I’m a Liberal Snowflake

I had a post all ready about the Women’s March, with pictures and links and deep thoughts about it and everything. But after this week’s political events, I think a shorter, simpler post is better.

I’m a liberal snowflake, and I’m proud.liberal-1

I care about people. I like freedom, all kinds of freedom but especially personal freedoms. I am “willing to discard traditional values” when they hurt people. (Also, calling something “traditional” does not make it right or good or fair. Genocide, rape, and war are all traditional.) I am open. I am generous. I am flexible. I am tolerant. I am a liberal.

Politically, I often find myself on the progressive end of the Liberal spectrum. I think the taxes we pay should go to helping the people who pay them, and I don’t mind paying taxes to help people.

I am starting to worry about the future of my country, and I feel strongly that something is going to happen, something bad and big and irreversible. I hope I am wrong.

Meanwhile, I’ve decided that I am not powerless. Kindness is not a weakness. Liberal is not an insult. These are the tools I was given, and I’m going to use them to make the world a better place, even if I can only do that on a very small scale.

I will love people, I will show kindness, I will speak  out when I see wrongdoing or cruelty. I will be open to new ideas, I will listen, I will fight for those who cannot fight for themselves.

I’m a liberal snowflake, and I’m hoping to be part of the blizzard that makes the USA truly great.

I’ll cry if I want to

Maybe we shouldn’t blame 2016 for all the celebrity deaths and general calamity that have occurred during the past 12 months. People die all the time, famous or not, and it has little to do with the calendar year or any superstitious nonsense. And maybe we should all spend a bit more time mourning the innocent lives lost in Aleppo and less time grieving over celebrities. Maybe.

But the heart does not always heed logic. So I’ll mourn those who have touched my life, even if their deaths were less than tragic. I think that is a rational, human response. And I’ll blame this shitty year for all the shitty things that happened during it. I don’t care much if that is a rational response or just a convenient one, I’m still doing it.

You never know which deaths are going to hurt the most. I’ve lost family members, friends, and acquaintances. Some personal losses hurt more than others, and it is the same with celebrity or public-figure deaths. I was sad when Alan Rickman died, and David Bowie, and George Michael. I am sad today, hearing of Carrie Fisher’s passing. I’m also sad to read on social media so many posts proclaiming the foolishness of feeling bad over celebrity deaths.

It made me think about “why.” Why am I sad about Carrie Fisher but not Zsa Zsa Gabor? I suppose for the same reason I’m sad about George Michael but not (as much) Leonard Cohen. It’s not about who was the more talented or important person, it’s much more personal. I enjoyed some Leonard Cohen songs, and Zsa Zsa always made me smile, but George Michael and Carrie Fisher influenced me personally. They were threads in the fabric of my life. Small pieces, sure, but they meant something to me.

I remember being a pre-teen, dancing to Wham! songs in my room on sleepovers. Those early songs, and the music that George Michael made in the 90’s, were the background music of my adolescence and young adulthood. Eventually, his sexuality became a big part of his impact on me. My friends and I were more than ready for an openly gay pop star, but his struggle to come out publicly proved the world did not share our enthusiasm. It was like a barometer of the world’s homophobia, the timing of that coming-out, and I learned a lot from it.

I’m a Star Wars fan, but when I saw Postcards from the Edge, that was when I fell in love with Carrie Fisher. I must have watched that a dozen times, (with my mother, who herself was a bit eccentric and often embarrassing) and it soothed me and made me laugh and brought me a kind of peaceful joy I can’t really put into words. Then, much later when I saw her perform Wishful Drinking, I felt that same thing again.

So when I see posts telling me (not really “me” but people who have posted their grief which is similar to mine) to get over it, or to stop being so dramatic, I have to just say: Fuck off.

I’ll cry if I want to.

Today I mourn Carrie Fisher, a feminist, a public figure who was unapologetic about her mental illness, and one hell of a funny lady. If her death does not sting you, that is fine. We all have our influences and our loves. All I ask is a bit of empathy and respect.

Peace ❤

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She drowned in moonlight, strangled by her own bra. 

Adventures in meal subscription boxes

Okay, I know I haven’t shared any “Sunday Dinner” posts for a while. What can I say, life is hectic! So hectic, I decided to try one of those food crate subscription things. After looking through some sites and talking to some people, I settled on Marley Spoon as a first try.

I went for the “family” plan, which is intended to serve two adults and two kids under 12. So far we’ve done three meals (one week) and here, dear readers, are my findings!

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The ingredients for meal #1: skillet beef & rice
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My kids LOVED this!

