Saturday, July 13, 2019

UnPoPuLar OpiNioNs (Things That Are Not For Me)

Sex while swimming
Nope. Here's a thing that only works in fiction. In real life, having sex in water is terrible on several levels. The physics of intercourse mean you've got water squelching into your va-jay, which eliminates the natural lube Miss Puss generates to make sex feel good for both of you, plus WHAT KINDA WATER OH MY GOD? Lake? Ocean? Hot tub? Swimming pool? It doesn't matter, none of that is sanitary. I don't want any of it up in my hooch.

Breakfast in bed
Talk about stuff that only works in fiction! When your loved ones wake you up by delivering a fancy breakfast tray and everybody's all happy. For one thing, don't wake me up. If you're waking me up, something had better be on fire. You can ask my husband. Plus, I need to pee, brush my teeth, wash my face, and all I want is silence and coffee. And finally, who are these people who want food all up in their beds.

Flip flops
My bewilderment over people who wear shower shoes in the city, as though these loathsome things are real footwear, is well-documented in my current and past blogs. Use the Search.

Beer
As a person who struggles mightily with weight, boy am I glad that I never did develop a taste for beer! Thank God for smallest of blessings!

Pranks / "Practical Jokes"
I always give this example when asked why this "fooling people" brand of humor escapes me. This one time, a musician friend in LA messaged me saying that one of his guitar heroes had complimented his playing. I replied, "That's great! I'm so happy for you!" Then he replied that he and his girlfriend are cracking up over how "gullible" I am...huh? What's supposed to be the big joke? I guess I don't get it. Every prank-styled "joke" sounds this way to me. Person A says Thing, Person B reacts, and then everyone laughs because Thing was a lie. I guess I need more brain in my funny, I dunno what to tell you, man. ∎

Thursday, July 11, 2019

ACOSTA FAMILY: Are these girls okay?

When I typed "Acosta..." into Google, the auto-fill came up with "...family." That means I'm not the only one who went searching online to verify the authenticity of this photo from the day Trump Labor Secretary Alex Acosta took his oath of office. Because look at it. Are these little girls okay? The tight body language, the dark circles, the blank eyes, the severe haircuts...and look at the mother! People, look, this is not a joke. These girls and their mother appear pale and stricken. What in the name of Caucasian fuckery is this family enduring in the household ruled by this man who doesn't care if billionaires are raping middle-schoolers on an island. Something is wrong. ∎


Sunday, July 7, 2019

I made the hell outta this tuna steak

Tonight I made tuna steak topped with nectarine salad over baby mixed greens. It's simple, summery, tasty and under 500 calories. Star Market had frozen tuna steak on sale, so I bought one without a plan for how I was gonna cook it. I looked up a few recipes online and came up with this dish. First I diced two ripe nectarines, a handful of fresh basil leaves, and half a red bell pepper in a bowl, drizzled olive oil, balsamic vinegar, added a few squirts of lime juice. I did that first so all the flavors had a chance to get cozy while I prepared and cooked the fish. I rubbed the tuna with a smidge of olive oil, and a little salt and pepper. A tablespoon of vegetable oil in a hot pan, and then I seared the whole piece of fish. There are YouTube videos that show how to cook a piece of tuna just right. On the plate I put down a bed of baby mixed greens, then the tuna (sliced to share with Joe) and topped it with the nectarine salad. I'll make this again for sure. ∎

The Destructive Myth of "I Don't See Color"

I wandered into the TV room where my little brother was watching Miami Vice. Twisting around to look up at me from his favorite TV-watching position (on his tummy, on the rug, elbows propped so he could rest his little chin in his hands) Mike asked me which Miami Vice guy I thought was cuter—Crockett or Tubbs? I had just turned fourteen and my room was newly decorated with pulpy pages from Tiger Beat, and me and my friends spoke of "cute" guys, which fascinated my little brother and led to lots of questions like this one. At that moment, my answer was Tubbs. I liked Tubbs. "Which one is Tubbs?" Mike asked. "Phillip Michael Thomas," I replied, to which Mike said, "Which one is he?" I don't remember the rest of the exchange, but that's not important. What's important is that I knew Michael was trying to see if I would say "the black guy." I didn't, because I wouldn't, because I thought we couldn't say "black guy." Why not? Out of respect! We were taught that describing people that way was wrong and racist. Well that sounds good, until it doesn't anymore.

