Lesbians, Vegetarians, Atheists, and Feminists. If you're not scared off by now, stay and read a few more things I have to say.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

More To Life?

This is a 'discussion' being offered at a university that I used to attend.

The implication is that maybe, between birth and life, there is something else.

But, I read it differently:
*Is there more to life than money?
*Is there more to life than consumerism?
*Is there more to life than heterosexual marriage (portrayed here by the signs for man and the woman usually seen on bathroom doors)?
*Is there more to life than reproduction?

The series of events that our lives are supposed to follow, according to this Christian organization, are certainly not the paths many peoples lives take and seem to only account for middle class values and norms.

So, I would answer yes. There is 'more to life:' but not in the post-death or pre-birth sense. Rather, there are other alternative life paths that we can take, despite what we are sometimes told.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

My Mother's Birthday Dinner: 2011 Edition

Last year I began the tradition of cooking an elaborate meal for my mother and her friends in celebration of her birthday. It is not an original idea, certainly, but one that she really enjoys. And while I plan the menu, purchase the ingredients, and oversee everything as head chef - I have a team of four sous-chefs/prep-people who help me pull it off.

This year's menu was as follows:

First Course
Spinach Salad with Avocado and Blueberries
Ingredients: spinach, avocado, blueberries, sunflower seeds, fresh lemon juice, dijon mustard, olive oil, salt and pepper.

Second Course
Skewered Sesame Shrimp
Ingredients: shrimp, soy sauce, rice vinegar, sesame seeds
Herbed Brown Rice and Quinoa Cakes
Ingredients: brown rice, quinoa, eggs, onion, spinach, garlic, parsley, cilantro, red pepper flakes, salt and pepper
Lemon-Garlic Sugar Snap Peas
Ingredients: sugar snap peas, garlic, lemon zest, olive oil, salt and pepper

Third Course
Roasted Lamb Chops with Lemongrass and Ginger
Ingredients: rack of lamb, lemongrass, mint, ginger, garlic, cilantro, olive oil, salt, lemon wedges
Maple-Vanilla Carrots
Ingredients: carrots, vanilla, maple syrup

Fourth Course
Frozen Ginger-Coconut Custard
Ingredients: heavy cream, coconut milk, ginger, egg yolk, sugar
Coconut Cream
Ingredients: whipping cream, sugar, coconut extract
Cinnamon-Sugar Pita Chips
Ingredients: pita, butter, cinnamon, sugar

I was excited with how it all came out: especially the dessert portion: I was pleased that how I imagined it would taste in my head was how it ended up being. The coconut cream and ginger-coconut custard formed a perfect bite.

This wasn't vegetarian by any means - and the blood on the lamb was pretty gross - but my mother seemed thrilled. And, now, after working at work all day Saturday, and working on this all day today, I am not ready to start a full work week. Exhaustion is gonna be my theme.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Slimmer, Yet Strong Enough To Stand The Test of Time

Thank goodness. That was quite the concern of mine. How do I be slim enough to meet the ideals of beauty, but not be so frail and weak as to waste away to nothing? It is a thin line - and I'm glad that it's being addressed.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Changing My Life

I don't utilize healthy coping skills as often as I should.

I tend to try to repress how I'm feeling. I tend to use food to make me feel better. I tend to break down and cry, but then not fix anything. I tend to use distraction. I tend to make jokes.

I will disassociate. I will feel numb and check out. I will get anxious. I will take on others' crises as my own.

Add to this, unhealthy thinking habits.

I demand perfection from myself. I assume that what others do and say are personal attacks or slights against me. I compare and despair: contrasting others' outsides to my insides, and always find myself lacking.

And combine the above with a job that exposes me to trauma on a daily basis.

I am witness to horrific cases of childhood sexual and physical abuse. And, perhaps even worse, I am witness to the failure of systems to protect these children.

All of that gives you a recipe for disaster and depression.

So, I'm thinking, it's time to make some changes. And, given that I can't control the trauma that I'm routinely exposed to, I've got to make healthy choices and monitor my thought patterns.

...Wish me luck.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Every Woman's A Madonna - Every Woman's A Whore

"You can try to reduce me, but I'm so much more." That's what Cyndi Lauper believes.

And, Ludacris would agree that this is ideal. He and Usher collaborate to let us know that they want "a lady in the street but a freak in the bed."

So, we, as women, must simultaneously be a chaste mother and a sexually deviant nymphomaniac. It's a lot to live up to. But, also, this defines us by our relationships to others.

Women are the mother of boys, and the lovers of men.

But, what are we for ourselves - as ourselves? When is that narrative going to be told?

I repeat: This is why we still need feminism.

Friday, January 14, 2011

I can't talk about that.

It's weird having a job where the law has determined that I have confidentiality and privileged communication. You can't ever fully debrief to your partner, or your friends, or your family.

Well, except...

