan.

The others are four stars and highly recommended.

Monday, September 11, 2017

I can't forget this day-Microblog Monday

Billy Joel may have said it best.

"And it's hard to believe after all these years, it still gives you pain and it still brings tears."

I can't forget how beautiful the day was.

I can't forget the frantic calls. "Did you go into the city today?" "Pick up the phone, damn it, "

I can't forget my friend who was in lower Manhattan. She and her husband (then he was her fiancé) live with this day as a day of dust and blood and a miracle of finding each other.

I can't forget my mentor's partner. She kissed her partner goodbye to get on a plane. That plane would be flown into Tower one.

I can't forget how the country came together.
I can't forget how the people who didn't vote for George W. Bush and the people who did all came behind him to hope that he would do good.

And now we hate each other.
We do.
We hate each other with the same virulence that the people who rammed the planes into the towers hated us.

How they must laugh.
They got what they wanted.

They laugh at you.

Whenever you look at someone and think of that person as someone other. Be it LGBTQ, black, asian, hispanic, Trump voter, libertarian, conservative, liberal democrat republican.  If you look at a fellow American and think how they are not like you and not to be trusted you are making the terrorists laugh.  They rub their hands together in glee because we gave them exactly what they wanted.

We divided America.
They didn't.

You think "oh that's other people, I love and respect always." Really? Maybe so. Maybe you're that much better than I am.
I have problems thinking of some as fellow humans.

And I'm trying to stop.

Let this be the day that we reach our hands across the chasm. Maybe we'll shake hands like Sirus Black and Severus Snape, but we can shake each other's hand because we are all Americans. We can be better. We've got to try.

Here is my hand. Outstretched. How can I help you?

Monday, September 4, 2017

Microblog Monday - They go there

Lotus is sick.
I am sick.
D is not feeling well.

So we tried to get Lotus to bed without her usual routine. We wanted to go to sleep. We put her in her bed in our room and tried to sleep. Lotus started to cry that she couldn't sleep. She hadn't laid her head on the pillow for more than three minutes. She started to whine that she needed help and I brought her into our bed to cuddle. I rocked her and she kept saying how she needed help. She wanted hugs and I was short with her because I felt lousy.

I held her, checked for fever and she had none. I sang to her and she told me to stop. She hugged me tight.

And I remembered.
I remembered going to the orphanage where she spent the first 54 weeks of her life.
I remembered seeing the room full of cribs. We were pointed to the one she had slept in. Then we saw two cribs on the outside of the room. When we asked about the two cribs, our translator said that it was for the children for when they were "naughty or sick."

The immediate effect of this was that from that moment to now, Lotus has never slept in a room alone. We've been subtlety trying to move her. First she was in our bed. Then in her crib in our room. Then in her toddler bed in our room. Its slow going but it's worth the trip to make her feel confident.

As she was in my arms, I thought of my little Lotus as a baby. When she was sick she was taken away from all the other children and brought to be alone. I understand this--I do. If you are looking after a bunch of babies and one is sick you need to separate her or you have a roomful of sick babies. But it gave her lizard brain a lesson. If I'm sick I'm going to be separated from everyone else. Once she cuddled on me, I told her over and over that I loved her. I told her over and over that she was safe and no way would we leave her.

Now I'm kicking myself for not realizing what scared her. I hate the fact that she has that part of her brain that believes that we will leave her when she is sick. D, an adoptee, reminded me that they go there. A part of her will always go there. It's up to me to show her that we will love her with everything that we are for as long as we live.