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Scarlett gets a bad rap...

I watched "Gone with the Wind" again last night, and I'll admit, I've always been more Scarlett than Melanie. But last night, I realized how unfairly Scarlett gets treated, and I feel the need to defend Scarlett. And myself, quite frankly.

Listen, Ashley marries the simpering Melly. He loves her. We get it. But who does he call on when the going gets tough? Scarlett. He knows Melanie is too wimpy to withstand everything going on -- and maybe that says something about men. They need to protect, to be man enough to stand over a woman. And that ain't easy with a woman like Scarlett, is it?

But Scarlett is at the hospital doing the work. Scarlett is in Atlanta protecting a pregnant Melanie when Aunt Pittypat wimps out. Scarlett crosses Yankee terrain to get Melly home safe with the baby. But does Scarlett get any credit? No. In fact, Rhett tells her how selfish and tough she is on the way. Well, YEAH! Because if she wasn't tough she'd be dead!!! And so would these wimpy women you all profess to love.

So this week my family got some bad news, and I've found a way to fix it. But you know what? It makes me Scarlett, and that makes me ugly and not feminine, but you know what? As God is my witness, my family will NEVER be hungry again. So take that you sweet, simpering Melanies, and when you need help, think about who it is your run to. I raise my glass to ya Scarlett! A tip of the iced soy mocha. Let others be sweet, we'll get things done.


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Let's Talk about Halloween...

I have a complaint about Christians and Halloween. I don't care if you "celebrate" it or not, though I do think many who don't are VERY judgmental about those of us who do. It's a child's favorite holiday after Christmas. They get to leave life behind and imagine themselves as something else. My main complaint is when Christians want to leave imagination aside. But God gave us our imaginations. Great art was inspired by that kind of imagination.

I have a theory that those without a lot of imagination never have much patience for those who "live in a dream world." I live in a very secular place, and personally, I find sitting out Halloween a bit cruel for a child. They don't understand it. They just want to be a princess, or Luke Skywalker...they don't want to worship evil.
Halloween in simpler times:

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One of the standard arguments is that if we understood the origins of the holiday...well, if that argument is to hold up, if we knew the pagan origins of the white wedding dress, we'd go red like the Indians do. My church does "Fallapalooza", which is a Fall festival carnival, and it's a great time. My boys worked the booths, and this weekend they will do the same for the event in a less-fortunate neighborhood. However, I don't want to be the house that's dark on Halloween. I want the opportunity to interact with my neighbors and see all the kids. That's my choice, I understand if you feel differently.

Fear drums up the same response as feeling "happy", so it makes sense that people love their horror movies, love to be scared and turn to haunted houses for that extra spark on this holiday. (On one of my weird brain sidenotes: adrenaline and norepinephrine cause that "fight or flight" response that was supposed to be turned on for three minutes to save our lives. Now in a culture where we're constantly enduring that stress response, it ups the ante for a little excitement. Before you get too judgmental of people who enjoy being scared, it's a biological response -- the same reason you'd go on a roller coaster.)

Mostly, I just don't get why it divides the Christian community. (Does it do that in other countries? Alcohol doesn't do that to Christians in other countries.) I think whenever there's a divisive issue like that in church, it's rooted in pride. In worrying about someone else's response, and this need to believe we are in the right. That's a question between you and God, not for approval from others. I choose to be what I consider a "good neighbor" that night. You may choose to be a good Christian by shutting yourself off from the darkness that night -- and I get it. I respect it. As a discerner, I feel it. I am not implying it isn't dark. I'm only saying I know Who triumphs and I don't want to give fear anymore power than it already has.


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So...if a tree falls in the forest...if a ghost truffle elicits oral fireworks, does it work off more calories or less?? Just a thought to leave you with -- Happy Halloween...or not. Your choice.


Polska Kielbasa Stew Recipe

Here's the recipe for anyone interested. I made a few changes, so it was a little spicier, but life can never be too spicy, right? This was good because it's very affordable, and easy. I buy bacon in bulk and freeze it, so that was handy for this.

