Marriage Equality, Part Two

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This is a reply I made to someone on Facebook.

Not everyone believes in the same God. Or Gods. There is a guideline of separation of Church and State in this country. Marriage equality has NOTHING to do with religion. Nobody’s religious views will be affected by it. Churches who don’t believe in it won’t be forced to perform same-sex marriages. My faith (and Mojie’s, for that matter) allow, affirm, and celebrate when people make a commitment to one another. So does my mother’s; she’s an ELCA Lutheran. So does my friend Zach’s. He’s an ordained United Church of Christ minister. By saying that “God” has said this, you take away the voice of their faiths.

If you believe that marriage is for the sole purpose of procreation, do you also support the dissolution and banning of marriages who have zero intention of having children? Or the ones entered into by women past the age of menopause or sterile men? Would you support legislation to require an opposite-sex couple who enter into marriage to have at least one child? If your answer is ‘no’ to any of those, that argument is invalid.

This is completely for the CIVIL equality. There are 1138 rights and responsibilities afforded to married couples by the federal government that are not an option for anyone who’s not in an opposite-sex marriage, including things like property inheritance, hospital visitation, and child custody. My father and stepmother were married in a civil ceremony by a Justice of the Peace. They’ve been married for 30 years. Is their marriage any less valid because they weren’t married in a church? Or because they don’t have children of their own?

How is anyone asking you to give up your rights? There are exactly zero ways that this would impact your rights or your life. You say that you “Do not and Will not stand and let someone try to shove there (sic) beliefs down my” throat. By fighting against what others believe, isn’t that what you’re doing? In this instance, nobody wants to take away any rights from you. At all. Ever. We want equal rights. You want special rights, rights that are not afforded to other people.

I’m sorry you had horrific experiences with some people growing up. I got beaten up by straight people while growing up. I don’t hate straight people, and I’m not trying to take away their rights, simply because I know that not all straight people are the same, just like not all gay people are the same.

All we want is to be treated like Americans instead of being treated like second-class citizens.


Marriage Equality

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So, to anyone out there who may possibly be interviewing anyone who is anti-marriage equality, or even those out there who are reading this who are anti-marriage equality (and, uh, why are you here? Fuck off; you’re a bigoted douchebag), I ask you this (or ask you to ask your interview people this): Why are you anti-marriage equality?

  • If you say “Because the Bible says so!”, you’re disqualified; not everyone believes in your Bible, and you’re cherry-picking parts of it. My faith allows and celebrates people to make commitments to one another.
  • If you say, “Because it’s not natural!”, you’re disqualified; neither are eyeglasses, pacemakers, gasoline, or oxygen tents.
  • If you say, “Because it could/will lead to beastiality (or something equally as stupid)!”, you’re disqualified; there have been exactly zero cases in the last ten years since Massachusetts passed its marriage equality laws where this has happened.

If you’re going to be a bigot, at least have the guts to say it’s because you’re a bigot. I’d have a truckload more respect for you than if you use one of the above. Granted, it’s about a Hot Wheels truckload, but any port in a storm, hey? Two people getting married will not affect your marriage in any way, shape, or form.

Yes, we know you’re still out there. Yes, we’re fully aware that you’re going to try to stop this. What you need to realize is that we don’t give to juicy shits about your little temper-tantrums. We will win this, and you will look like bigger idiots than you already do.

If you really want some credibility for any of your arguments, you’ll bring us facts, not emotional whining. Until then, kindly shut the hell up and get out of the way so the future can happen.


…and cue the Celine Dion…

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Aunt Frances Owens: My darling girl, when are you going to realize that being normal is not necessarily a virtue? It rather denotes a lack of courage!

I need to remember that more often. I’m feeling decidedly… not a part of anything, and that saddens me. I’m feeling isolated, and I’m feeling lonely without feeling alone, and I’m getting neurotic about a lot of things. I’m trying my damnedest not to be and to be more positive, but I don’t know how well I’m doing. I need to change things about myself, both physically and emotionally, but I’m not sure how to do most of that work.

I feel like I let people down a lot, and I neither mean to nor want to. Something needs to change. Maybe it’s time to suck it up and find a therapist. It couldn’t hurt, right?


