The Weight…

“To make a mountain of your life is just a choice.”

I want to open with that song because the opening line of this song is so important. The last month since I’ve been back from Florida has been an interesting one. Things have changed and been shaken up a bit. Some things have shifted in my life and I’ve taken a look at some of my priorities and the people I have made priorities.

I’ve always been of the opinion that a friendship is a choice. You choose to stay connected to a person for whatever reasons and it’s what feeds your friendship. Perhaps you have things in common (i.e. music or movies or a TV show) or maybe you’ve gone through similar experiences or maybe your personalities mesh so well it’s like finding the other half of your soul in a different body. Maybe you like to debate and argue because you’re so different, yet you respect one another’s opinions. Maybe you admire them or maybe they possess a quality you wish you possessed yourself. Whatever the reason, you stay together. You work at your relationship together because one-sided relationships never last. At least not in my experience.

I’ve always been of the opinion that there are times when you will take more than you give, just like there will be times when you give more than you take. The important thing is that you experience both sides of the spectrum within a relationship or someone is going to end up feeling like they’re being used.

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Some Days I Just Need A Reminder…

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I really lucked into this picture. I couldn’t see the screen of my phone when I took it and I didn’t realize until later on that I had footprints in the sand. This is one of the few religious themed things I really enjoy. I think everyone likes to be reminded that they’re not alone in the world. Some days it’s harder to remember than we think. Like I told a friend, I’m not the most religious bird in the tree, but I do believe in God.

Sometimes that belief means more to me than I can ever possibly hope to express and it makes me a little sad when I hear someone else say they don’t share it. Not because I want them to believe in the same things I do or because I’m disappointed in them for not jumping on the Almighty’s bandwagon, but because I know what it means to me to have that belief. It makes me sad to think that someone else is living without it.

But like the wise-beyond-her-years Jen Lindley once said, “God. I’ve never really believed in God. In fact, I’ve spent a lot of time and energy trying to disprove that god exists. But I hope that you are able to believe in god, because the thing that I’ve come to realize, sweetheart… is that it just doesn’t matter if god exists or not. The important thing is for you to believe in something, because I promise you that that belief will keep you warm at night, and I want you to feel safe always.”

Oh and I miss Florida.

Memes On How to Be Human

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I just saw this on Facebook. It bothers me. Why, you ask? Because it seems to me that the Trans Identified or the Trans Community wants to be seen as people just like anyone else who doesn’t identify that way. The thing is, by handing out leaflets like this, they’re setting themselves up to be outsiders. There isn’t a set guideline for how to talk to someone who isn’t trans gender. Coming up with a list of dos and don’ts for people in order to be your friend or to speak to you? That’s… I don’t even know what the word is to describe it.

Yes, it’s rude to ask a complete stranger if they’re pre-op or post-op or if they plan on changing their physical gender at all. Just like it’s rude to walk up to an overweight person and ask why they’re fat. However, people ask questions, in some instances, to educate themselves. By shoving it under a rug, you’re not helping to quash the crazy shit that floats around the ether about people who identify themselves this way.

I can understand not wanting to be a poster child for the Gender Expression Community, but like I said, is the average person really being flooded with questions about it? Maybe they are. Maybe that’s my own ignorance showing.

Everyone has their own story. It would be easy to assume that I have it pretty easy because I’m a white, heterosexual female but trust me, that doesn’t buy me much safety in a country where there are plenty of lawmakers that would be willing to compromise my reproductive rights, police my uterus and tell me it wasn’t “really rape” if I was ever sexually assaulted. Of course that doesn’t just apply to me, but any female of any color, gender, religion or age.

At the end of the day, the important thing is to be kind and respectful to everyone. Not because they identify a certain way but because they are people. Like my mother always told me, “Do unto others as you’d have done to you.”

