I blog gluten-free

Thursday, October 28, 2010

If The Accident Will

During the writing of Slaughterhouse 5,  Kurt Vonnegut's alien-infused dark-comedy tour de force, he went back to Germany, where he'd been a prisoner of war, to do research and see what Germany looked like years after WWII and the Berlin Wall came down. He and his friend, Bernard, (whose wife had become pissed when she thought Vonnegut was writing another "heroic tale that would get more little boys killed", until they discussed the Children's Crusades of the past and the fact that he had simply been a babe in arms, and was writing it from that angle) met a very pleasant German taxi cab driver that they befriended immediately.
Months after Vonnegut returned home, his friend, Bernard,  received a letter from the chap, which tickled him, and tickles me.
"I wish you and your family, and also as to your friend Merry Christmas and a happy New Year and I hope that we'll meet again in a world of peace and freedom, in the taxi cab, if the accident will"
Now, that's nice. You could argue an unfamiliarity with English syntax, but I like that a lot more than what I see in American books. Much more poetic and powerful.
I hope that we meet again in a world of peace and freedom- sounds like a great Hallmark card, and yet, doesn't ring hollow, like "Happy Holidays!" tends to do for me. (Even Happy Christmachanukwanzasolsticekuh, and a Happy Eid! sounds better than a trite Happy Holidays.)
Dearest Friends and Loved Ones, I do hope that someday, we do meet in a world of peace and freedom. Yes, in the taxi cab, if the accident will.

Dance Like Nobody's Watching

One of my favorite, oft-framed and posted bits of "advice" was attributed to the ever cheerfully snotty Mark Twain:
"Dance like nobody's watching; love like you've never been hurt. Sing like nobody's listening; live like it's heaven on earth." 

Now that is great advice.
Dance like nobody's watching:
In my case, that involves bumping up a good song LOUD. I always like Don't Stop Believin' by Journey for this. Grabbing my hairbrush, and saying screw it, I don't care if I look graceful or not, or like I just went to a rave! So, as it goes, yes, I do dance in my underwear and use my hairbrush as a microphone.
Love like you've never been hurt
Ah-hah. A toughie here. Part of what makes us, us, is that we learn and grow, that all of us deal with pain and grief, and provided we fight and what not, and not sit and let our pain fester. I am still working on this part, but I'm getting better... I'll get back to you on this!
Sing like nobody's listening
Yup, just call me your little Disney song-bird. I'll chirp all day if you let me.
Live like it's heaven on earth
-Enjoy a beautiful sunset. I can look at, and occasionally snap a photo of, these as long as you'll let me. I also am extremely fond of water. Get me near the ocean, you might have to carry me to get me to leave! For me, these, and beautiful, music, with a good beat, good friends, and good food, are my heavens on earth. Find yours.

Monday, October 25, 2010

I Don't Have The Right Part of The Elephant

I'm probably going to land myself in a bit of hot water, but so be it.
Life Lessons, Part One Millionth
1)Practice what you preach!
I have a rotten habit of babying people, particularly the stubborn (like me) or those who are more than content to sit in their own shit. I will tell you to take care of yourself. To be true to yourself. To love yourself, and so on and so forth. The words "OK, call me when you get home so I know you're OK" have trickled from my mouth before I could stop them. I will tell you to wear a hat in winter, not because you'll lose heat out of your head, but because keeping your ears warm just makes sense. And I will mean those words, but have a rotten habit of not actually applying them to myself until given a gentle order to do so.
2) Diplomacy: The art of telling someone to go to hell and having them more than delighted to do so.
Now, someone can ask me: "Well, damn it, why can't you see things from my perspective?" and answer it thusly: "Well, I'd love to, darling, but I can't get my head that far up my ass." Why, yes, that'll smooth things over quite nicely <End Sarcasm>. Granted, I do occasionally have this retort on the tip of my tongue!
Or, I can recall this:
Six blind men were asked to describe an elephant. One had his leg, and said it felt like a pillar. Another had the elephant's trunk, and said the elephant felt like a rope. Another had the elephant's tummy and said it felt like a wall. The back, a throne, the ear a hand-fan, and the tusk, a lead pipe. Now, each only had 1/6 of the elephant, and so while all were right... not a single one had the whole picture. So, in answer to the question on perspective, I could say "I don't have the right part of the elephant" and just smile and confuse them.
3)No matter how rough you have it, somebody, somewhere's got it worse. 
"The other day I was sad because I had no shoes. Then I met a man who had no feet."
Or, as a celiac, because my biggest diet staple is rice (I'd be starving without it!)- I can say honestly, "The other day I was sad because the Cheesecake Factory is the Eighth Circle of Hell for me. Then I met someone who was allergic to rice." (I am not a celiac because I pretty much live on rice, but you get the idea. I accidentally reversed cause and effect.)
4)Be kind to yourself. It's never too late to learn. Love you. Yes, Love Yourself.