Ironic: Running Still Life

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still life

(Note: I’m not a visual artist of any kind. This is not a real still-life. It’s ironic, see. Because it’s about running.)

This is a group of most what I usually need to go running. Absent are my shoes, my socks, my t-shirt, and me. The rest of it is what you see.

I have two pair of running shorts. These are the Adidas. The others are black and orange Nike shorts. Both pair are all-in-one shorts (not the technical name; I just can’t think of what the technical name is or might be), meaning that I don’t wear underwear with these. They have a built-in pouch for the boys. Sadly, neither pair has pockets, so that’s what the chain is for.

The chain has my house key on it, since I don’t always run when Leon’s home. If I go out during the day, I’ve got my key without the need for pockets. The other thing on that chain is a dog tag. It’s from Cardinal Health, and it’s a little piece of awesome that Leon brought home. There’s a red one with the Cardinal logo on it around the house somewhere, but we’ll be damned if we can find the thing. It just disappeared somewhere. The black one is the more important thing, though. Cardinal is a partner for the Wounded Warrior program, a program in which I strongly believe and with which I would love to be involved. So until I can figure out how, I wear this to remind me that I’m lucky enough to be able to do this and that there are goals to be met.

My phone goes in the armband. I love technology. It provides my music, my Couch-to-5K timing, and my communication, should anything go wrong. Great headphones, too. I love everything about that. I use two apps when I run. My running app is Run Double, one of the very few apps that I’ve actually paid money for. It will get me through Couch-to-5K, Gateway-to-8K, and Highway-to-10K. I just need my motivation. The second app is I Heart Radio. I can get radio stations from all over (I listen to a local country station) or I can create my own playlist from zillions of songs. It’s fantastic, and it provides me background noise that’s not my heart rate and not my fat-boy-running breathing.

The last couple of pieces are the water bottle and flavor packets. That jug is 32 ounces. I drink one before I run and one after. I’ll probably go through two or three more over the course of a normal day. The packets are from Kroger and Walmart, but most stores carry them. These are the store brands, and they come in a ton of awesome flavors. One of the things that we’ve found out is that they’re supposed to go in a 16- or 20-ounce bottle of water, but that makes them FAR too concentrated and sweet, so we put one pack in a jug of water and the flavor is perfect.

My shoes are the rainbow awesomeness that New Balance put out a couple of years ago. I wear very thin shortie socks to run in. T-shirts are random (today is my Planet Fitness shirt). I should get myself back there sometime soon, too.

And that’s the physical accoutrements of my running. Coming soon: The spiritual side for running for me.


Stress + Flowchart = HELP ME, INTERNET ORACLE!

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I’m seriously debating going back to school.

There are two lines of thought on that, if I do.

I can finish my BTAS degree; it’d take me three semesters, if I’m lucky, four if I’m not.

Or I can switch gears completely and go after another degree.

That seems like a hefty line of thought. I’m not sure what to do. In place of that, I give you a flowchart that I made, because this is the shit I do. And yes, it’s blue, even though pink is my signature color. (And if it’s hard to read, then, uh, you can probably click to embiggen it. If you didn’t figure that out on your own, how are you on the Internet unsupervised?)

backtoschoolSo. You tell me what you think. It’s making me CRAZY.

 


Food Porn: Cheesy Ham Pull-Aparts

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There are no pictures from this. Pretend it’s the “Letters to Penthouse” section.

Dear Michael Symon: I never thought this would happen to me…

The Recipe:
1 (16.3 oz) can of biscuits
1 egg
2 tablespoons milk
3/4 cup diced ham
1/4 cup thinly sliced green onion
1/2 cup shredded cheddar
1/2 cup Monterey Jack cheese
1/2 teaspoon granulated garlic (I used about a tablespoon of minced garlic)

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees. Spray 11×7 or 12×8 glass baking dish with cooking spray. In a large bowl, beat egg and milk with a wire whisk until smooth. Separate dough into individual biscuits and cut each biscuit into quarters. Gently stir biscuit pieces into egg mixture to coat evenly. Fold in ham, cheese, onions and granulated garlic. Spoon mixture into prepared dish and arrange biscuit pieces in a single layer. Bake at 350 for 23 – 25 minutes or until golden brown. You can either cut into squares or just pull apart and serve.