1/4 lb bacon, cut into pieces.
2 onions
1/2 tsp thyme
5 carrots chopped
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp fresh ground pepper
1 Bay Leaf
Fresh, chopped garlic (which my kids don't eat because of the smell, so I used dry.)
1 cup macaroni noodles (I used gnocchi because, well, it's just better with gnocchi.)
1 Can cut tomatoes (I used salsa because my cupboard was bare.)
1 can Kidney beans (rinsed)
1 Polska Kielbasa Sausage
16 oz Chicken Broth

Take bacon pieces and cook them at the bottom of a large stew pot. Add onions until they're translucent. Now add the carrots, kidney beans the spices, the noodles (or gnocchi) and the tomatoes and chicken broth and the cut sausage. Simmer and cover for about 25 minutes, and that's it. How easy is that?

It was very hearty and tasted great. Serve with warm bread. Quick and easy.

People of Oz: The sausage looks like this here. It's very cheap and tasty and like most sausage, we probably don't need to know what's in it.

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#Marie Claire -- When Beauty is Ugly...

So if you haven't hear the hoopla, Marie Claire magazine recently ran an article on the "ugliness" of fat people being depicted on television in the new show, "Mike and Molly." With such understanding opinions such as this:


So anyway, yes, I think I'd be grossed out if I had to watch two characters with rolls and rolls of fat kissing each other ... because I'd be grossed out if I had to watch them doing anything.

You can read the entire article here: http://www.marieclaire.com/sex-love/dating-blog/overweight-couples-on-television

As a lifelong, thin chick raised by a fat mother with a mentally disabled brother, I've learned a few things along the way. Mostly, that you can't judge a book by its cover and this article made me so sad!! Not just for the thousands of overweight people it will hurt, but for the poor, sorry skinny chick who wrote it!

She thinks fat is about the food. That fat people have control over what they put into their mouths, and that's it, end of story, end of compassion. You know what? If you had to take care of a special needs' child for the rest of your life, maybe food would be a comfort to you, you think? Maybe you can't get to the gym because you have a mentally disabled adult to care for at home, and can you imagine trying to find a babysitter for a 47 year old? It's not easy. It's certainly not going to be daily.

But what makes me so sad for the author of this piece is that she, like so many others, thinks that happiness comes when you look the way you want. Um, look at Christie Brinkley, Stephanie Seymour, Denise Richards...the list goes on. Being healthy involves more than being skinny, it involves embracing yourself for who you really are, and finding others who embrace that as well. Accept you and love you for who you are inside! That's what brings happiness, that lovely connection between souls.

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Honestly, I honor this author for stating her true opinion. Face it, lots of people feel just like she does, but her mindset is less healthy to me than that of a fat person who enjoys their life. I say that as a size four after four kids. Because I know the overweight people will be outraged. I'm outraged as a thin person because I didn't see my mom as "fat". I saw her as my mommy.

I think those same fears and anxieties that drive some people to eat, drive some people to the gym. It drives them to focus on other people's issues (like fat) rather than look at their own. We all have ugly truths. Getting honest about our OWN is the first step to recovery. Focusing on someone else's is just another way we tell ourselves we're fine. No troubles here. Remember Dorian Gray? Ahem.

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Go ahead, tell me no...make my day!

Tell me "no" when I want something. This is a character trait that can be a. obnoxious or b. success-oriented.

I'm sure to my parents, it was obnoxious. When I wanted a Mustang Convertible, for example: I'd visit Ford Dealerships, grab a Mustang brochure, and put my picture on the girl in the car. I'd say, "No Dad, I haven't driven a Ford lately!"

Daddy said no. And no. And no again. So once out of college, I bought my own Mustang convertible. Then, I got married and DH didn't believe in car payments, so I had to work harder to be a car chick, so that I could cash. That sucked. But I worked it out.

