Sunday, June 9, 2013

Santa Monica: not always paradise

It's so weird. People keep checking with me to make sure we're okay after Friday's fire and shooting and then saying how 'sad' it all is.

It wasn't fucking sad! It was scary and tragic, and pissed me off!

Being told that my kids are in a school on lock down and I can't get them if I want is frightening and stressful. Not sad.

Having fire trucks and police blocking of the street two blocks away, therefore causing all sorts of unexpected traffic issues (and preventing me from getting to my kids' school) is obnoxious and scary, not sad.

Knowing that if I'd left the house 30 minutes sooner (or the shooter started 30 minutes later) my life and my family's lives could be drastically altered doesn't make me sad, it scares the shit out of me.

We're fine. The kids are fine (they had a boring afternoon, unlike me). I'm extremely grateful for how alive we all are. Just don't call it 'sad'.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Tebow-mania/hate.

Tebow. People either love him or hate him.

Why?

If you believe in God and that he cares about us and guides us in our everyday lives, do you *really* think that God cares more about this one person in football than the faithful who have cancer or are homeless?

Why does his faith affect football at all? Yes, he has faith. Good for him! Just because he's more public than most doesn't mean you have to pay attention to him. He has faith that God gave him the ability to play football, and from the little I've heard about his post-game interviews, he thanks God for that ability.**

But I see people on Facebook that act like God personally helped him on specific plays/games. I see people I know are Christian threaten to convert to Islam if he wins the Super Bowl.

To both these extreme views I say: W.T.F?

I'm sorry to break it to y'all, but God doesn't really give a shit about football.

He doesn't seem to care about the thousands of children molested by their priests and elders. He doesn't provide the homeless with food and shelter. He doesn't provide those that need work with jobs.

God doesn't provide shit. Why the fuck would he care about a football game?

PEOPLE provide goodness, kindness, and love.

It's PEOPLE that give food, clothing and time to shelters to help the poor.

It's PEOPLE that create shelters in the first place, be they government or private.

It's PEOPLE that adopt families at Christmas so children have coats for winter.

It's PEOPLE that stand up for those abused by the very ones who claim to speak for God.

One of my biggest pet peeves are those that give "God" credit for all the hard work they themselves did. God didn't help you win that race, that promotion, that goal you set. YOU did. YOU worked your ass off for it. Not some invisible being in the sky.

People are all about giving God credit for the good stuff, but you never hear anyone give him credit for striking some kid with cancer or a fire that burns a house down. (And those that would comfort a grieving parent with "God has a plan" should die a thousand fiery deaths.)

Now, I'm not a believer in God (especially the Judeo-Christian one, he's an asshole), but hearing people give thanks to whom they believe in for whatever ability they have doesn't really bother me.

Hearing the media call the last play in the Bronco/Steeler game yesterday "divine" does piss me off. It wasn't divine. It was talent and luck. Nothing more, nothing less.

Judge Tebow all you want based upon his talent (or lack thereof) for actual football, but not for his show of religion.

Now, if he starts trying to convert people, all bets are off.



**No, I don't watch him, he's a fucking Bronco. I hate the Broncos simply because I'm a Chiefs fan, duh.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Stuck. in. the. mud.

I... am a creature of habit. I'm very brand loyal, until I change my mind 10 years down the road. One of the few exceptions to this is anything hair related.

So it should be no surprise to anyone that I've made the same chocolate chip recipe for the last 15-20 years, with only mild variations. It's a damn good recipe, why fuck with it, right?

But that's pretty much the only cookie I ever make. Well, I make 3 different kinds of cookies; chocolate chip, chocolate chip oatmeal, and no-bake chocolate peanut butter. (Do you see the theme yet?)

I've had in my possession, from my first marriage, a cookbook called Mrs. Fields I Love Chocolate! Cookbook. At least 15 years. In my possession. One hundred easy and irresistible recipes!

You would think, with as much as I like chocolate, I would have tried one or two of these recipes out, right?

Well, I'm stupid.

I've been meaning to bake cookies with Josie all week, and I finally got around to it tonight. But I wanted something... different. I'm tired of the same freaking recipe that I make every. single. time.

So I reach for the Mrs. Fields book. Flip through it to see if I find anything that catches my eye. That I might actually have all the ingredients for. I find Chocolate Coconut Crunch Cookies.

I have almonds. Raw unsalted almonds instead of salted and roasted, but I have almonds.

I have almond extract.

I have shredded coconut.

(This is the part where my mother starts laughing.)

Now, I have always hated coconut. My mother used to make this weird cake that was covered in coconut on the frosting, and I would refuse to eat it. I refused pretty much anything that had coconut in it. Till I saw Smitten Kitchen's recipe for Apple Granola. I figured a little coconut in the granola part wouldn't hurt, so I had Keith pick up some for me. I figured I'd try it in the first batch, and if I didn't like, I'd throw the damn stuff away.

It's now on my grocery list because I'm almost out.

