Pride Month 2021

While I admittedly toe the line with my political ideals as an independent, one thing that you will never sell me on is discrimination of another human being. When it comes to social issues like LGBTQ+ rights, I will always be on the side of consenting adults doing whatever they want as long as they aren’t hurting anyone. I believe people have the right to be happy and in love. They have the right to be married and enjoy the perks that come with that. People have the right to live their lives as long as they aren’t hurting anyone. Have a problem when a gay couple is holding hands? Don’t look. What they are doing has no impact on your life. Have a problem with them making out in public? I have an issue when straight couples do as well, and I just don’t look. My not wanting to see any couple of any orientation making out doesn’t mean that they don’t have the right to do it. Just do you. If people want to be called by specific pronouns, just do it. How does that have any effect on you? Spoiler: it doesn’t.

They will always have to fight just to get an inch while the “normal” people have miles ahead of them. They have to fight for the ability to love who they love. They have to fight to be who they want to be. Who cares if someone identifies as trans? Just let them live their lives to the fullest as you have the right to do. The Stonewall Riots took place back in 1969 and this group is still fighting to be recognized as human beings. To have the same rights that other people have. They just want to be happy and comfortable in their own skin. Why should they be ostracized for that? How is their right to happiness detrimental to you? I just don’t understand the problem. I don’t understand how religion can preach about love and honoring thy neighbor, except if your neighbor isn’t the same religion as you or if they have a different lifestyle than you. I spent a lot of time in CCD and I don’t remember any of my readings saying “Love all people… with the exception of….” I remember love thy neighbor. I remember how important it was to be a servant to the community and offer support and kindness to those who need it. Not those who need it except for ______. How can people be religious and believe that only God can truly judge, while taking it upon themselves to play God and judge and make laws that limit the rights of a group of people that are different than they are?

I know. I normally say that people should just live their lives and if it doesn’t impact other people, why does it matter? But it does matter when you work your entire platform to hate others. That does have an impact. Hate should never be acceptable. People have the right to religion, but not to push their religion on other people and make laws based on those beliefs. Especially when your religion is known for hiding pedophile priests who prey on boys while still saying homosexuality is a sin.

It makes me think that not too long ago I wouldn’t have been able to marry my husband because of laws based around hate. It was just in 1967 that interracial couples were legally allowed to marry according to federal law. Why is this any difference? Just because I am straight? Why does it matter who I love as long as we are consenting adults that love each other and are committed to each other?

The point of this is I am an ally. I will always be an ally. If someone needs a place to be who they are, they can share mine. I will always stand up for people having the right to live their life in a way that makes them happy as long as they aren’t hurting anyone and are consenting adults. We all have the right to be happy and live free and sexual identity or sexual orientation shouldn’t be the exception to that.

There’s Something Special About Family Recipes

Over the weekend, I saw delicious strawberries at the grocery store. It inspired me to make a family favorite dessert for my boys, that we haven’t enjoyed in a few years: strawberry shortcake. Instead of my homemade biscuits, I grabbed some angel food cake for them. I have a textural issue with soggy bread, so I opted just for a strawberry sundae.

As I was cutting the strawberries, it reminded me of every time that I made this with my mom. She taught me when I was younger. These family recipes, the ones that are passed down from generation, are just special to be a part of. Even though I tweak the recipes, there’s still something special that I feel a part of when I make these recipes. I remember making meatballs and rolling them with my mom. I remember making beef stew with my dad. It’s being a part of those traditions. It’s something that I love sharing with my kids and nephews.

My recipes are part of my legacy and will hopefully be passed on to their kids. I hope that they have those memories come up every time that they make those meals for their families or friends. Food is something that we all share within our families, but it’s more than just eating amazing food with loved ones. It’s about the stories behind those meals. People always put so much emphasis on pictures, but I have an easier time connecting memories to events rather than looking at a picture. As I start to make my meatballs as my mother taught me (with some tweaks that I made), I hear her voice in my head going “more cheese”. I remember proudly sneaking the first meatball the next day after it had rested overnight in the pasta sauce. Those are memories that pictures can’t always capture, because you’re not an active participant.