My hope is that Generation X is the last generation to try the whole "I don't see color" thing thinking they're helping to advance and improve race relations. "I don't see color" may be well-intentioned, but it is harmful, disingenuous and insulting. Only white people say "I don't see color." White allies seem to think it demonstrates that they're simply lovely towards all people regardless of race. They very well may be! Wouldn't it be a wonderful world if every self-described colorblind white person is pure in their intent! But let's not fool ourselves, that's far from reality. Starbucks CEO Howard what's-his-face said it recently, didn't he? So, no. These are the folks who were shown the picture of all differently-toned eggs with the "we're all the same on the inside" platitudes and figure they more-or-less "get it" about race relations. Same on the inside. People are not eggs. It's insulting. And it has never worked and now we have Donald Trump.

Seeing "Color"

I pause here to say I hate these terms. I really do. I feel stupid even saying "I'm white" when speaking about race relations, but these are the terms we've got for these discussions. If you want to talk about "color" then I'm sort of a pale pink, actually. There's a lot to slog through when confronted with white supremacy, starting with the fact that "white" is not a "race." Every damn February these terrible people come out saying "where's WHITE HISTORY MONTH!" as though that's any sort of legit hill do die on, citing "reverse racism" (what) and a whole litany of other hateful bullshit. I tolerate NO RACISTS in my world anymore, that includes family. If you're a racist, you're not my family, fam. Off you go. For the sake of brevity and clarity, I leave those people and their sad belief system for another day, another essay that I will surely write. There will be F-bombs in it, no question.

"Black" is not an insult!

I didn't realize until adulthood how lucky I was to be raised in the city, by really young parents. My mom was amazing and made sure she didn't raise fools. She loved R&B and Motown, went out dancing all the time, took us to see concerts (Stevie Wonder. the Commodores!), watched Soul Train every single Sunday morning, etc etc etc. Personally, my world was a delightful one for all of the black people and culture surrounding us every day. To this day I'm more comfortable among a mix of people. Thank God my parents got that right. What they and all adults got wrong was how to "see color."

Okay, so we know our parents didn't want to raise race-ignorant people like THEIR parents had been (we are Sicilian and good lord, do I have stories) and so they worried that the world would take us wrong if we were to call a black guy "a black guy." That's where "I don't see color" was born. However well-meant, when our elders taught us to "not see color" it made us feel ashamed every single time we noticed blackness, as though "black" was some sort of taboo subject. This is not right and it has ill effects. Mainly, it stifled any sort of exploring of racial differences in any meaningful way. In a school with a mix of kids from all different families, being ordered to "not see color" felt like we weren't supposed to acknowledge race at all, ever. Treat everyone equally, yes okay, but we can't talk with each other in relation to each other? Can't discuss our ideas, our hair, our shoes, our music, our mom's cooking, our family life...? No? But how come? That's why when I was fourteen I thought the "right" way to live graciously was to ignore blackness as an inherent quality, like in my example of Phillip Michael Thomas where I contorted my language every which way in an effort to avoid saying "the black guy." I didn't want to set a bad example for my little brother, who was looking to me to find out how to describe Tubbs as opposed to Crockett. But it bothered me, to the point where I'm still thinking about that day all these years later. Why must I rob Phillip Michael Thomas of his blackness? I should have been able to say "The black guy, Michael. That right there is a beautiful black man."

If you can't acknowledge race and all the things that make us all different, you can't properly share experiences, you can't express anything, and that includes positive things. They wanted us to avoid a racial divide, but making the subject taboo only served to deepen the racial divide. Once in grade school, Mrs. Jones said something during music class about how all the black kids in our class could sing, and she said that singing beautifully was commonly a talent that black people have...I remember to this day the rush of embarrassment...we're not supposed to notice blackness, Mrs. Jones! That's racist...isn't it...? That being said, all the black kids in our class COULD sing beautifully soooo...yes, our elders had us all twisted up in our world view over race relations.