So I made these cookies with coconut and raw almonds, and they taste pretty freaking good if you ask me and Keith. We'll see tomorrow how the kids like it.

Mrs. Fields Chocolate Coconut Crunch Cookies

2 c all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
2 sticks (1 c) unsalted butter, softened
3/4 c brown sugar
3/4 c granulated sugar
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp almond extract
2 c shredded coconut
12 ounces semisweet chocolate chips
1 1/2 c lightly salted, dry-roasted almonds, finely chopped

Preheat the oven to 300F

In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, and salt.

In a medium bowl with an electric mixer, cream the butter and sugars. Beat in the eggs, vanilla, and almond extract. Mix on low speed until blended. Add the flour mixture and mix just until blended; do not overmix. Add the coconut, chocolate chips, and almonds and stir until just incorporated.

Drop the dough by rounded tablespoon 2 inches apart onto an ungreased cookie sheet. Bake for 18 to 20 minutes, or until set. Transfer to wire racks to cool. YEILD: about 4 dozen

Now personally, I mixed the coconut, chocolate chips, and the almonds with my mixer. I'm too lazy to do that by hand, and they turned out just fine. I will, however, lower the amount of extract the next time I make these to 1 1/2 tsp of vanilla and 1/2 tsp of almond, because DAMN that's a lot of extract! And I'm sure having roasted almonds adds a layer of flavor I don't have with the raw, but the raw work just fine. I got 96 cookies out of one batch, but I make small cookies.

So yeah. Not so stuck in the mud with my cookie recipes anymore. Sorta.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

California

(how we got here)

Ever since I was a teenager, I've wanted a life in California. One that didn't involve quite so many "rules" as my parents religion. I'm not really sure why I picked California in particular, other than it was way the fuck away from small-town Missouri and it had an ocean. Oh, and I wanted to be in Los Angeles, because I wanted to be in a city. (I also L.O.V.E. New York City, but it's too frickin cold for me!)

My very first trip to Cali was a flight into Reno, NV, staying with my (ex) boyfriend's friend somewhere between Sacramento and Reno. It was so beautiful. I learned I'm pretty bad at skeet shooting, and that "keeping up with the boys" when it comes to tequila shots is a pretty bad idea.

This trip with my (ex) boyfriend involved spending an afternoon in San Fransisco, driving up the 1 to Bodega Bay where we spent the night, then winding our way back home via Napa Valley (with a few stops, of course!)

It was beautiful, if not the city.

In 2005, Keith was working for a company that several offices in California, and he flew out several times, mostly to San Jose.

One of his trips was scheduled for January of 2006 to Irvine, CA, in Orange County, when I was pregnant with Josie. Matthew was still (at 2 years old) not sleeping through the night, and I knew that after Josie was born, I'd be getting even less sleep than I was already, so we planned to buy me another ticket and I could go with Keith on this trip. (I mean, who wouldn't want to go to Southern Cali in the middle of winter?!)

That trip in January fell through, and once I hit my third tri-mester, I told Keith he wasn't allowed to travel without me. When they rescheduled his trip for March, he passed along my request, and his company paid for my plane ticket! We had an awesome weekend (Fri-Tues), and met some really great people that lived in Venice Beach, Ian and Alicia.

For two years, Ian bugged us about coming back out for a visit. Keith and I finally managed to go in 2008 for another long weekend. The first thing Ian said to us was "where's your kids?", at which point I laughed, because this was the first break I'd had since the last time we out in CA.

We fell in love with what is known as "the Westside". (That would be anything west of the 405.) This included Santa Monica, Venice Beach, Mar Vista and Culver City.

Keith started looking for a job in these areas. Because even though we loved LA and California, the point was to live and work on the west side so we wouldn't have to deal with traffic. I mean, what's the point of living in paradise if you have to drive 2 hours in traffic to just get to and from work?

So life went on, and in August 2010 we came out as a family, and not only did my kids get to fly for the very first time, they got to visit the ocean! And eat at In-n-Out Burger! We had an awesome vacation.

This past April, Keith was doing some research for something his company was going to start implementing, and ran across a blog that listed companies that were hiring. One of them happened to be a very well known company. Keith clicked on it, and it listed it's location as Santa Monica, CA. Interesting. So he clicked again, and the qualifications needed was his "exact" skill set. Interesting. He applied and sent his resume thinking that nothing would happen of it. He expected a "thank you but we're only looking at local candidates" type of response.

The very next day, the HR department called and said they wanted to set up a phone interview. Um, ok! So the phone interview is set up, and the day after that she calls again and says they want to fly him out for a face-to-face interview. WHAT?!

We just might actually need to tell a few people at this point. Especially since I had just told my sister not 4 months before that we weren't looking to move anytime soon. So we told our best friends and my adopted family.

He spent the weekend after my birthday in LA for his interview (which he NAILED, btw) staying with Ian and Alicia again.

By the end of the next week, he had signed paperwork, turned in his notice at his old job, and we told the rest of our families.