As I go through this journey of re-losing weight gained due to not focusing on myself, I keep hearing people point out that food isn’t supposed to be an emotional experience. It’s a means to nourish your body and nothing more. I don’t necessarily agree with that. You can have an emotional experience with food. You can use food to connect with others. To make you feel warm inside, especially when thinking about those memories. The thing is that you need to take things in moderation, not deprive yourself. People who have an unhealthy relationship with food, whether it’s that they eat too much of it or that they avoid it in fear of getting unhealthy, have issues deep inside that have nothing to do with anyone/anything else. Food is an experience that can and should be shared.

Take the time to teach your kids your family recipes. They may be more willing than you think to be a part of it. My youngest has even helped make things like my cornbread recipe or even the cranberry sauce that I make. My oldest is always curious about what I’m making, often hanging around in the kitchen waiting for an impromptu lesson. Food can be something that connects everyone and help your legacy live on long after you’re gone. That’s what makes it so special.

As They Grow Into Adults

I’ve always said that my approach to parenting was all about the long game. It was about raising future adults. I wanted to be the change, doing my part to raise a generation of kids with a strong work ethic, a duty to serve others, and to just be kind human beings that did their part in the world as functioning adults. I wanted them to be self-sufficient. As I raised my oldest, I taught him how to do laundry as soon as I felt it was safe to. I taught him how to cook. I taught him “girl” things because I wanted him to be able to take care of himself as an adult. I wasn’t going to be raising a 32 year old that was incapable of doing the simplest thing for himself. I wanted him to be able to live on his own and if he did get married, he could take care of his partner.

It’s amazing to see it happen. It seems like you blink and one day they are on the last week of high school, like my oldest son is now. But when you think about it, you saw the process happen in slow-mo. You watched those little steps. You watched the first time he made your famous curry dish and proudly showed off. You watched him do his homework and get honors and high honors on the report cards. You saw his hard work as he worked towards his goals, getting into his top choice college. It was a process that was an honor to be a part of. While I always want to protect my little (not-so little) boy adult, it’s time where I move onto the sit back and worry stage. It’s under his control now. He is the driver of this ride that he’s on now. I now have to transition into the guidance stage. The stage where I support and offer advice, but ultimately, it’s on him now.

This is why I thought it was so important to play the long game. I wanted to make sure that he was equipped out there. That he was equipped to make the right decisions. That I did the best that I could to make sure that he would carefully think out his next move. That I did the best that I could to raise an adult that would contribute something great to society. I hope I succeeded. But when he moves onto campus in a few short months, that’s when I’ll know for sure if I did my job effectively, while still letting him know that this would always be his home no matter where he lives.

You try to deny that this growth is happening. Not my little baby. But eventually the days count down and you can’t avoid it anymore. But, I have a sneaking suspicion that this adult will find his place in the world and do something great. I even imagine seeing him on ID, talking about how he profiled and got the bad guy. I look forward to seeing the great things that this young man will accomplish. I did my part in this arrangement; now, I have to trust that he will take it and run with it.

What’s New, Coming to You… Maybe

This will be a short one. I could talk about the craziness in the world, but instead I’d rather share some news with you guys of some things that I hope to come soon.

First of all, Kindle Publishing has announced a new program for people to create serial works. I have to admit that I excel more in shorter pieces than I do longer ones. I work better with less, if you will. So this seems like something that I’m really going to try to work on and get some stuff out there soon. I hope. It’s going to be a work in progress and a battle with my writer’s fatigue, but I hope it’s something that I can start getting out there. I’m excited for this and I’ll be announcing something soon (hopefully).

Another announcement is something that I have been considering for a while now: dipping my toe into recipe blogging. I have considered videos in addition to pieces, but my business manager (husband) is embarrassed by our tiny galley kitchen and doesn’t think it would work with videos. He probably has a point. So instead, just pictures and whatever type of recipe that I can come up with. This will be starting probably some time this summer/fall with a monthly recipe on either Wednesday or Friday. I am starting this later in the year because I want my boys to enjoy the food. While my husband is still on fodmap, I’d hate to tempt him with things like my fried mandu (Korean dumplings) though I did make this amazing looking “challenge phase” pizza yesterday that he loved. I will be announcing more on this later as well, so that gives me time to actually learn to measure things out.