Okay. It's kind of weird. My sister and I both work for the same organization. And my mother volunteers there, as well. So, I can discuss work outside of work - but only to select people. It makes a bizarre dynamic. It's like some of the family is all in on this big secret. And, like any field, there is our own lingo and acronyms, shared coworkers and experiences.

And, honestly, I'm not sure if it is better or worse. Some days, I'm so glad that I can process my day with someone who I don't feel guilty about calling at 8:30 pm on a Tuesday. Other days, I'm so frustrated that I'm the one being called about work things when I'm not at work. This is already a job you live 24 hours a day (and that's even more true since I'm on call all weekend this weekend) - it's not like you need to spend extra time thinking and talking about it.

So, my point? I'm not sure there is one other than it being a tricky situation to navigate, sometimes. That makes this blog post incredibly uninteresting to anyone who isn't me. But, it's one of the things that is on my mind - and one of the things I'm allowed to talk about, at least.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Women's Lives Worth 2/3rds of Men's

That's what the author of the Price of Everything determined, based on the pay out to families who lost loved ones in the 9/11 terrorist attacks.

Remind me again why we don't need feminism?

Monday, January 10, 2011

How do we know that we exist?

So, I'm not an expert on Israel/Palestine. And, to be honest, despite the years of news coverage, I still don't know whose "side" I'm on. And, I certainly haven't thought of a solution that isn't ripping someone from their home for hundreds, or thousands, of years.

But, for our purposes, it's okay that I'm not an expert on this, because the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict is only the backdrop for this blog post.

Now, you may have heard that Chile is the most recent country to acknowledge the existence of an independent Israel. The exact quote, if that matters to you, is that Chile recognizes a "free, independent, sovereign state, coexisting in peace with Israel."

Okay. So, no one is too surprised. There's been a trend among Latin American countries to agree that Palestine exists.

But wait...did you miss it? That is the part that I find so fascinating. The political divisions of nation-states has, of course, consequences and is of the utmost importance to those who live there, but the even bigger part, the part that becomes philosophical, is that agreement of existence.

For nations, international politics dictate that you only get to exist if everyone else agrees that you do.

But, what does this mean for the rest of us?

Do we only exist when others agree that we do? Without other people affirming that we are in fact here, alive, breathing, do we exist at all?

If everyone agreed that you weren't you - or that you weren't alive - would you still be you?

How much of what we are depends upon others accepting that as truth?

Israel often talks of existential threats to its existence. But, it is easy to understand that threat. We all know that nation-states are a concept, an idea that we all just believe in, and that once we stop believing in it, once we stop agreeing to its existence, it will disappear and cease to exist.

But, are our individual lives that fragile as well?

P.S. These questions are not rhetorical. I'd love to hear your answer, since I don't have one of my own yet.

Saturday, January 8, 2011


I've mentioned before that the non-profit that I work for is a feminist organization. We work with victims of domestic and sexual violence and stalking - and those victims are primarily women.

But of our ten full time, five part time, and four americorps staff members, I am the only lesbian. The only one. The rest of my coworkers have male partners who they love and care for. Many of them have male sons who they are raising. So, it is hardly as if we are an organization of man-haters.

But, there is an investment in maintaining oppressive stereotypes. I get that.

Regardless...I'm disappointed.

Is this really the way most men think about feminism?

Friday, January 7, 2011

Crying At Work

It's been happening, lately.

I tend to know when it's going to happen, but each time, I battle desperately to avoid the tears. I try my hardest to shove the emotions down, ignore it, do something else. But, I can't put it off forever. And, so, usually, in the middle of someone asking me how my day is going, I start to cry.

And I'm not a pretty crier. I tend to bawl. I create mucus. I have difficulty breathing. If I'm lucky, I can stifle the sobs. My face turns red. And, as I try to talk, it only gets worse.

The strange thing, however, about working for a feminist organization is that I'm not ostracized for this. Rather than being made to feel weak and incapable, I'm met with validation and understanding. And, I'm not even afraid that people are gossiping about my meltdowns behind my back.

If I had one hope for those who are employed, it would be to have the opportunity to cry at work without feeling judged. I think that is truly the measure of a workplace.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Return of the Lesbians

So, I've been in absentia for the holidays.

And my life has been alternatively amazingly wonderful (Shinobi and I are engaged) and pretty crappy (Shinobi's family has rained on our parade, and work has been quite emotionally taxing).

I think I've been hesitant to write because I feel that I somehow should only put out amazing pieces of prose. But, let's face it: at this point, no one is going to read this anyhow. So, the pressure is off and I can just put words out there.

Plus, Shinobi started blogging again. And it makes me feel like a slacker.

So, I'm back, I guess. And maybe I'll write interesting things, maybe I'll be boring, and maybe I'll just post recipes. But, whatever it is, I think I'm okay with that. (P.S. That's my New Year's resolution - be okay with life.)

Happy New Year.