- Pokemon cards
- Toy attack heli
- toy halo scarab
- A gay couple.
- An Iranian girl who’s constantly mistaken for an Iraqi.
- A feminist environmentalist.
- Your sex life is your business; you don’t need to tell friends and family who would judge negatively or wouldn’t understand.
- Be honest about being polyamorous, but don’t force people to deal with it.
Both of those mindsets mean that non-poly-friendly family and friends of polyamorous couples never have to deal with the polyamory. Take, for instance, Robert and Pat. Pat would be what is sometimes called in polyamorous circles a “secondary.” Robert may go out with Pat to dates and dinners, may spend the night at Pat’s place, may even meet Pat’s family and friends. But Robert does not introduce Pat to his family or friends. He doesn’t take Pat out in his town. If Susan or any of Robert’s family needs him (or Susan’s family), Robert will break a date with Pat in a heartbeat. Susan treats her boyfriend the same way, always placing him second to other life importances.
- Baked Macaroni and Cheese. Mom never cooked that awful bright yellow boxed stuff. I was introduced to boxed Mac & Cheese powder as an adult, and I’ve never been able to develop any taste for it. Truly horrific stuff. I miss the goodness of real cheese, melted with milk into a roux of flour and butter, then baked with al dente macaroni noodles in the oven. I’ve tried a variety of baked macaroni recipes over the years, but none of them quite achieve how mom’s was. It mostly seems to be a problem in the crust — I remember mom’s baked mac and cheese as having a kind of chewy/ crunchy crust, but all the ones I make have a barely-there crust.
- Mint Surprise Cookies. Mom made these every year at Christmas. She would buy a pack of Andes mints, slice them up into slivers, wrap the mints in the cookie dough, roll them in granulated sugar, and bake them. Fresh out of the oven, they would get topped with a pecan. They were delicious, but I don’t know the actual cookie dough recipe.
- Peanut Butter Kiss Cookies. I know, I know. Recipes for this cookie abound. I even made them all the time as a teenager. I don’t know what the hell is going on with my PB cookies now, but they always turn out (in my opinion) kind of dry and crumbly instead of chewy on the outside and moist on the inside. I thought maybe it was because I was using crunchy PB, so I switched to creamy, but nothing doing. This, admittedly, may be a situation of me being a perfectionist, because everyone who’s tried my PB cookies swears up and down that they’re delicious.
- Jam. The homemade jam recipes I’ve tried have been pretty basic. The jam turns out as required, but it’s not very . . . jammy. Like, thick. Mom’s was thick. Mine is spreadable and still delicious, but it’s not as thick as mom’s was. Again, no one else seems to mind. Last time I canned jam, we ran out within 3 months. But every time I ate it, I remember the jammy perfection of my mom’s jam, and I felt let down and disappointed.
- Schnitzel. My parents made it out of breaded pork, served it with a squiggly pasta and capers, and usually had an apple/ raisin/ yogurt salad on the side. I’ve never even tried to make it, but I’ve been missing it lately.
- And finally, that most important and wondrous of recipes . . . Crescent Rolls. I don’t know what mom did or where she got her recipe, but I’ve been unable to recreate it. These were the flakiest, butteriest, most delicious rolls in the world. She would usually make a double (sometimes triple) batch at Thanksgiving, and they were always the first leftover to disappear. We’d just wander into the kitchen, grab a couple of these babies out of the bread drawer, and wander off snacking on them. My dad’s new wife is a pretty freaking awesome cook, and even her crescent rolls can’t match my moms. In sorrow, I’ve reverted to buying those Pillsbury canned rolls — they may not be awesome, but I least I can comfort myself that the inadequacy and lack of flavor is derived from the can.
I’d also like to try my hand at fried chicken again. Mom never made this, and I never really learned how. However, I recently learned that my husband loves fried chicken, but he dislikes KFC about as much (if not more) than I do. We’ve been settling for Albertson’s fried chicken in the lack of a Church’s Chicken (which is, according to John, the only place to buy fried chicken at). Amy, Goddess of the Kitchen and All Things Delicious, has promised to send me her fried chicken recipe, which I’m excited to try.
- They made fun of me for getting an e-reader when I first bought my Nook. Not, mind you, for buying a Nook specifically — for getting an e-reader, which they said was useless and a waste of money.