Again, SO FREAKIN’ EASY and so very, very tasty. The green onions added a lovely zing in there. I already have ideas on how I want to change it. I’d like to add broccoli florets. Ours needed more garlic. I think adding some other spices or spice blends would help. All told, again, about 40 minutes.

And don’t judge. I ::heart:: Michael Symon. He’s a total goofball and he’s sexy as hell. Yes, I know he’s married. A boy can fantasize. Seriously, watch The Chew. He and Carla Hall make me so stupidly happy. They make food accessible. It’s awesome.

…and I need to seriously make my Carla Hall post. Because OMG. Super funny, super awesome, GREAT hugger. :-)

EDIT: Holy crap. HOLY CRAP, Y’ALL. I feel like I’m heading back to the Letters section. I tweet messages to celebrities every once in a while. We all do. I never expect a response. I have the feeling that… he actually read this post and I’m about to LOSE. MY. GLITTER.

 


Food Porn: Mini Honey Mustard Meatloaf

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Bear with me. I’m not a food blogger. My pictures are … not professional. You’ll get past it. It’s not about the pretty, it’s about the taste.

Tonight, I made mini honey mustard meatloaf. It’s a pretty simple recipe, but I already have IDEAS about how to change it and make it mine. Much like my knitting, though, I have to do it once as written first.

ingredients

Ingredients!

The Recipe
1 lb. Ground Beef/Turkey/Whatever (I used turkey)
1 Tbsp Olive Oil
1/2 C. Panko Bread Crumbs
1 1/4 Cup Shredded White Cheddar
1 Lightly Beaten Egg
1 Tsp Pepper
1 Tsp Kosher Salt
2 Tbsp Ketchup
2 Tbsp Honey Mustard

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.  Meanwhile, spread olive oil around in a glass pan or baking dish.  In a medium sized bowl mix together meat, bread crumbs, 1 cup cheese, egg, salt, and pepper.  Form meat mixture into 4 mini-meatloaves or two huge one.  In a separate bowl, combine mustard and ketchup.  Spread mustard mixture over meatloaves and sprinkle remaining cheese on top of meatloaves.  Place in oven and bake for 15-20 mins for small loaves or 20-25 for large loaves.

Holy god, these things were good. I wanted more and more. They were moist, they were flavorful, they were lovely. Well, they were ugly as sin, but they tasted amazing. We think they were moist because of the smaller size and the shorter cooking time. I could be wrong and we could be makin’ shit up, but damn, they were good!

prebake

Put together and in the oven (Yes, I know we need to clean the oven. Don’t judge).

resting

Mmm mmm good!
plated

Ready to eat!

Seriously, y’all. These were STUPID easy to make, and they’re wonderful to eat. Start to finish, it took probably 40 minutes, if that, and most of that was the 25 minutes of baking time. For a family of four, they would have been almost perfect. For a couple of bears, they were still perfect!


Discuss: Food

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A friend of mine on Facebook posted this video:

I commented with this:

It’s a good start and it makes much sense. What I’d like to see happen hand-in-hand with it is the subsidies that we’re paying big oil companies (who are making STUPID record profits) go to farmers who are willing to grow food to be sold locally. I think that would help health, food prices, and the economy. I could be talking out my backside on that, but in my head, it makes sense.

It’s a thought with which I know a lot of my friends agree. Let’s discuss this. What are your thoughts?


Just My Quiet “A-ha!” Moment

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Someone on Facebook asked tonight,

[W]hat was your ‘burning bush’ moment? What did that feel like? (Just kind of genuinely curious.)

I was 17. We were in the mountains east of my hometown, visiting friends for Thanksgiving. It was overcast and chilly and kind of barely snowing (you know, what passes for “OMG OMG OMG WE’RE ALL GONNA DIE!!!” in Columbus. Six flakes a minute). Something in the air just didn’t feel right. I told my mom I was going to go for a walk. I was gone for about four hours, just hiking through the trees.

When the wind blows through pine trees, it sounds like no other sound, especially when you’re that far away from civilization (about 30 miles from the nearest town, six miles past the county line and, as such, off the paved road), and that kept me company for the entire afternoon. I saw a porcupine waddle around a big-ass rock. I saw a small herd of deer. I saw a black bear (who should have been asleep long before that) off in the distance. There were eagles. I heard the world around me. I stopped by a small stream that wasn’t yet frozen over, but was only a fraction above it, with the most amazing-tasting water ever created.