Even if, like me, you were raised with the mindset that every person is worthy of respect, love, adoration, rights, here's the thing. Claiming to not "see color" feels like yet another way of erasing blackness. Every time I start to wonder, as an adult, why as a country we're still trying to figure out how to talk about race relations, I stop wondering when I remember we never learned how in the first place. The best our elders could do back then was "don't see color" which was a way of saying "you are all the same." Well we're NOT the same, and there's been a lot of life since 1984, and now I'm here to say we should be seeing color. We should be seeing and loving blackness. We should be seeing, loving and respecting blackness. We should all of us be seeing, loving, respecting and celebrating blackness. I think it's important, primarily because too many white people who "see color" and react NEGATIVELY (like trigger-happy cops for example?) are out here being straight-up assholes, and I don't see how keeping silent is helping. Speak up. Black is beautiful, talented, smart. Black is amazing, y'all. DO see color. See that it's awesome.

Some tips, white people:

If you really want to help, quit saying you don't see color. Maybe just be a normal freakin' person about race relations—use your head, use your damn privilege for that matter. Educate yourself. Listen more. If you didn't grow up in a mixed-race life, maybe it's all new to you, and it's okay if you don't know how to fix your narrow world view. You could ask how to start, though, did you ever try? You may not have had to think about the vast complexities in race relations in your life at all. Guess what. There's not a black person alive who hasn't had to think about it every single damn day. Learn that, for starters.

  • You're gonna have to re-learn some American history. Read black writers and recommend books to your friends! Those in my age group (Gen X) were woefully kept from black writers in school. Crack those books they never told you about! Get online and ask for recommendations.
  • Tune in to black podcasts and TV shows. I've been with Desus and Meru since YouTube and love their Showtime show. Speaking of YouTube stars, I can recommend Roland Martin if you want to learn with some straight talk. There's a lot of black media if you seek it out, and by the way, if you turn on the mainstream news for analysis and you see all white faces, find another source. Everyone in America should know the names Kimberly Atkins, Zerlina Maxwell, Karine Jean-Pierre, Yamiche Alcindor, Eddie Glaude, Malcolm Nance, Maya Wiley...of course the Rev. Reverend Al Sharpton saves my sanity everywhere he shows up on TV and other media (when does Rev sleep!?).
  • Speaking of media, you know you can watch anything you want on BET and other black media, right? I'm amazed at white people who unilaterally ignore certain movies and stuff because they don't feel like it's "for" white people. Dude, what. TV was invented in the 1950s and for decades, black viewers watched all those white people on every show on every channel never seeing black actors. It's comical to shy away from black movies and shows. Listen, you're missing out. I feel sad that your mom didn't sit you down in front of The Wiz AND The Wizard of Oz when you were little, but it's not too late. We live in a golden age of content, so it's real easy to go back and catch up on stuff you missed because you were taught that it's not for you. Don't be so damn white all the time, jeez.
  • When a black person is speaking (or tweeting) their truths and something about "white people" comes up in the narrative, don't you dare start in with "Not all white people..." If ANYONE understands the feeling of being lumped in with a whole entire group wrongly in any way, it's a black person, so don't even try with "not all white people" right now. You do not have the floor. Just listen and learn something for once.
  • When talk turns towards black community issues, such as the question of reparations for the descendants of slaves, and you think you know what you're talking about, you don't. ("But I--") No. ("But my--") No. You can't possibly, it doesn't matter if you come from Irish, Italian or any other group that arrived in America and were also persecuted...it's not the same thing at all. Sit down.
  • Don't ever look for any pats on the back. It's not easy to explain how gross it is when white people claim some sort of glory because they have that "black friend" and rarely does this sort of self-congratulatory posturing ever add to the narrative. Don't do it. Don't. DON'T USE BLACK PEOPLE AS PROPS.
  • Never excuse any hint of "us" versus "them" coming from your white friends or family. ANYONE. Ever. People are shocked to find there are certain family ties that I cut long ago because of toxic racism. Older folks who were raised with the adage "blood is thicker than water" have tried to shame me using the ideological cudgel that family is family, no matter what. That's bullshit. It's actually, “The blood of the covenant is thicker than the water of the womb.” The "covenant" here is: no racists. The end.∎