These are some exciting projects in the works and I can’t wait to share them with you guys.

The Anticipation and Hesitation of Sending Them Back

After winter break has concluded, it’s anticipated that the kids will finally be returning back to school. My youngest will be going back 4 days a week and a remote day. My oldest will be returning for 2 days a week with remote learning for the rest of his week. Once upon a time, I would be cheering for the ability to send them back. Not that I didn’t love them… but doesn’t every mom need a break? Wearing all the hats moms are expected to wear on the regular is difficult enough some days; adding in the extra responsibilities of teacher and principal just are too much for me while trying to work and get everything else done. I partially blame this for my lack of creative drive to get my own personal work done.

It is anxiety-inducing for me. What if they do bring the virus home with them, with my husband potentially missing 2 weeks of work or me getting very sick/suffering from the aftermath? My body loves being unique, meaning that usually the rarer conditions/side effects typically happen to me. I blame my Irish immune system. My body loves playing tricks on me, such as having bad allergies but also being allergic to Benadryl. You learn to adapt and laugh at the insanity.

Back to the point. As anxiety-inducing as this is for me, I’m also a woman of logic. Statistically, they won’t get infected at school. It’s also the best thing for my youngest, who thrives in a situation where there’s far more structure. Where the teacher can be the one to keep him on track because apparently I do a piss poor job of it. Also, I don’t know common core so I taught him old school math. I apologize in advance for what that’s going to look like in the classroom. Plus, he can finally talk to his friends in person. I just hope he follows the “no hug” rule, which will probably be difficult for my boy who is know for being a bit of an affectionate guy that the other moms just love.

I’m putting a lot of trust in these schools to not screw this up. I’m putting a lot of trust in other parents, who somehow still drop off their kids despite the fact that they have the flu. I just hope that I don’t regret that. I’ve seen the impact this virus has when people get symptoms and the aftermath of that. I have a lot of people relying on me to have my crap immune system give out on me because other people didn’t want to do the right thing. But… I mean.. yay school?

Quiet Reflection

Sometimes you just need to take some time for quiet reflection. That’s easy to do when your brain hurts from a combination of constant sinus pain that makes seeing things difficult and the stress of… well everything. It’s always good to take that time that you should be resting in order to get some quiet reflection done. Because, it’s hard to do much else some times.

One area of reflection is my work. I so wish I had more time to dedicate to my own pursuits. I’m so busy coming up with words for everyone else lately, that finding my own has become more of a chore than an enjoyment. Saying that my creative spirit is being crushed by this seems so cliché. Besides, I’m an adult now. If my spirit isn’t being crushed on the regular, am I even an adult? Maybe it’s juggling my workload and remote learning. Maybe it’s just my workload. Who knows. I’m not sure if it’s making me a better writer, or a worse one. I have stories to tell. I just need to have some time to put them together to tell.

I’m also always thinking of ways that I can expand my blog. Soon, video game Mondays will be coming back and I’m hoping that I’m finally feeling well enough to come back to my weekly Tuesday and Thursday efforts. I keep toying around with adding a food day, where I share recipes, maybe even videos. It seems to be something that my Facebook friends suggest when I’m posting pictures of the food I make, and it’s always fun to toy around with the idea. Especially since I love cooking so much. It seems like a lot of time to dedicate to this, time that I don’t necessarily have. Something I’m definitely considering though.

Then there are the more personal things. The excitement that my oldest got accepted to his dream school, while I wait holding my breath to see what the bill will be after any scholarships. I dread telling my son he can’t go to school because we can’t afford it or can’t get a loan for some reason. It terrifies me. I hope that things work out, because that boy could change the world and I want him to have that chance. I want him to have that college experience I didn’t necessarily get as a young mother. I want him to be able to chase his dreams without worry. That’s my job and I don’t want to fail him. It does weight heavily on me.