I was very quiet when I got back, and Mom waited until I was ready to talk. She listened and thought I was talking about God. I might have been. I don’t think I was. I think that’s the day that I started straying from that path and onto one that suited me better. She understands now, and we’ve both been very supportive of each other’s paths. She knows why I went my direction, and she knows that our paths aren’t that dissimilar.

Even more than 20 years later, I can still feel that wind on my face, the snowflakes touching my skin, hear the whisper of the trees, feel the ground under my boots, see the color of that enormous sky, smell the potential of the earth. I don’t think I’ll ever forget that. I could totally live there.

Blessed be.


Story Time!

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Note: This was written in 2010. I just don’t want to lose it, and I’m kind of proud of it.

I don’t often get taken by the writing bug. When I do, though, it gets… sometimes surreal.  I woke up from a nap this afternoon with a story running around in my head. Here ya go. Enjoy.  Welcome to my polluted stream of consciousness.

*****

I knew I shouldn’t have done it. I couldn’t help myself, but in the back of my brain, I knew I shouldn’t have been out there.

The night was perfect: crisp air, full moon, wispy clouds, a hint of woodsmoke every once in a while on the breeze. By morning, there would be frost on the stubble of harvested cornstalks in this field. And still, I walked around like I owned the place.

I didn’t see, hear, or smell anything out of the ordinary. My nose was cold and my breath was fogging the air in front of me. My brown hoodie was thermal-lined, so I was mostly warm enough, and my fingerless gloved-hands were deep in my pockets. I had almost reached the circle of blue-white light cast by the power pole’s light when there was a frantic, angry bleat from behind me to my right, and before I could do anything, even before I could turn and see what the hell made that horrible sound, I was flying through the air to land facefirst on the crunchy grass at the side of the gravel turnaround. Dazed, I tried to lever myself up, but my hip gave out; I could already tell that I was going to be bruised like nothing else had ever done, and I probably wouldn’t be able to walk in the morning.

Painful as it was, I managed to get myself on my hands and one knee with my right leg straight out behind me. Must have been too good of a target, because the next thing I knew, I had something big and sharp clamped on to my ass. Howling in even more pain, I swung backward with my right arm and made contact with the head that had its viselike teeth sunk into my backside, and it ripped away, pulling one pocket of my jeans and what felt like half of my butt, too.

I glimpsed a big hairy body with curled horns about ten feet away from me, with a pissed-off look on its face. It started to slowly stomp toward me on its spindly legs, tiny hooves barely making sounds on the grass. I remember thinking, oddly, “How can something stomp and not make any noise, especially with those little hooves?” I had gotten myself mostly upright again, and I could tell I was bleeding from my right ass-cheek. The damn thing came at me again, and I managed not to get myself thumped in the stomach. Those horns are bad enough when you get them in the butt and thigh; I’d never breathe again if I took them in the gut.

My noise-level finally roused my grandmother and she sent my uncle out with a baseball bat she kept by the side door to find out what was going on. He managed to scare the thing back into its pen with the bat and by just scaring it back in there, then he came and got me up off the ground. We made our way back to the house, me limping with my arm around his shoulder, him laughing because of the situation.

“This isn’t funny, Jake,” I said as he helped me into the house.

“Oh, believe me,” he said, “It is.”

My grandmother helped me down onto the bed in the spare bedroom where I was staying for the weekend. “What happened out there? You sounded like you were being attacked and killed!”

“I was!” I said.

My uncle Jake lost it at that point. “By the billy goat! He got out of his pen — I told you he’d be able to work that latch; he’s way too smart for a goat — and went on a rampage trying to protect the girls.” He sat down at the kitchen table and erupted in fits of belly laughs.

“Stop that! It’s not funny! I’m gonna be black and blue in the morning!” I scowled at him, which did nothing but set him off again.

Grandma doctored me up and offered to take me to town to see the doctor in the morning. I nodded and made excuses to go to bed. I read my book for a while — Coyote Rising by Allen Steele — and fell asleep.