Saturday, October 23, 2010


The Dream World is really quite interesting. Some of us get minute blips... pieces of images, or else that's all we remember. Some dreams are silly and can be good for a giggle the next day. Some are really quite scary, or warped...chasing, or being chased down MC Escher stairs?
MC Escher site
We all know what either is like, particularly when it goes on forever, and chasee and chaser are both thwarted from their goals.
Fever dreams are a special irritation for me. If I'm not feeling right, I tend to have to take some dreams as a warning, (and they get freakish!) or as a warning that I need to cope with, talk about and move on. I know that I can now finally look at calla lilies again, for the longest time, due to nightmares during a particularly bad time, I couldn't. Sometimes after a particularly vivid and freakish fever dream, movement is impossible, and of course, the heat that contributed to the issue can still be felt, a slight dream hangover.
Ever notice- often, when something is particularly bad, the opposite happens in real life? And if it's really good, then the actual result can fall far short. Fever dreams, I'm told, are among those that could possibly be discounted, it's the body fighting off infection and your brain wrestling with its' own thoughts as you lay in the Land of Pain.
As for the sleep-paralysis... if I lived in the Middle Ages or thereabouts, I might have blamed it on an incubus holding me down. Isn't it incredible: How the brain works when you shut the body down, (I also analyze too much.)- and the ways we explain odd phenomena?
Well, Dawn has begun...gray light at the window, as I wait for Naproxen and my cup of tea to take effect on the sofa...
So... dream big, think big, believe, love, live, laugh, keep Hope, Faith and Love close.
Second star to the right, straight on 'til morning.

Friday, October 22, 2010

The Speech

Grandma, me with Lorelei, letting me know she was irritated (GOOD GIRL!) and Mom. 4 Generations of Stubborn Women
Dearest Grandma, you and Grandpa are reunited now for the first time since 1988.
Dearest Grandma. I'm not saying goodbye. I'll mourn that you aren't here...the sunny presence, the cooking, the constant "Are You Hungrys"...
Grandma, I won't say good bye.
I'm saying goodnight, Dear Friend, Third Parent, Teacher, chef, nurse...
You were more than a 17 year old bride married in a priest's house to a Lutheran who fought in WWII. More than a Westinghouse employee, helping build electronics, and ironically driving my friends stinky great uncle (small world, huh?) home. More than a Grandma... you were Grandma to me, Jeff, Brit, Brandon, and to Jilly-Bean, and her son, our beautiful nephew.
You constantly begged for pics, and Jilly-Bean was happy to oblige if I didn't have all the people depicted... you thought the Darling Boy in his swim trunks, was handsome.
You taught me a poker face, although I never quite figured out poker! You let me be me, got books, spoiled me, and loved me.
Dearest Grandma...
Barvch Dayan Emes. I love you. Rest now, sweet Grandma.
Goodnight, farewell, 'til I see you again.
Mmmhmm I want to linger
Mmmhmm a little longer
Mmmhmm a little longer here with you
Mmmhmm as the years go by
Mmmhmm I will remember
mmmhmm that tonight is goodnight, and not goodbye.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Cold Weather Delights and Nostalgia

Years ago, in a kitchen where the smell of coffee brewing titillated the nostrils, and the cold wind swirled outside, three girls set to work on a night of warm winter treats. One of those girls was me. We had a box of cheap brownie mix and a carton of eggs, some oil and butter, milk and a big bowl, a Kitchen Art mixer and beaters, a big red bowl, and spoons so that we could eat the remainder of the batter once we got our creation into the oven.
Last October, I thought I'd never enjoy this type of fun again. I cried into my first few meals of brown rice and soup, cried when I tried a cardboardy cookie (Thank God those days are behind me!) and smiled and shrieked when I found gluten-free foods that tasted as good or BETTER THAN (yes, I've found some better-thans)
I still like to cook out of a box or bag- thanks Bob's Red Mill & Betty Crocker- rather than do a from-scratch brownie half the time, admittedly. I like to eat as soon as I can (Preferably, just making sure I don't burn myself.)-and while getting there is half the fun, I like to GET THERE ASAP. I already do most things from scratch
  But, here's my secret... to make the chocolate POP, I add a dash of cayenne pepper. Remember with spices of any sorts, you don't want to numb the lips with heat or look like you just took a shower, sweating through your meal. You want a touch to make your other flavors pop.

For hot chocolate, I like to add a candy cane, or tie a ribbon through a chocolate chip or gingerbread cookie, and tie it around the mug's handle to let the cookie infuse the chocolate.