It’s healthy to take a step back and look more clearly at things. It helps to ease the pain of the world crumbling around you. It helps you re-center yourself, helping you better plan for your next move. I wish more people spent time for a little reflection so that they can see things from a fresh perspective. I wish I took more time to go through this process.

That Tiny Little Virus We’re Not to Speak Of

I do tend to shy away from things that I deem too personal or opportunistic. I write about things that I think need to be discussed. I try to offer insight and welcome commentary back. I share to tell a story, not to get sympathy or gain attention. I share a story to show empathy, to let readers know that there are other people out there that have been in their shoes. Especially now, when everything feels so isolating. Now more than ever, people need a voice that let’s them know that they aren’t alone and that while there are situations that are uniquely them, there are other people who can share a similar tale. That’s why I write.

You see stories of battling this virus on social media. You learn that people you knew but don’t really associate with had it. You see stories on the news or viral tales on social media about a tragedy or triumph surrounding this virus. Each time, it has an impact but yet it doesn’t really impact you. It’s a story that you read, like any other story. I stayed safe because I’m at risk. I had a girls’ night where I drank wine with my friends on Zoom because it’s important to take the necessary precautions. I’m not a particularly cautious person, some would say. I take logical approaches to everything, and even as “I throw caution to the wind” there is a calculation and a reason why I do everything I do no matter how impulsive it seems.

During this girls’ night, they told stories of the things they experienced as medical professionals. How, sure the virus won’t kill everyone, but the bigger problem is the after. There are so many unknowns about the long-term effects. That’s the problem with something so new.

The thing is though, that those are stories. You’re not the one who gets the news that a loved one is in the hospital with it. You just watch the story happen online and send your thoughts and prayers or whatever else feels right and socially acceptable to do. It’s completely different when you’re living as a spectator to it at a more personal level. It’s different when you’re the one mentally preparing for the worst to be ready while hoping for the best. It’s a tricky thing to navigate, watching your own family become statistics to something that could be avoided if people just did simple things like wearing a mask so that we could’ve been done with this months ago. If people were more cautious about sanitizing and cleaning everything. If people didn’t resist science and just say “it’s only a flu, no big”.

The reason that my family members will make it through is because of science. Because there are better medicines and treatments now. Not everyone was/is that fortunate. That doesn’t mean that there isn’t concerns for the damage this virus could do to their bodies after their recovery. It just means that they aren’t in the statistics that had the worst possible outcome.

So while people may laugh about how this virus is a joke, I won’t. While people may laugh because I’m afraid of some imagined political ploy, I’ll know that I did everything that I could to stay safe so that I could be around to watch my sons get married or hold my future grandchildren. I’m not afraid of a virus; I’m doing my part to ensure that my kids have their mother at their wedding and to hold my future grandchildren. So that others can live their lives.

It’s Another Day

It’s Tuesday, a day when I’m supposed to come up with some though-provoking topic to inspire something. Anything. But I’m less than inspired by the world around me. Today is one of those “dead inside” days, where I’m just going through the motions of… whatever it is this dumpster fire going on around us is. Today, it’s all random thoughts as they come to me. This is “Random Rantings” after all. Plus, the writing experts say to always write on a schedule, even if there’s nothing to write about. So, here we are.

I don’t sleep well, so last night I put on the DNC in hopes that it would put me out. It did. I’m not inspired by politics. I appreciate the argument that this election is for the soul of our country, but I’m afraid to point out to everyone that the soul has been long lost in favor of partisan divide and brainwashing that both sides have brought upon the masses. If there’s hope for our country’s soul to be saved, I hope to be alive to see it. Today, I’m more cynical than ever and I roll my eyes at those who in one meme point out this fact but in the next meme out some talking point for the political side that they so blindly follow. I think people my age are getting more news from memes than they are from the actual news. And no, that’s not a good thing. I did wake up a little bit afterwards, then just watched some infomercials.

I read the news, listening to our school committee say that the phased-in plan that they chose was the best option because it gave a choice. But, there’s no choice. There’s no real choice. It’s either your kids won’t get a proper education or they get sick/get others sick and add more statistics into this pandemic that’s supposed to be a hoax or something. And masks, am I right? Good thing my kids aren’t the first to go in. I’d be even more pissed about my decision if my kids were the sacrificial lambs here.