Within 3 weeks, we went from "we're not even looking" to "OMG, WE'RE MOVING TO CALIFORNIA!!!"

Keith left Kansas City on June 5th, and the kids and I joined him on July 27th. During that time I had so much help packing and getting the house ready to move that I could never express my thanks enough to those that helped. My friends ROCK, y'all.

So now we've been in Santa Monica for 3 months now and we're all fitting in quite nicely. Even Matthew, who I think had the hardest time adjusting. I love my kids school and I love their teachers. Well, Matthew's teacher, anyway. Josie's teacher I'm kinda 'meh' about, but she's nice and Josie doesn't have any problems.

Keith L.O.V.E.S his new job, and they love him. We're starting to find people we can be friends with as well.

We all miss everyone back in Kansas City terribly, though. We can't wait until we get the house there sold so we can come visit everyone. (I would count the days, but that's not exactly how the housing market works)

And... it's still fucking perfect out here.


Monday, June 6, 2011

So...

Our big move to Santa Monica is progressing. I guess that's a nice way to say it. All of the major projects to the house have been done, and now I just get to clean and sort and get rid of and pack. And entertain the kids.

woot.

I have till the end of June to get the house done. The house needs to be on the market by July 1st, and my schedule for July is insane.

If anyone feels the need to clean, sort, pack, paint or entertain children, do call!

Seriously.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Dirty little freaks

Thank you, Pink, for putting out another kick-ass song!



Wednesday, October 20, 2010

I will not be silent. I will not vanish.

Not today.

Today, the day that was designated "Wear Purple for Tolerance" day.

As pretty much everyone who has met me knows, I am a former Jehovah's Witness. My parents are still, and so are my two bio brothers.

I spent two years in therapy to learn to accept that my parents will never truly love me unconditionally. I wasn't allowed to attend either of my brother's weddings. I don't have what most people consider a "normal" relationship with my bio family.

Instead, I have my family-by-choice. Parents, brothers, a sister. I've built an awesome circle of friends, who treat me far better than my bio family does.


I've also been a member of an Ex-JW Recovery forum on Yuku. This community has been an absolute savior for many, including myself. It's a place we can go and vent about the crap we deal with because of that fucked up religious cult and everyone KNOWS what we're going through. Because if you haven't been through it, you really don't know.

Several days ago, someone posted about the gentleman who took a very unusual path to dealing with the pain of loosing his religion. The same religion I left.

This was the article posted. About Richard Ivey III, who found inner peace by hanging from six hooks from a tree for four hours.

Now most everyone on this forum is atheist/spiritual, and very accepting of others choices/beliefs/lack of beliefs, but a couple of those that commented on this post mentioned how it looked like he was on the 'wrong path', that hopefully he wouldn't continue down this 'wrong path'.

So two days ago I stepped up on my soapbox.

I asked WHY it was the 'wrong path' for him to take? Who are they to judge him? Many people who had normal childhoods are into pain, tattoos, and bdsm. Just because it's outside of what is considered mainstream, people who are into this tend to hide it from the outside world. Because it's not acceptable, it's not 'normal'.

It's because of things
said like this that there have been 5 suicides in the LGBTQ community. Because someone says something judgmental and kids hear this, and it tells them that they're not worthy, they're not acceptable, there is something 'wrong' with them for feeling this way or for liking certain things (like pain). It's not like we haven't had enough judging from the fucking religion we all have in common.

Stop the cycle of judgment.

That's a paraphrasing of what I posted. I used the word fuck exactly twice, and not once did I verbally attack a person. Their words, yes. That's the major rule on our forum, never do personal attacks. I triple checked my post to make sure there were no personal attacks. Because I was really angry when I wrote it. Because 5 teenagers have TAKEN THEIR LIVES because of shit like this.

Yesterday evening, a full day after I had posted, and after logging in several times during the day yesterday, I tried to log on, and discovered that I was banned, and I have no access to the forum anymore. Today I discovered that the guy that runs the board has unfriended me on Facebook.

I was given no warning, there was no email telling me I had been banned, either for 48 hours (as is common for first offenders) or permanently.

So I contacted the co-admin. She finally got an answer from the main admin who runs the site, who said, yes, he was aware that I had been banned, there was no mistake, and he wasn't going to talk about it. She went to look for the offending post, and it is no longer on the forum, not even in the locked thread part that no one sees. It's just gone. Vanished. Like it never existed.

I still don't know if the ban is permanent or not.

The irony of being kicked off the forum that's a haven for escapees of one of the most judgmental religions for telling people to be less judgmental has not escaped me.

But for it to happen on today was extremely painful.

Today was "Wear Purple" day, to stand up against intolerance, to stand up for unity despite differences.


Today I bleed from a cut I was not expecting. A cut given to me by a place that has been a refuge from intolerance.

I guess it's not anymore.

Wow

So I've been banned from my ex-jw forum. For telling a couple of people to stop the cycle of judgment.

The irony kills me.