When I woke up the next morning, my mouth felt like some kind of forest creature had shit in it and then died, so I lumbered, slowly and painfully, to the bathroom to brush my teeth and take a shower. I smelled badly, and my very hair itched. The shower mostly helped, but my scalp still itched for a few days.

Life went on for a few weeks. My visit to the doctor was fine and the bruises went away. My world returned to as normal as my world ever gets. My uncle still gave me crap about the goat attack, but I let him. About a month later as I was walking along a back path through campus, I noticed a couple of paper plates on the ground. I went to pick them up, and before I knew it, I was shoving one of them in my mouth. I stopped myself, panicked. Somewhat in a horrified daze, I dropped the garbage in the trash can as I rounded the corner to the rest of campus and headed for home. I’d email my professor and let her know that I went home sick, which was not really a lie.

When I got home, I just kinda sat there for a bit, unsure of what was going on. I took a shower, disinfected my mouth (because, um, ew, garbage!) and didn’t sleep all night long. I watched the mostly-full moon rise and a while later, watched the sun rise. Like some sort of freaked-out zombie, I got myself ready for school and decided to take another day off.

As I sat around my apartment, I finished my book, started the next one, cleaned up, dozed a little bit, watched some crappy daytime TV. Absently, I noticed that my scalp was itchy, right above my eyes, around the hairline.  About dusk, I had a craving for something… salady. I went to the store and got myself the stuff to make an enormous salad — big bag of spring mix greens, some mushrooms, a tomato (which, y’know, I hate), a couple of peppers (which, y’know, I also hate), a bag of shredded cheese. I had a fantastic recipe for a raspberry walnut vinaigrette dressing at home, so I picked up the ingredients for that. As I was wandering around the store, I put the cheese and fresh mushrooms back. I picked up some goat’s milk feta crumbles and a can of mushrooms instead. It made me feel better for some odd reason. I also hit the health-and-beauty aisle and grabbed myself some anti-itch shampoo and conditioner. Something had to make this stop.

I went home and made the salad in the biggest mixing bowl I had. The craving was mostly sated by the bottom of the bowl, but not quite. I needed something more. I hadn’t cleaned up from making the salad yet, and as I was looking around the kitchen, I saw the can from the mushrooms. I don’t remember moving; I just remember chewing on the can itself and feeling mighty better. Again, that sick, horrified feeling came over me. How the hell was I able to chew on a tin can?? My teeth weren’t meant for that, and my digestive system certainly wasn’t. I threw the can in the recycling and spit out what was in my mouth then stumbled for the bathroom, where I got pretty violently sick.

I was cleaning up when I noticed the tiny bumps at my hairline. That had to be the cause of my itching, which, I might as well tell you, was just getting worse. As I scratched at them, the skin split and there appeared to be … uh, horns. Little button horns. I wiped up the blood as best I could, and just looked at them as they got larger. At the same time, I noticed my fingers not working so well and the hair on my arms getting longer and silkier.

There’s a kind of detachment that happens when you feel like you’re losing your mind. Somehow, I managed to get out of my clothes without ripping them. The transformation finished and as I looked out my apartment window, I saw the split image of the full moon rising. My brain translated the images from my new eyes like they were supposed to be that way, but about half my mind knew that I wasn’t always this way.

Forget all the stories you read about werewolves; they kinda lie. Oh, I’m sure that the wolves will tell you differently, but you keep your human intelligence and reasoning when you’re in beast-form. Hell, after a couple of months, I learned how to control the transformation enough that some Beltane festivals have a real satyr in their midst. They don’t have a freakin’ clue how I make the costume so realistic, but calling on Pan has never been more… interesting.

Three nights out of my month are now tied into the moon, more than ever. One of the things that the legends and stories don’t tell you, though, is that when you get bitten, it’s not actually so bad. Well, the biting itself sucks a great deal, but you have access to all kinds of interesting things afterwards. I can choose which breed I turn into. I know it’s weird to be a were-goat and it’s not something I would have chosen, but I couldn’t have asked for a better critter. I trusted one person in my knitting circle with my secret. Did you know that when you shear a cashmere were-goat, on the next night, all that fleece comes back and you can do it again? Yeah, fun, huh?