Sodium Vapor IV

Part ONE Part TWO Part THREE
She touched his chest with the palm of her hand. The feel of his strong, healthy heart assured her. She'd fallen asleep against Greg, holding him almost like a large baby. To wake up and hear alarms, feel him growing cold, to feel nothing but slowly stiffening limbs had alarmed her. She'd known it was coming, but for it to actually happen, frightened her. But she'd survived. She held a warm, loving man, who yearned for her, as much as he protected her, as much as he'd babied her of late. Nadia kissed Mikey again, becoming a little more insistent with her touch, her closeness. She'd jerked at the touch of Greg's now icy flesh. Mikey's warm, and strong arms closed around her small waist. Nadia looked like the porcelain dolls made of "angels"... so pure and innocent... but when she was ready to go, he held on tight. Her manner of asserting herself, and the fact that she had survived so much, was almost aggressive, even while she herself was gentle as a kitten. But for a long time, they held... teased, but held still, almost shyly, not quite sure of eachother. Then he gently lifted part of her hem, teasing, asking permission. A hand touched her thigh, and she smiled and made it easier for him to touch her. She felt him sit up and scooch down, felt his teeth at her neck as he bent over, and then felt a rush of air as his hands removed a shoulder strap and lifted her skirt an inch more. Mikey was teasing her.
"Fuck it," she said, shocking herself, by how loudly she said it, and how she said it, cursing being rare for her, "I just want you,"
"Lay back," he told her softly, and lay down to rest his head on the breast he'd bared, looking up at her.
His lips closed around a nipple, and his hand went to work, and Nadia relaxed. Her hand held his head to her breast, and curled into his dark hair, and he moaned at even that most innocent of touches. There had been many nights, where he lay against a bare breast, or suckled, while she held him. It was a way she had, of giving comfort to him alone. He too felt the pain of losing Greg, who had happily accepted him as a friend, joking with him in his brotherly way, that Mikey was the Token Straight Boy. And Nadia was his comfort, even while he was hers. Nadia felt herself pulling down her other shoulder strap, leaving a bare breast on the right as well. Mikey acknowledged it with a happy, though muted, "mmm". In the weak light, she glowed when he opened his eyes. He saw no scarring, only soft flesh. While on many, this light made them look old, with her soft, young flesh, it might as well have been candlelight. He protested softly when she moved under him, and began to sit up. He chose to lay against her thighs when she did, grinning up at her wickedly. She removed the rest of her dress, watching it fall to a gauzy puddle on the floor.  Mikey did not protest!
He gently wrestled her, pulling her to him. She felt his body move towards her, felt how aroused he was, even clad in his cotton pajama pants. She pretended to resist, and felt him laugh.
"Oh, no," he said, a teasing lilt in his voice, "You're not getting away!" When the giggles and play had subsided, there were just two young, naked bodies, curled into eachother, two quotation marks. With a rough kiss, Mikey lifted her up, cradling her head on the pillows, and poised himself over her.
"How do you want me?" he asked, as he did slight push ups, his chest brushing against her breasts, his lips brushing on hers.
"When I get like this, when I want to prove I'm alive, I want it hard and strong. I want to feel something."
Nadia pulled his head to hers, and matched his earlier, rougher kisses.
"I want you," she told him, huskily, while his lips still brushed hers.
Mikey growled, and obeyed her, feeling her move against him, lifting her hips up to his as much as she could. There were times when he could tease her for hours, and times when Nadia wanted him, and he had better just start now. He adored her demanding nature in the bedroom, and while he would always joke with her, he refused to keep her waiting. Nadia was a quiet type, who typically exuded "Gentle, sweet", so if she offered a command, it was made quite clear that she expected action. He heard soft moans, whispered curse words, and listened to hear her cry out. He found it exciting to hear her soft little voice, suddenly hoarse, and coarse language come from her little cupid's bow lips.
Mikey let go, letting her feel all of him, not making love to her, but fucking her, animalistically. And Nadia, his "Honey, baby, angel" responded in kind. It was a reassurance of life, that they were there,  that there was more than tears. After a while, he felt her hand cup his sweaty face.
"Mine," she groaned.
The look in her bright aquamarine eyes was fiery.
Mikey tilted his head and kissed the palm of her hand.
Looking down at her, lips still against her hand, tanned, sweaty, crystal droplets in his dark curls, Mikey looked almost dangerous, a barely tamed animal. To prove the point that Nadia made in her head, he then lightly nipped her hand. She pulled him down to her, and kissed him hard, feeling the rest of him follow. With a sudden ripple going through her, she followed his sage, oft repeated advice, and looking him in the eye, although blind with lust, she shattered. He continued moving as she shook and sobbed beneath, contracting almost painfully. It had taken her a long time to distinguish between pleasure and pain, and combining the two was something new. He tried to soothe her even while she came, hard, but Nadia would have none of it. She incited him until he tilted his head, low, and seized a nipple between his teeth, thrusting as he nibbled, hard. His hands were rough now, grazing her. He knew he'd bear her nails in his back, and she would have his stubble burns. Slowly, she came down, her hand massaging the base of his neck, oh, so gently, and soft little moans left her pretty little lips. Carefully, he rearranged them, spooning her sweaty body again, smiling into the back of her neck as she came back to earth, snuggling in sweetly, like a mischevious kitten who has played a massive game of Tug of War and now wants to sleep on your chest.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Sodium Vapor Part 3