- When they changed their minds about e-readers, they asked my advice and opinion. Specifically, over the course of several visits. I gave them all the reasons — ranging from the shady ethics of Amazon, the poor treatment of their authors and customers, and the superior OS of the Android-based readers — to get any e-reader except Kindle.
- Beyond simply ignoring me, they also chose to buy a Kindle for someone I had gifted my first-gen Nook to. I had also planned to buy her a Nook Touchscreen at Christmas if she liked it. When she returned the gift of my Nook within two weeks because she had been gifted a Kindle, it felt a bit like a kick in the teeth.
- Finally, and most bafflingly, these people have a B&N membership, which would have really extended the value of a Nook.
So the one time they do ask my advice on something, they make a big thing about bringing it up every time they see me, asking the pros and cons of each device, discussing it in depth — and then going with the only e-reader I categorically recommended against? Seriously, I recommend the Nook, the Google Story, the Kobo — even the freaking Sony Reader line over and above the Kindle. Mainly because I feel Amazon is a horribly unethical company that only makes changes to benefit their customers when they’re a) called out on their dickery or b) when a competitor begins making money hand-over-fist because they offer something Amazon has refused to offer despite repeated customer requests (see every improvement to the Kindle since the Nook came out).
- A suburban sci-fi YA novel. I’m pretty sure that when/if I finish it, it’ll actually be considered just YA sci-fi, but I call it “suburban sci-fi” because it’s similar in tone to a suburban fantasy (fantasy in a modern-day, real-world setting), but it’s sci-fi instead of fantasy.
- An autobiography. This one I am, admittedly, not concentrating much on. See, more than a few people who mainly know me through my writing have told me I should write a book about my experiences of the past 10 years — marriage, motherhood, losing my own mom, separating from my husband, getting back together with my husband, becoming atheist, dealing with natural disasters, the marriage/ relationship experiment we tried, coming to terms with my husband’s sexuality, etc. etc. And John’s said he’s okay with it, even though it would more than likely reveal some pretty private stuff about both of us. But I just don’t feel comfortable with it, because it does require writing about family and friends who may not want to be written about. So I work on this on a sort of intermittent basis, but I don’t focus a lot of my energy on it. Honestly, I could probably just compile 10 years of letters never sent, blog posts (both posted and unposted), and journal entries. But it’s a really personal, revealing project, and it really does make me uncomfortable on a visceral level. Mainly I’m worried that if I finish it and it does get published, people I know will read it. I don’t care about strangers reading it; but I don’t want family or friends reading it. Also, it feels a bit, I don’t know, egotistical to write an autobiography. I’m a nobody. I’m told this doesn’t matter, and that I have a lot to teach people. It still feels very . . . arrogant. Reeking of hubris. You could say I’m conflicted about this project.
- Finally, I have a series of short articles on feminism and relationships.
- I am going to work harder on maintaining lines of communication between myself and my siblings.
- I am not going to associate with people who drag me down.
- This Christmas, I am going to focus on what I’ve always loved about the holiday: family, giving gifts, and baking.
I was watching this video today, and it got me thinking about being an atheist in America. I actually don’t notice much (if any) discrimination. I think it’s because of my location — the Pacific Northwest is an ideal place to be an atheist. We’re not at all uncommon around here. A friend of mine once told me that our state has the highest rate of churches per capita, and the lowest attendance. If true, that’s a really interesting factoid.
If you watch that video, there are interviews of mid-west/ Bible belt atheists, and how they get treated by classmates, teachers, neighbors, etc. when they come out as atheists. One woman was kicked out of her apartment by her landlord; one girl was called ‘devil worshipper’ by her teachers and told to leave America; and one family lost all their friends because they spoke out about public school time being used for religious indoctrination. The other day, an Ohio atheist posted a question on reddit about his group of friends being kicked out of a pizza place because one of them was wearing a shirt with the red “A” symbol on it. The waitress asked what it meant, they said they were atheists, and the owner came over and kicked them out — but only after taking payment and refusing to box up the leftover food for them.
These kind of stories always surprise me. Around here, anti-atheist sentiment is highest during the holiday season — this is when I tend to say, “Merry Christmas,” instead of “Happy Holidays” because I don’t really want to be subjected to a rant from a random bystander about the sanctity of Christmas. In recent years, I will admit that when I’ve been subjected to those rants, I’ve responded by just pointing out that Christmas — like Easter and Halloween — is a co-opted celebration of a seasonal shift, often referred to as a pagan celebration, and that celebrations of these holidays pre-date the arrival of christianity.