There was a dog running loose in my lawn yesterday, one that looked well-loved and just lost. I tried to help him. He didn’t want my help. It was interesting that I felt more compassion for that dog than most of my neighbors. Then they tossed trash on the sidewalk and I remembered why that was the case. I sighed, went back into the house and fed my dogs some treats.

We received our mail-in ballots yesterday. I look forward to not having to actually trek 2 miles to get to my polling area that doesn’t seem to ever have enough parking and have lines normally, without their being a pandemic. That’s why I normally do early voting. But, with pandemic closing down city hall essentially (but our kids are going to school… go figure) and the construction, going to city hall sucks these days too. Mail-in it is.

When I woke up this morning, I did hit my September weight loss goal already. That was exciting news. Hard work really does pay off sometimes. It’s a good thing I actually sincerely love salads and working out. It’s also a good thing that I found a diet that actually works for me and is sustainable. I hope this means I can be back into running shape soon. I do love some fall runs, with the foliage around me and the smell of people burning leaves. Fall is the best. Too bad people don’t understand things like “pandemics” and now I can’t enjoy the fun fall activities I love. Because like everything else, people ruin everything. Making homemade pizza for supper may make me feel better about everything.

That about sums up the random thoughts in my brain today. Hopefully Thursday can bring something more inspiring. I’m just really tired of screaming about local politics and other annoyances that we can’t escape in our real life.

Navigating the Tricky Season of Preparing for School Next Year

The school district my boys attend had their last day of school yesterday. With another school district releasing their tentative guidelines for next year and the state releasing theirs, it has caused a lot of… mixed feelings. From uninformed people saying their kids are going to die of carbon dioxide poisoning if you make them wear masks and the others fighting about how selfish non-mask wearers are, there have been a lot of opinions on this topic. As usual, I’m here to share mine and I’m choosing to look on the positives.

For instance, the biggest positive is that I won’t have to do “distance learning” with my kid every day of the week. Sure, I’ll have to do it 2 or 3 days a week potentially, but I’ll take that over struggling to get them to do their work done every day. Those other days, they will have the teacher in the classroom helping them out as best as they can with restrictions in place. I’m sure their help, even as restricted as it may be, is going to be a lot better than what I’m doing as I frustratingly scream at my youngest saying “Just use a calculator, I don’t even care anymore.”

I have started “doomsday prepping”, if you will. I ordered materials to make masks for the boys for school so that they can comply, while being as cool as possible. I bought some Spongebob fabric for my youngest, and this really neat “peacock” colored fabric for my oldest. I bought supplies ahead of any announcement because honestly, I don’t want to be put in a place where I’m stuck without anything I need and I have to resort to “homeschooling”.

I will be sending my boys back, even if these strict guidelines are in place. My oldest is going to be a senior and he needs to have as much of this senior experience as he can. My youngest has his own set of issues and getting him back into the strict routine school offers is going to be the best thing for him. Will getting him to wear the mask be hard? Maybe. But as someone with a terrible immune system, I’m okay with having extra protections to ensure I don’t get sick. It’s fine when you’re a healthy person to throw a fit about making your kid wear a mask, but this is for as much my protection as it is his.

I think the smaller classroom sizes only benefit the kids, especially kids like mine with sensory issues. With less “noise” going on around him, he might be able to focus better. The teachers may not be able to closely interact with the students, but they are still going to get more individualized attention in the classroom instead of getting lost in the shuffle of 19 other students. The teacher will be able to take more time explaining things that other kids are struggling with.

People tend to always have this knee-jerk reaction of negativity, without looking at the positive. Like, now I get to send my kid back to school for at least some of the time and regain some of that “me-time” I haven’t had since March. If done well, this could be a positive thing for students. I have to start thinking about the positives because right now everything seems to be on fire around us in the world that we need to start looking at the positives in the situation.

The Duty of Writers

Writers are expected to have moments of poignant insight that stirs strong emotions in our readers. We’re supposed to be observational. We’re supposed to offer insight and opinions, eliciting some type of response. We are the people that others turn to in order to forget about life for a while, imagining other lands, or just to help them process something that they were otherwise struggling with processing. It’s a heavy weight to have to bear sometimes.