Enter the medical system. I hate doctors. It's not a secret. I think they all have daddy/power issues and cannot STAND to have an educated patient. Personally, I feel their ignorance is unacceptable, and I'm not shy about telling them that. (You're seeing the obnoxious again, aren't you?)

So there is a new drug for MS. I have very few symptoms from MS, but the ones I do have (jumping eyes, occasional fatigue) are being treated with low-dose Naltrexone. This is a drug that costs about $36 a month. By contrast, the ABC drugs of daily shots like Copaxone and such, are about $3,000 a month.

Therefore, the FDA will not approve low-dose naltrexone for the litany of diseases it seems to work for; including MS, lupus, fibromyalgia, bladder cancer, celiac disease, Autism spectrum disorders, just to name a few.

The drug is approved for heroin-addicts at 50 mg. doses. MSers need about 3 mg. I want this medication. I tried to get into studies at UCSF and Stanford (no dice). I called my insurance company. They "don't do that". (You have to prescribe off-label, so no one wants to be responsible for you getting sicker.) This irritates me because it's my life. If I want to try the dang heroin drug, it's my body, let me try it! But no. There are lawyers. There are $3,000 meds to be had at your doctor's office that insurance will pay for. RIDICULOUS!! It's a racket. There's no money in this drug. The pharmaceutical companies have bajillions at their fingertips and your Senator in their back pocket.

So I called my longtime neurologist (over a year ago) who'd never heard of it. (Do you READ the medical journals? Just saying.) So I called heer again, andshe didn't know how to do it. I told her I'd help her with instructions and I'd bring the studies with me, but that got a prompt "we're sorry."

Finally, I decided to work backwards. I called a compounding pharmacy that does it and asked for the name of a doctor. TA-DAHHH!! I have an appointment in January. If my eyes get no better, it's fine. But if, for $36 a month, I can have a better quality of life, I think I should have the right to try it. But I have a healthy hatred for that word "no" and I'm glad. I may be obnoxious, but I can still run up a hill. How many who entrusted their care to a doctor, can't?

Here's the no that became my convertible Volvo. LOL

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Glee Rocky Horror...

I'm not really a fan of the Rocky Horror Picture Show, and I did have a wee bit of trouble believing Will and Emma were old enough to be "big fans" of the movie. But maybe that's me. Has it gone on? I remember it being "over" by the time I graduated (1984), but I wasn't allowed to stay out that late either, so who knows what lies yonder after 11?

I discovered Tim Curry that way though, and for that, I'm grateful. And Meatloaf and Barry Bostwick on the show was a NICE touch. (Did you all know that Meatloaf guest-starred on Ghost Hunters? He was fabulous at it!) The music. Eh. I did love Mercedes' Sweet Transvestite, but what can I say, my heart will always belong to Tim Curry. I think that guy is magic.


Curry

The writing was better. Everyone had a motive for the show, and I appreciated that. It left me hankering for a good Broadway show, and there's nothing playing in the City. I am ready for a Les Miz revival. What did you all think?


Why I was put on this earth...

No, it wasn't to gather handbags, though did you see next week's "Hoarders" is on a woman who hoards handbags? How could that be a problem? Seriously. I don't keep handbags though. I use them, then give them away when they bore me.

So I've been asked about my current "ghostly" interest and my obsessions represent each new phase of understanding. This is my life's purpose. I seek to understand all that is out there. Since I was small, I remember being pained by heartless actions that people could do against another. I didn't understand how people could hurt others. Just do right! I used to think. As I've gotten older, I see that most of the time, people don't mean to hurt others. Actions spring from our own deficits and we have to start within.

I want my mission to be loving others, despite having been hurt. I want to feel that pain, and yet, move on from it and be better for the experience. In my battle against multiple sclerosis, I have learned that a. Doctors don't know anything. and b. Rather than admit they know nothing, they will make you feel like a complete idiot. and c. Answers are out there. The mind-body-spirit connection is not a New Age one as we've been led to believe. It started when the Catholic church said that they owned the souls of Christians, so doctors in Roman times could only work on a body when it was alive. When it was dead, it became the church's. If you look in the Old Testament, there is MUCH to be said for taking care of your temple, and also living a good life to keep your body well.