Unexpected Surprise or Maybe An Easter Miracle…

So for those of you that don’t know much about the more personal side of my life, I should start out by saying that my mother is a functioning alcoholic and has been for probably about twenty years now. I didn’t start to notice it becoming a problem until I was in my late teens. By now I’m a professional at spotting when she’s had more than one cocktail and her feeble attempts to assure me she’s not drunk are useless. In the last few years, the drinking has become increasingly worse. There are several contributing factors to that, I assume. My Gram passed away in 2011 and my sister moved out of the country shortly after that to live with her now husband in Berlin.

Additionally, my mom has never really had a large group of friends and the friends that she does seem to spend time with outside of work, are also alcoholics. Her closest friend is definitely an enabler and that doesn’t help one bit.

Then yesterday, out of the blue, my mother informs me that she has decided to quit smoking and drinking at the same time. For her the two go hand in hand. She doesn’t want to use the patch; she just wants to quit cold turkey. This makes me incredibly nervous. For all of her talking about the importance of getting rid of the negative, my mother is one of the most negative people I have ever met. I hope that getting out from this Bacardi induced stupor will help her shed some of the shit she’s been dealing with for years.

I would like for her to be happy and healthy and find friends that can support her through this time because it’s not going to be easy for her. She’s been an on and off smoker since she was thirteen-years-old. She quit during her pregnancies and a few times throughout my childhood, but she has always gone back to it. My bedroom is next to hers so I hear her struggling to breathe at night. I hope that not smoking anymore will help her sleep better. I hope it will help her be able to take a deep breath without coughing so hard that I worry she might crack a rib or throw up from the force of it.

Most importantly, I hope that not drinking anymore will make her more pleasant to be around. I avoid her when she’s drunk. Talking to her is a waste of time when she is. She says the same things over and over again. She’s gotten to the point where most nights she’s drinking herself to sleep and that’s not healthy. I noticed her eyes starting to yellow and she says that’s part of getting older. That may be true, but the liver damage certainly can’t be helping with that. She told me her liver is okay but I doubt that’s entirely true with the amount of alcohol consumed regularly.

When she’s sober, she’s a fun person to be around. Sadly, my mother isn’t a fun drunk. Her abuse of alcohol has made me determined never to go down that path. In fact, it makes drinking at all difficult. I can’t stand the smell of rum. I hate that when she has a bad day, that’s her go-to for coping. I hope that she finds a new way to deal with the stresses in her life because quitting drinking and smoking isn’t going to make those things go away.

For years I have been urging her to seek counseling to deal with things in her past that seem to be haunting her. There’s always an excuse for why she can’t or won’t go. I’ve come to the conclusion that she’s one of those people that likes being miserable. That’s fine for her, if that’s the way she wants to live. Unfortunately, that leaks out on the people around her and no one wants to be around a Debbie Downer all the time. I love my mother and I love talking to her, but there are certain parts of her life that aren’t my business. Her issues with my father (whom she divorced when I was 5) aren’t my business. I have enough reasons of my own to despise the man without carrying her burdens as well.

So while I wasn’t expecting the bomb she dropped on me yesterday, I was more than happy to hear it. I’ll be as supportive, patient and understanding as I can through all this for her, but I may rip some of my hair out at the same time. I’m thinking positive thoughts that she can and will get through this. I just hope that she believes in herself as much as I believe in her.

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So This Happened…

So I can admit that I’m a bit of a Suzie Come Lately to the concept of feminism. With all the things happening in politics and with rape culture, victim shaming and the Republican party trying to police my uterus, it’s damn near impossible not to have an opinion on all the things happening. I won’t really bother going to all of mine on those issues since I don’t want to keep you here all night. My blanket response to all of that stuff is, “I don’t think so, Tim.”