To continue with my last post, I did want to discuss what went on last week and what is still going on today. Tuesday’s post was to offer disdain for the people who were complicit in letting things get to how they are today and how we can help to make things better by voting those complicit players out of office. I did try to make it clear as possible that I stand with those fighting injustice. Today, I wanted take a different approach. I wanted to make it clear that sometimes it takes a fire to start fresh again. These protests are the fire, both figuratively and literally, it seems. It isn’t just one race marching; it’s a rainbow of support across the spectrum. Fighting racism is no longer an “Us vs. Them” mentality. This is a matter that impacts us all. We could sit quietly, but that’s not how change ever happens. That’s not how the LGBTQ+ community earned their “rights” (I use quotations, because they are still struggling to get the rights they deserve). That’s not how women got the right to vote. That’s not how the civil rights movement started. It started from people who were willing to shake things up.

I don’t condone violence. Police are there to protect people, not harm innocents. You shouldn’t assault a police officer because of the uniform they wear. Bad officers deserve to actually get punished for their crimes. The fact that they aren’t is the sole reason why people have trouble trusting the men and women in blue who are supposed to protect us. It’s the same reason why many struggle with Catholicism. You sweep a problem under the rug enough times, eventually people are going to revolt. It’s an unfortunate consequence of terrible actions. Rather than face things head on with courage as they should, they ignore the problem. They defend the indefensible. Sure, I had my knee on his neck for nearly 9 minutes, but he was on drugs and had COVID-19 and had heart problems and how was I to know that when he went unconscious after saying that he can’t breathe that putting the full weight of my body on his neck was going to hurt him? My bad. Over a potentially counterfeit $20? That’s why people are revolting. How many cases of brutality from cops do we hear? Even more terrifying, how many don’t we hear about?

I won’t immediately jump on the “f- police” bandwagon. I’ve had family serve with honor. My son hopes to be in law enforcement, with the goal of helping injustice in the world. To do so, would be a slap in the face of those good officers who died on duty while serving and protecting. But I also think that people do need to rise up and fight against these injustices that are hurting Americans. This continued racism is passed on to other generations. I see that when my son wasn’t played with because he was a “little Chinese boy” or when he told me about how other kids think he looks weird. I’m not blind to what’s going on. And these are kids who learned racism was okay from their parents. Kids aren’t born to hate; we teach them that. Our choice is to teach them to love and to fight for what they feel is right. My oldest wants to change the world by tackling change on the inside. As skeptical as I am that he can make a difference, I believe that I raised him with enough compassion and conviction that he can be one of the many of the next generation that can create change. Because that’s what we need right now.

So it’s not “F” police; it’s “F” the institution that encourages the bad behavior and refuses to hold those so-called “bad apples” accountable. How many crimes do they get away with, while their brothers and sisters protect them at all costs? Those are the people you want to get rid of. Not the ones taking the time out of their shift to play soccer with kids or giving them a reward for wearing a helmet while out biking. You want to encourage the good and get rid of the bad. When that happens, when you stop allowing them to be the judge, jury and executioner, then people might start trusting the police. It’s their job to enforce laws, not make them up as they go or only enforce them when they feel like it. Police should have the compassion for dealing with people while being courageous to help those in need. They shouldn’t be killing people on camera with no soul in their eyes and let people say “Well, this was a misunderstanding…” Sitting on a neck for nearly 9 minutes isn’t a misunderstanding; it’s murder.

To sum all of my 2 day posts up? It’s the institution that breeds and accepts these awful incidences that are at fault, not every single man and woman in blue. It’s the media at fault for pushing the agenda that makes them the most money. It’s the politicians that remain in power because they have divided and conquered us, while we sit around and blindly follow them. We are the ones who can make the change. Through protesting to see changes in policing policies and fighting for true equal rights. Through electing these people out of office. By stop watching the mainstream news because they are lying to us anyways. Maybe losing money and ratings will encourage them to start being the honorable institution that they once were. These are just some ways that we can help turn this sinking ship around.