First, the negatives:

  1. Small serving sizes. Now, I have spoken to other people who say they have plenty of leftovers, but those people are on the “2 adults” plan, not the family one. Maybe my family are just big eaters? I don’t know. All I know is, there haven’t been any leftovers and I kind of like leftovers. Also, it’s only been one adult and 2 kids eating these and there still were no leftovers, so I’m not sure the servings are “full meal” size. At least not for us.
  2. A bit pricey. I could definitely go to the store and get the same ingredients for significantly less money.
  3. Not a ton of vegetarian options. Possibly other services have more though. My kids and husband eat meat, and combined with the fact the servings are small so it really only serves the three of them it works out. But I’d like more veggie choices.
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Meal #2 prep: tomato & feta bake. One ciabatta roll for 4 people??? I added another one from my own stash, and it was still a small casserole.
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This looks kind of gross but it was fabulous. I will absolutely make this again.

The positives:

  1. New ideas. I don’t know about you, but I cook the same dozen things over and over and over. This subscription has given me some new ideas and pushed me to try some new techniques.
  2. Fun family activity. I decided if we were going to splurge on this it was going to be a family activity. So I’ve pretty much been having my kids cook these meals, with me as supervision. They’ve been loving it! And because they’ve made it, they are more willing to try these new foods, which is pretty awesome.wp-1466718186141.jpg
  3. Easy and fast to prepare. Nothing has taken more than 35 minutes to make, and everything is super easy to do. My 9 & 11 year old have been cooking this stuff, if that tells you anything. Clear step-by-step directions and everything is pre-measured, with just enough prep to make you feel like you’re actually cooking.
  4. No “what’s for dinner” stress. This is possibly the biggest “pro” of these things. God, I hate having to figure out what to make every night!! This takes a few of those decisions away and eases the stress a lot.
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Meal #3: sausage & beans with greens
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This definitely didn’t come out as good looking as the recipe card photo. But everyone seemed to enjoy it.

So overall, I think I will keep this subscription for a few months, and maybe try another company, too. It’s not something I’ll do forever, but for now I’m enjoying it.

How about you? Have you tried any of these? Blue Apron? Hello Fresh? What did you think?

Pride… and Prejudice

When I heard of the Orlando massacre, I was at a bridal shower, celebrating love. At a table with my daughter and in-laws, I put the news aside, because I could. I talked instead about the bride’s new family and the beautiful cake and the lovely weather. The tragic news was glossed over in a “that’s so sad” kind of offhand way. I was glad. I knew when I got the chance I would take to social media and the news sites and learn all the horrible details, but I admit I was happy to retreat into my privilege for the moment and speak of lighter things.

Then the conversation turned to politics, and I found myself trying to keep calm while I explained that no, men pretending to be transgender women are not a problem in our bathrooms, and yes, I know this for a fact. I think I shifted their opinions a bit, but it’s possible they agreed just to keep me quiet.

Later, bile rose in my throat and my face was hot as a table full of well-dressed and well-to-do ladies spoke about how they’d consider voting for Trump “if he could just keep his mouth shut!” I would like to say I was brave and spoke up again, but I just drank my mimosa and kept quiet. I’m sorry. I wanted to, but I couldn’t find any words. I was afraid.

Not afraid of my in-laws, but afraid for my daughter and the world she will inherit. Afraid for all of us, those marching in pride parades and those walking to classes and those in the “wrong place at the wrong time” everywhere. Afraid because I saw hate. Not loud, violent hate, but a much more dangerous hate: quiet, refined, and confident. Hate backed up by money and power and privilege, hate that does not believe it is hate at all. I wish I had spoken up. I would have pointed out how all these things are connected: the violent crimes against gay people and the targeting of transgender bathroom rights and the bigotry of political candidates. I wish I could have made some intelligent argument or insightful quip, but I had nothing except fear and sadness inside me.

Later, I went online to learn all the horrible details of the worst mass shooting in our nation’s history. A little less secure in my privilege, I cried at the pictures and details, and got angry at the ignorant bigoted comments I saw. Again, I felt afraid for all of us, at the hate and fear in our world right now. Terror is a good word for what happened, and for what I feel. What will happen at the upcoming pride events around the country? What will happen at the gay clubs downtown? Who is an enemy? How can we tell? Is there any way to stop these attacks against the LGBT community?CkwpDbnW0AAa6FV

I don’t know, of course. But I do know that we all need to stand against homophobia. And we need to call this massacre what it is: a hate crime against LGBT people. Not a random attack, a targeted one. Fed by hate and nurtured by the kind of political ideologies that preach bigotry and xenophobia. This massacre was a horrifically violent expression of homophobia, but unfortunately homophobia is all too common.

The first Pride parade was a reaction to Stonewall, a commemoration and continuation of the bravery demonstrated by the rioters. Pride might be a celebration, but it is not all party, it is also -still- an act of bravery. A time to stand up, afraid but not alone, and show pride in something widely condemned. It seems to me the strength of Pride, and the solidarity of the LGBT community it represents, is needed now more than ever. I know the LGBT community will stand together in this time of sadness and fear, but I hope (so hard) that non-LGBT people will, too. If ever there was a time to be an ally, it is now.

Equality Florida is offering services, and raising money to support the victims, if you are able to donate please visit their page. Rather than reading post after post about the murderer, consider learning about the victims, and celebrating their lives instead. And if you are in a position to speak up against homophobia, no matter how casual or “harmless” it appears, please try to do so. Maybe with love we can fight this hate. ❤

This month’s insecurity: Am I annoying???