Thursday, July 4, 2019

Yes, I UnFriended You Over Politics and No, I Do Not Feel Bad About It

I've been sitting on this one for years, partially due to my struggle and writing in general and partially due to uncertainty on whether or not I'm even right. People are so confident, you see, when they tell you what they think of you for quietly walking away from a friendship "just because of politics." They act hurt. Betrayed. They symbolically shake their heads, they say things like "I thought you were more open-minded than that." Naturally any self-aware individual would be uncertain. "Am I being closed-minded right now?" we ask ourselves. Well let's unpack it. First thing first: what do we mean by "because of politics" anyway?

In the parlance of our times your "politics" comprise and embody your beliefs and principles as they pertain to governance, both abstract and in particular. In the abstract, your support for "small government" makes you "conservative" by definition and on this hill you stand strong. You may hold beliefs that government has no business messing in your personal life, citing "it's a free country" and so forth. In particular, maybe you believe you shouldn't be forced against your will to sign up for any health insurance, or vaccinate your children, or if you want to keep a cow on your land and drink her unpasteurized milk every day, the government has no say in the matter. Perhaps you object to the idea that government should foot the bill for shoring up the lives of poor, sick or disabled citizens by providing any sort of nutrition, medicine or housing because of the astronomical cost. Maybe you lay awake at night worried about the national debt.

My People

You are either My People or you're not. Here's who I call Friend. Nice people. Good people. Kind people. People who keep trying to become nicer and better and kinder. People who read. People who listen. People who carry love in their hearts. Compassionate people. Curious people. People who appreciate other people. Struggling people, successful people, sad people, happy people. People who help, people who ask for help, people who care. People who get mad, people who get sad. People who make mistakes, people who apologize. Devoted people, humble people, proud people, confused people, thinking people. Honest people.


Not My People

Here's who I simply don't care to know. People who cheat. Greedy people. Manipulative people. Selfish people. Hurtful people. Small-minded people. Liars. Thieves. Bullies. Pretenders. Gaslighters. People who are always right no matter what. People who conflate their private, personal beliefs with laws of the land and then cry persecution when the other billion people around them don't participate in their twisted little game of Simon Says. Intolerant people. People who aggressively take part in "Othering" and then want extra points for "a black friend" or a gay co-worker. Racists. People who enable racists. Did I say Liars? Misogynists. Assholes.

Each of us has got every right to support whatever body politic aligns with our preferences, and live our lives accordingly in and outside the voting booth. No one seeks to take that from you, but by the same token, we all of us ought to be able to stand by our choices in, and to reiterate, outside the the voting booth. If only this were about "politics" in the way that you pretend it is, but sure, let's call it "your politics." Why are you now an UnFriend because of politics? Maybe it's because your "politics" suck.

The nice white people who freaked out when their twenty-something son fell in love with a woman from Ethiopia. "Is she BLACK?" and "Don't you dare bring a black girl to dinner" were some of the things they said. In later years, those white people would deny they'd ever said those things. This is gas-lighting at its most brazen, until the day came they had to own up. Even then, no reversal nor  apology. To wit, "...yeah but then we met her and we liked her!" Congratulations, you're racist. To be so aggressively against a person without having met her, based solely on the only information you had about her is the literal definition of what "racism" means. You get zero points for "but then we met her and we liked her." Zero.

The loud white man who should know better because he fell in love with and married a brown-skinned woman who bore him a brown-skinned child. He votes for Trump, he defends the hateful immigration bans and ruthless rounding up and detaining of brown-skinned people who may or may not be "legal," then proceeds to finger-wag his liberal friends, taunting and calling them idiots and "libtards" who want "open borders." Congratulations, you're not only racist, you're also super-confusing. You get zero points for "but my wife and daughter..."

The white mom who thinks "voting for a racist doesn't make a person a racist" and feels good about it. Zero points.

The white girls from high school who looked down their noses at classmates who didn't happen to be born into land-owning, wealth-hoarding families and are still the stuck-up, entitled people today that they were when we were teenagers, posing with Trump signs in Trump tee-shirts and posting about "them" in negative terms. You're still "othering' people as adults? Well, I'm "them." Your privilege is still ugly. Gross. You get NEGATIVE POINTS.