But most of the year, no-one seems to really care one way or the other. I do sometimes worry that my atheism is affecting my job prospects — there’s no way I would know, since the only way a potential employer could know is by googling my name and then refusing to hire me based on the information available online. I don’t think that’s too likely, though. And to be completely honest, the type of employer who would refuse to hire me based solely on my lack of religious belief is the type of employer whose work environment would likely prove toxic and difficult for me.
Anyway, another thing that linked video up there made me think of was the popular idea that atheists “hate” god. I’ve actually met a misotheist. I found out when we were having a discussion about church — I mentioned in passing that I’d been raised LDS (we saw the missionaries walking through the neighborhood), and she asked if I still went to church. I said no, then hesitated — we’d only known each other a short time, and I wasn’t sure how she’d react, but I decided to bull forward. I figure if someone is going to judge me negatively about something intrinsic to my personality, it’s better to know sooner rather than later. So I said, “Actually, I’m an atheist.”
“Yeah?” She responded. “I don’t believe in god, neither.”
I felt a wash of relief, and smiled — but the smile faded seconds later, as she continued talking, “God ain’t never done nothing to me, so I’m not gonna do nothing for god. He can f*** himself.” She proceeded to rant about god in a way that indicated she did, actually, believe in a higher celestial being — and she really, really hated this being.
I interrupted and said, “No, I don’t believe in god. Like, I’m an atheist — I don’t have anything against god, I just don’t believe there’s sufficient evidence to prove god exists. You sound more like a misotheist, to be honest.”
She just looked at me, her brows drawn slightly together in confusion, and an awkward silence followed. In a chipper voice, I added, “I am anti-religion, though! I think churches and religions are a damaging construct that encourage otherwise kind and decent people to engage in unkind and cruel behaviors, like homophobia, racism, and sexism.”
The conversation limped on for a minute or so more, and then we changed the subject. She is a strange lady. Anyway, that situation clearly highlighted to me that some people honestly believe atheists hate god, and that some uneducated misotheists might believe there is no difference between atheism and hating god. That’s weird to me. You can’t hate something imaginary. I don’t hate the teletubbies or Edward from Twilight. I hate the fact that Twilight was written, I hate the writing “style” (heavy sarcastic quote marks) of Twilight, I hate how all the characters are one dimensional, and I hate that it’s such an obvious LDS religious allegory — but I don’t actually hate Edward what-ever-his name is, because he’s a fictional character. Ditto for Voldemort — evil bastard, scary as all get out, employees dementors (which are basically just walking depression spreaders) — but I don’t walk around hating Voldemort all day because he’s a fictional character.
Tell me one imaginary thing that you actively hate. Like that you spend energy and time on hating — leprechauns, unicorns, centaurs, pegasi, Norse gods, Greek gods, the Chesire cat. Anything? Do you actively hate any of those things? Do you sit around going, “Geez, leprechauns are such dicks. Hiding their gold like the selfish little bastards they are. Why can’t they share the gold? What kind of magic is being selfish?”
No. You don’t. Because they’re fictional characters. And that’s how I respond to god. I don’t hate god. I don’t fear god or love god or anything like that. God is a fictional character, and I respond to that mythology in the same way I respond to any mythology — with a detached interest and enjoyment of studying it.
I do rather hate the way that an imaginary character influences society as a whole, with religious believers fearing/ hating atheists, homosexuals, and other religions — because that’s what they’ve been taught to do. But that’s not god’s fault; that’s the fault of his fans. I wouldn’t blame Marvel if a Comic-con convention got out of hand and supervillians and heroes rioted en masse in the streets. Some people just take the stuff they read a little too seriously.
But then, I don’t really tend to walk around thinking, “I’m a girl. I’m a girl, la de da. People respond to me in certain ways because I am female and I have boobies. Girl girl girl!” And I especially don’t think of myself as obviously female when I’m on my bike.
I’ve decided to start crocheting because I have a somewhat twitchy, antsy nature. I fiddle constantly when I sit still, and when I have panic attacks I start pacing and snapping. Smoking is how I’ve dealt with my antsiness and panic attacks, but I don’t want to smoke anymore. I stopped in August, started again in early October, stopped for a week or so in mid-October, started in late October when a bunch of unexpected stress started causing near-constant panic attacks, and right now I’m at this place where I’ll buy a pack because I’m having a panic attack, finish it off, go a few days to a week without buying a pack, and then something else will happen to start another panic attack.