I probably am. Ugh, yes, I am definitely annoying.

Insecure Writers Support Group BadgeThis is an insecure writer’s support group post, please join us if you are an insecure writer! Visit the main page here to sign up or read the other participant’s posts. This is a blog hop 🙂

So I’ve been thinking lately about all the people in my life who’ve gotten to know me, and then bailed out. All the failed or faded friendships. All the internet “blocks” and de-friendings. I know I should not dwell on that, I should instead focus on those wonderful, patient, and kind souls who actually like me and have stuck around, but I can’t help it!

I obsess over what I did to make them dislike me so, what wrong things I said. Was it one thing? Or just my personality in general? I wish I knew, so I could improve myself, or even just apologize. Maybe their reasons are dumb, and I won’t feel so bad! I don’t know.

If I AM annoying, how could I tell? Is there like a maximum number of enemies you can have and still be a decent person? How many de-friendings is normal?

It does have a negative impact on my writing, because I start to wonder if my poor social skills are translating into my character’s interactions. Are my characters just as dorky as I am? Is my dialogue obnoxious?

I’d love to hear if anyone else worries about this stuff. Also if anyone has tips or advice about limiting this particular kind of social anxiety. Comment below! (You might have to click the blog title to open this post again & comment)

Happy Memorial Day!

Today I will march with my Girl Scouts in our town’s memorial Day Parade. (Assuming the rain holds off and it’s not cancelled!) I’ve been going for the past five years or so, and I really enjoy it. It’s a small parade, not many vets, lots of kids (boy scouts, girl scouts, marching bands) and some local law enforcement and firefighters. Mostly the audience consists of the families of the marchers. A thin crowd, many of whom disperse immediately upon picking up their kid, so that by the time the mayor gives a speech honoring our veterans, hardly anyone is left to see it. I always stay, and I strongly encourage my girls’ families to stay, too. I am so disappointed and embarrassed by how few people are there to actually honor our local veterans! I wish I could do something to increase attendance.

A few people in my life have been surprised by how strong my feelings are about Memorial Day. See, I am a real “tree-hugging liberal” and I am always speaking out against war. So people sometimes assume I am not pro-military. Which, honestly, is dumb. I guess some people think military personnel just loooove fighting, and we should encourage conflict if we want to support them? Stupid.

Though lately, people seem to have a very warped view of what is “patriotic.” Wave a flag, sling some mildy-racist comments, and boom! Instant patriot. So strange and sad to me that in a country founded on tenets of religious freedom and open immigration we now have thousands cheering for xenophobia and religious persecution, and calling it patriotism.

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I hope whatever your Memorial Day entails, you take a few minutes to remember the reason for the holiday: those who lost their lives in service to our country. Also please remember these fallen are men AND women, of ALL races, ethnicities, religions, and sexualities. People from all walks of life, who entered service for many different reasons. Many fought our nation’s conflicts for reasons they personally might not have agreed with or even fully understood.

I will never support war, but I have immense respect and gratitude for our warriors. Happy Memorial Day ❤

insecure writer’s support post

This is a post for the Insecure Writers Support Group. Join us! We blog the first Wednesday of every month. Insecure Writers Support Group Badge

It’s April 5. Camp NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) started on the 1st. I don’t think it will come as any surprise that I have already fallen off pace. My track record with NaNo is pretty dismal. I have a whiny post all ready to go about that, which I’ll probably post in the morning, but…

Okay I’ll admit right now I’ve had a glass of wine. My kids are in bed and I’m scrolling through my blog feed (avoiding working on the iwsg post lol) and I have to say I’m kind of freaking out a little. Does it seem to anyone else that things are getting more hostile? In the world in general, I mean, and especially the US I guess? Like very divisive. Tensions are high, even in online communities arguments are blowing up too fast. And what is with all these laws about “religious freedom”? I can’t even believe half the things I’m seeing! Am I the only one who is alarmed here? How about how Trump is seriously in contention still. AND the rest of them. What the actual fuck, is all I can say.

Okay I know talking about politics is not advised for Authors and I shouldn’t be saying anything. I’m supposed to be neutral, better for sales. But honestly? I write gay and bisexual Romance. If you’re going to be backing a candidate who would reverse marriage equality if given the chance, or who would have signed or voted for any of these recent anti-LGBT legislations, I really don’t care about losing you as a reader. No offense.

Then again, maybe this isn’t about any one candidate or belief, but more about a general swelling of an “us vs. them” mentality. If the nightly news was the prologue to a dystopian novel I’d be expecting world war three to unfold any minute now. Things are getting freaky out there! I feel like even just six months ago things were a little less heated. I mean, am I imagining it? Or has anyone else noticed this, too? I’d LOVE someone to talk me down lol

*sorry if this is too political for the iwsg hop, but it IS an insecurity, technically*