Anyway… I got a review this morning for a chapter that posted in which a female character proposed to her boyfriend. The reviewer was disappointed that the female was the one to propose because in her mind, that’s the man’s job. Those aren’t exact words but it’s what was definitely implied in her critique. I get it. From the time girls are little we’re pumped full of Disney princess crap, telling us to believe that someday the perfect prince will come along, sweep us off our feet and there will be this magical moment when he proposes marriage. Sounds lovely, don’t it?

Except that’s not reality. Each woman’s idea of the perfect proposal is different. My bestie, for instance, was proposed to at the home opener of a baseball game a few years back when her now husband popped the question via the jumbo screen. Ummm… I would have died. The funny part? She was getting hot chocolate at the time the message flashed on the screen and missed it. Yeah. Not exactly the way he was hoping that would go. It’s a cute story now and everything has worked out for them so far, but I’ve always thought public proposals are a nightmare.

Then again, I like the idea of being at home on a quiet night and it just clicks that proposing is the right thing to say or do. Yes, it’s a big deal to agree to marry someone because it’s a lifetime commitment. However, I like simple things. I don’t think it should matter whether it’s me or the man I’m with that asks the question. The important thing isn’t the setting or the story that goes along with it, but the answer that’s given. None of the flowers, fancy food or even the ring matters if I say no, does it?

What stuck in my craw about the comment I got is that it’s a very patriarchal view of marriage proposals. Society dictates that it’s up to the man to decide when a relationship is ready to take that next step. Umm… I’m sorry, but when did I lose the ability to decide that for myself? There’s a stigma attached to a woman proposing, as if it somehow makes her desperate or pathetic. She’s desperate because she might never get married if she doesn’t put this one on lockdown while she still can.

It’s a silly assumption.

What’s wrong with a woman proposing to a man she’s in a committed relationship with? If it’s agreed that marriage is the end game anyway, what difference does it make who pops the question? Again, we all have our ideals but that isn’t always the way it works out in reality. Sometimes a girl’s gotta take a bull by the horns to get what she wants. Then again, we’re supposed to be the fairer, weaker sex. We’re not supposed to be so open about our wants or needs. We’re not supposed to be the aggressors. That’s “a man’s job”. I think that’s ridiculous.

If I sat around waiting for a man to give me everything I wanted out of life I’d be one sorry woman. In turn, men shouldn’t sit around waiting for a woman to fulfill their needs either. There’s nothing wrong with a man being the first to say he wants a child, although it’s more common, I would assume, for a woman to reach that milestone first.

When I think about it, though, I realize that I came from a family where my grandmother definitely wore the pants in her marriage. She was almost 30 when she got married in 1953. By then most women were approaching the end of their child rearing years. At that point in her life she had served in the Army Nurse’s Corp, caring for wounded soldiers returning from Europe in WWII. She had been to New York for further education in nursing. She went back to work after she was finished having children at a time when most women stayed home to care for the house and their children. Of course she did those things as well, but she had a professional life outside of her family. That’s a pretty fantastic role model to have, so maybe that taints my view a bit. Gram never let anyone or anything get in her way.

She was very much a kick ass and take names kind of woman, and having six granddaughters to pass those lessons on to has meant that there is another generation of girls that aren’t afraid to speak their minds or pursue what makes them happy, regardless of what society dictates we should do. Not every girl gets role models outside of the aforementioned Disney princesses. We were very blessed to have Gram in our lives.

Would I like my happily ever after? Sure.

Am I going to wait for a man to provide it for me? I don’t think so, Tim.

Technology: A Love/Hate Relationship

Closer to the beginning of this calendar year I read an article a friend posted on their Facebook about how the author was going to divorce their cell phone. At the time I rolled my eyes because I thought the whole thing was ridiculous. I mean honestly, are people really that attached to their cell phones? But then yesterday I was reading a bit of something that my beloved kjwrit and I are working on and it mentioned a character being “stone age” for turning their cell phone off randomly when they’re at home. It got me thinking about my own relationship with today’s technology.