Here's a great site for God's natural healing through herbs and living consciously:

http://www.bibleherbs.net/


So, do we know everything? Or only what God has allowed us to see? Watching that Tolstoy movie fascinated me. Tolstoy was raised without a mother. He clearly longed for male approval, and I found him weak-minded when it came time to grow up and lead his own family. Sophia could not have been as paranoid and delusional as we've been taught, or she would not have gone to battle legally for her children's inheritance (which she won back.) One has to look at people's motives, which obviously we cannot always see.

Tolstoy did not mean to hurt his family, but his own deficits and longings, blinded him to the fact that he caused a lot of his own grief.

Back to the ghosts. So here's the kind of ignorance that I think hurts Christianity. When we act like we know everything about all. We understand the afterlife, we take the Bible so literally that we deny other people's experiences. I am a true 'feeler', I feel the energy in a room, I can tell when things feel dark and I just sort of have that sixth-sense. That doesn't make me a WITCH, it makes me a discerner. Read the Bible.


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When I was young, I saw a ghost at the Winchester Mystery House. It wasn't scary to me, and the ghost was a blueish-white man in overalls leaning against a horse cart with his legs crossed at the ankles. I never thought anything of it until a few weeks' ago, when I remembered seeing it. I never told a soul, and it didn't alter my life's direction in any way. And I've been told that ghosts are only demons sent to confuse us. But I wasn't confused. Recently I went to the website, and saw that others had seen this SAME image in the SAME place -- and my experience was thirty years' ago.

That fascinates me because I don't understand it. And I believe I was put on this earth to understand, to question and seek to do God's will -- and love others as I love myself. And it is simply not loving to tell another their experience didn't happen. What kind of pride is that? Were you there? Did you see the ghost? And why must people attach a motive to it, which I think is plain evil. But it's a lot easier to say, "Oh you're not walking with God because you had this happen to you."

But this is why my favorite Scripture is, "All a man's ways seem innocent to him, but motives are weighed by the Lord." Proverbs 16:2

I take such solace in that Scripture because it reminds me that sometimes our actions stem from fear. People don't know how to handle something they don't understand, so they simply say it doesn't happen. Or they seek to blame a woman like Sophia Tolstoy for her craziness, when if you ask yourself, what was HER motive? To save her children's future. What was Tolstoy's motive? To leave HIMSELF a legacy. I ask you, if that perspective is correct, and we can't know if it is, but if God's looking at motives, was Tolstoy's actions toward his wife, loving? Did he make her situation better or worse?

But then, even motives stemmed from love can go eerily wrong. And that's what makes us human. Authenticity. Humility.

Expand your world. Don't just stick your fingers in your ears and claim to be more Christian than me. Which incidentally, wouldn't be hard.

How cute are these DeBrand's truffles?

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A Reason for Ugly Shoes...

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Bowling. That's it. No other excuse for ugly shoes -- life's too short. Look at that form up there, that there...that kind of form is going to get you an 82!

Kids were off, and we couldn't decide what to do. Monterey? San Francisco? I voted for the art museum and the Impressionism exhibit. You can imagine how far that idea went. "Who wants to look at art?"

Work with me here. If no one wanted to look at art, why would art exist? What would be the point? Someone wants to look at art. Just not you. Anyway, that idea was a bust.

So we went to iHop. (Which also initiated an argument. One wanted to go to Hobee's.) We visited a dear friend who is working at "Starbucks". (We went to San Jose State and now her daughter is there.) And we bowled. So after my athletic prowess, we're home and I'm going to curl up with a good book while the kids do their homework. Ahhh, all is well in the world.

Okay, so here's the shoes I bought, and I loved these ones with the sequins, but my daughter would have stolen them, so I refrained:


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