Someone That I Used To Know

Let's be honest about what "over politics" means. Your politics reflect who you are as a voting member of the national populace and as a human being, whether or not you self-identify as "conservative" or "liberal" or any other recognized political party. Take "party" out of it entirely! Don't tell me your political party, I don't care what you call it. Put aside these hasty labels, pretend that we haven't been sorted and tagged and pitted against each other in this terrible way. Instead, tell me this: what have you learned in your life that has shaped your mindset and influenced your heart? What do you say and do that makes you feel good? That's your "politics." I don't care what you prefer to call it. I only care how you make me feel whenever we're interacting that tells me if you're a Friend or an UnFriend. You ARE your politics, and I don't do Toxic anymore. Yes, I UnFriended you because of your "politics" and I don't regret it, and I don't miss you. You were crystal clear: you're Not My People. I don't wish you harm and I don't hate you. I nothing you, with civility. You're just someone that I used to know, someone I see occasionally in polite company. But know that we're UnFriends. In the parlance of our times, bye Felicia. ∎


  



Sunday, June 30, 2019

I found it.

I knew that I would find it. For years I've been browsing second-hand shops for this specific bible, The Children's Bible, because this bible, you see, was my first bible. This is where they started us wide-eyed, plaid-claid whelps at St. Margaret's in the 1970s, talkin' about God and George Washington with the exact same measure. I had questions then, and I still have questions. Now that I have finally gotten my hands on this book, I will be pushing up my glasses at you about some important bible-related stuff. ❌

Breakfast, etc

Don't worry, Diary of a Low Budget Superhero won't morph into a boring food blog. I just need to remember this later for tracking purposes and I already have this platform, so: Breakfast was at 10am, and I made a bowl with 1/3c barley, 1/2c mixed berries, and a Chobani "less sugar" yogurt. And coffee with 1 tbsp powdered creamer, which at some point I'll omit because it's all chemicals, but I need it right now. Thank you. ∎

Update July 01 (9pm'ish)
I downloaded LoseIt, the nutrish app. This morning I linked Apple Health—that's what I use to track Steps—to Loseit. This has made me extremely happy. Here's the thing: I tried Loseit years ago, and I mean like on-my-Blackberry-years-ago. I must say I'm impressed at how much smarter Loseit has become to date. I have a ton of respect for balls-out splendid development and these guys rocked it. For example, I thought it'd be a one-way feed from Apple Health into LoseIt. Nope—better. LoseIt feeds back to Apple Health too. And Loseit integrates my Apple Health steps, meaning the Steps aren't merely visible, that data impacts the LoseIt data.That's a wildly smart innovation from a UX perspective. It could be game changing for a lot of folks, myself included, whose struggle includes being great at keeping tidy notes for six or eight weeks and then PPPPTTTHHHHhhhhhh. With Loseit's elegant features I can't see how the process could be any simpler. Plus, they're making it super-incentivizing to upgrade to Premium with extra features, including tracking blood sugar, whaaaat. Can't swing the upgrade right now. It's not too much $$ for people who work, but for poor-ass me battling PTSD and not working, it's too costly. My existing bills going unpaid contribute to my anxiety. But still. Game changer. ∎

Update July 03 (11:30am)
Okay MAYBE I will keep blogging about food, either here or I'll use another platform.
It's been five days since seeing a whole new kind of doctor, a miraculous unicorn of a nutrition expert, weight loss medicine scientist and counselor. I have lost six pounds since Friday. I told Jenny, I told Joey, I told my therapist all about it and together we marveled: this is amazing, why didn't anyone tell me. Next week (Wednesday) I start a new medicine that, did I say miraculous, I can actually afford. I specify that, because my endocrinologist has tried to get me on a med that'll help me along with weight loss, but it cost more than a car payment even with insurance. I have a different/similar prescription now. I won't need to be on it forever, just a boost to get me past the long-standing hurdle. If I can drop one pound every week, my goal is achievable, even now as I'm struggling with PTSD. I'm grateful, hopeful and cautiously determined. One pound a week. That's all I need to do. And I have a team now. These women (therapist, wellness/weight loss doc, and poor endocrinologist who has been so patient with me and all my problems) are the team I have needed and didn't know it. ∎

Saturday, June 29, 2019

"There used to be food at the grocery store."