There are times when I like to unplug and go off the grid or just lurk. I don’t want my chats pinging, my texts alerting me, my Facebook poking me or my tumblr asking me questions about when I’m going to update a story. Now I realize I did this to myself. I’m the one that opened a Facebook account, began a WordPress blog, chose a twitter handle and started reblogging to my hearts’ content on tumblr. I’m responsible for the PMs, likes, favorites, reviews, ect. I get from fanfiction.net because I’m the one that decided to make myself public to the interwebs.

I was born in ’82 so I can recall a time when cell phones and the internet weren’t readily available. The bulk of my childhood, in fact. We didn’t have the internet in my house until after I graduated high school and even then it was America Online with one of those loud ass modems that woke up everyone in the house if you used it. My Mom got a cell phone in the mid ’90s, but mostly so that my sister and I could get a hold of her when she was working late or so she could call for help if she blew out a tire on the expressway coming home. For that reason, my mom is even less glued to her cell phone than I am and she has yet to fully master how to use her HTC1 phone.

As a kid, if you didn’t want to talk to people, you screened their calls because caller I.D. wasn’t available until I was probably like 12, or something. If you didn’t want to talk to someone, you let the voicemail or the answering machine get it. There was no backup option to text someone, tweet them or send them a message on any other social networking site. You had to hope that they checked their damn messages and called you back sometime before the year’s end… or you know… ever.

Don’t get me wrong, there are great bonuses to technology. This blog, for instance, wouldn’t exist without it. I wouldn’t have met some wonderful people without it. I wouldn’t have been able to post some of my work without it. It would be much harder to stay in contact with my sisters, who are now all living in other places. One is in Ohio, one is studying abroad in York, England and the third is married and living in Berlin, Germany. Technology makes it possible for me to Skype with them, text for free or see pictures almost instantaneously of what’s going on in their lives. There are many advantages of having almost constant access to the internet.

Of course, like with anything, there are pros and cons.

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*Stunned*

So this is a prime example of what I was talking about when I argued with my aunt over Christmas about abortion and how old republican males should stay the fuck out of my uterus.

Idjit

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Did no one ever bother to tell this fool that there are times when it’s okay not to say whatever stupid shit comes into his head? Who issued his medical license, by the way?

You can bet if this was a discussion about how erectile dysfunction medications were unnecessary or how those stupid companies that stimulate hair growth or make a guy’s junk bigger, it would be a completely different ballgame. My aunt, who just turned 60 last October, should be more aware than I am of the sort of medical care a woman needs after the age of fifty. Just because the babymaker is most likely out of order doesn’t mean those body parts cease to exist. The fact that she sides with these morons is appalling to me.

The amount of ignorant bile that is spewed from the mouths of these fools is astounding.

Saying things like that discourages women from getting proper checkups for real threats to their health. Illnesses that I’m sure he knows absolutely nothing about could go untreated and ultimately kill a person, all because this yahoo knows fuck-all about women’s healthcare concerns, other than it doesn’t fit in his budget or scope of importance. He has zero business spouting off about this particular issue and I wish he and his cronies would learn to STFU and stay in their corner, trying not to drag their knuckles when they walk.

Salted Peanut Cake

For those of you that don’t know already, I like cooking and baking. My Great Aunt Mary used to make a cake very similar to this so I thought I would share it. It’s not too sweet and the salty from the peanuts compliments it very nicely.

Cake

To get the recipe for it, click here.

My only advice would be to make sure you stir the milk and flour mixture constantly when making the frosting or you’ll get lumps.

Also, a pound of peanuts is approximately 3 cups.

Happy baking!

Meg

I’ll Probably Get Hate For This But…

I don’t really want to make this into a thing but since this is my blog and I’m entitled to my own opinion, I’m putting it out there. I’m sure if you live in America or have spent much time on the interwebs as of late, you’ve heard about the Phil Robertson controversy. I haven’t read the full article that’s gotten him into so much hot water, but I read snippets of it.

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