I'm paraphrasing the late Spalding Gray. I forget which of his monologues contains the bit about trying to get healthy and eat right and realizing how much junk is in everything. Today I texted Jenny from the grocery store, tediously reading label after label, "Is there anything more despairing than the first Shop after a weight loss doc. FFS!"

Goals

So last month at my annual physical I asked my doc if he could refer me to our local Center for Weight Loss. He did. Last week I went and, to my puzzlement, that doc was a surgeon. Surgery wasn't what I was after...more like I was seeking a boost in some other way. Um, a magic pill maybe? I'm dealing with so much, I suck at this, never could sustain exertion, and these days I can't handle too much at once. 

There is no magic pill, but there's science

I guess surgery is the magic pill for lots of folks who've struggled with maintaining diet and exercise, but..."I go in here (pointing to my tummy) and here, cut away most of your stomach and off it goes to Pathology..." said this surgeon. His enthusiasm was almost macabre, but I believe he wishes the best for fat people who have been struggling to become fit. I told Joe about it when I got home and he said, "Um...that's not for us." Don't you love how he says "us." He's my favorite person in the whole world. And he's right. Though it seems to "work" quickly, it's not for me. I need to lose all this weight without a scalpel and all the problems associated with most of my actual stomach being literally cut out and thrown in the cremation fire. Though the surgeon did have a good schpiel about obesity and its role in myriad health issues, I knew all that and that's how come I am looking for HELP. Even so, his schpiel got me to go make an appointment with a different doctor entirely that nobody had ever mentioned before and I sure wish I'd known about her. That appointment was yesterday, and, long story short, it went great (of course I cried) and I'm on a program now. I have goals, and the continued help of a new doctor who knows her science. I'm thinking I can do this all of a sudden.

"There used to be food at the grocery store."


Food can be poison or it can be nutrition. There's a quote knocking around the web that goes "Eat food. Mostly plants. Not too much." Basically the whole middle aisle section of the grocery store? There's scant stocked there that I should be eating. MY food is at the perimeter: the produce, the proteins. Today's shopping took forever because of all the label-reading, but I made it back home with my haul, the first with extra-tight focus on lean, fit and healthy foods. What's awesome is that me and Joey already love the Mediterranean diet, it's just that I have been lazy about portion control, and serving far too much rice or potatoes or corn, using too much sauce-y stuff and lately I've been too heavily reliant upon "convenience" foods like packaged, frozen stuff from Trader Joe's. It starts with a convenience food here and there, then before you know it, there's too much going into your body that was made in a factory or lab. My own Rule 33 says not to eat that. I got lazy. Deep breath. Making some changes.

Tonight I made pan-seared salmon with a barley salad. I did the salmon with ginger, lemon and balsamic (skin on), and the cooked barley I tossed with lemon juice, grape tomatoes, seeded/diced cuke, and five diced walnuts, and a couple handfuls of baby spinach, served warm alongside the fish. We were both full and Joey prescribed the plate "So summery and so tasty!"  I made the whole box of barley so I can just scoop it the rest of the week into salads. Technically a serving for me is 1/3 cup. Got my measuring cups out and will be using them for portion control. IT'S ON, DUDES. ∎

Wednesday, June 26, 2019

Mercedes or Sarah?

Sarah or Mercedes?


"This actress shows up in so many shows I like!" I said, watching re-runs of The Finder and Person of Interest...um...as it turns out I have been enjoying the TV dramatics of two different actresses entirely, whaaaat? According to the imdb, Texas native Sarah Shahi was born Aahoo Jahansouz to an Iranian dad and Spanish mom, and Swedish actress Mercedes Mason immigrated to the US at 12 and became a citizen in 2016 and she's married to that guy with the beard from that thing. Is it only me? I dunno but I think at some point these women should be twinned in some good TV drama with a lotta action. Maybe vampires. Because damn...∎  
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Forged: Writing in the Name of God
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