For part one, click HERE. For Part two, click HERE
But on the other side, was a sweet girl... "Angel, Baby, Kitten", everyone called her- Dakota's "opposite".
Twenty-seven year old Nadia Kozlowski was the type whose past... fighting through school to survive bullying, severe allergies, deaths of beloved family members, losses, and a rape at 16 that left her bruised and battered-was the type of past  that should possibly have made her bitter. But she learned, through holding on, through keeping only the true friends, and from continuing her fight, through studying, and using her struggles to help others, to help herself.
Now she had the gentle, but tough Mikey Cooper.. who held her during nightmares, and didn't care about past mistakes. Because it was the future he cared about. After a bad marriage, multiple abuses, and time spent hiding herself and a scarred body, she'd run into him at what she thought was a bad time. But he chased her carefully. When she tiptoed back, he chose to dance around her carefully, letting her lead. He helped her. When the old burn scars hurt, and she shrank from a gentle, probing touch, he held her, and let her cry. He taught her, "Don't think, Just Feel", and slowly taught her to let go, let someone care for her as she'd cared for others. A few months ago, a friend of hers reached the terminal stage of HIV. She had stayed with him, while his boyfriend ran out, holding him as he struggled, curling up tight as he slept an exhausted sleep. And Mikey, despite the whys and "are you sures" he received, understood, only forcing her home to eat, shower and change and to hold him a while. Tonight, Nadia grieved, and he spooned her, cradled her, while she spoke... how she and Greg had met, how he'd been a help and a brother, and how it hurt, to see someone so full of life, dying, so slowly and painfully.
Tonight, Greg waited for a major process, and in a few days, they'd lay him to rest.
Finally, Nadia could cry no more. Her body shook, and Mikey pulled her against him, gently turning her so she could bury her head in his chest. He held her, a hand in her golden hair, the other rubbing her back gently, Through the thin little dress she wore, he felt the sweat of her labors, and knew the wear and tear it had taken on all of her. With determination, she slipped a narrow leg in between both of his, and lifted her head and body for a full-on kiss.
"I'm alive", she finally said.
"Yes, you certainly are," Mikey told her breathlessly.

* Note: This all started with a somewhat gloomy scene I envisioned during a little game where people offered 5 words at a time. I popped in something on sodium vapor lamps, and something clicked. And I went from there. All similarities to real people, living or dead, are purely coincidental. 

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

A Twisted Tale

Sit back and I'll tell a twisted tale
Of reaching out in the dark
Of attempting to read faces in a kind of Braille
When tears cloud eyes
And you feel yourself waiting... waiting...
Of sitting in the dark, chain-smoking and attempting to envision better times
While dark seraphs swirl around
And the incubus sits laughing in the dark
Of living in the dark so long, that while you become used to it
You begin to fear it, once you catch a rare glimpse of sunlight
And for a moment here, a second there, you can spin dreams and hopes
Like gold from ordinary straw
Of Faustian deals before a mocking Satan
and a deus ex machina in the most unlikely of places
Of walking away, into the sun
Soul intact
But knowing that the sacrifice
Left you raw and bleeding

Studies In Contrasts

Occasionally, I get an itch to travel- Bethy is a rolling stone!- and while I like airplanes, I love trains. I remember the days of travelling in my Grateful Dead t-shirt, pigtails, and jammy pants late at night, meeting interesting people, like some rather odd Amish boys heading home, fresh from Rumspringa. I got flirted with, (I get this a lot, everywhere I go.), and of course, they decided to entertain me by telling me how they fed the mean and aggressive rooster of one of their fathers grain soaked in beer. They got a mean rooster drunk! I also got a marriage proposal, but I was 18, and wouldn't have considered it even if it were possible! On one of my jaunts east on the way to Penn Station, NYC, I saw some rather interesting sights, especially Schenectady, which is a dark city now, with the Industrial Revolution having left it in a gray stage.
I have to say, it's not like I haven't felt this way myself, I just have never graffiti-ed  it! Of course, at Hudson, the view changed dramatically:

Stay classy, Schenectady! 

Of course, even close to home, the sights can get amusing... here's a cute example of "Not quite grasping the concept!"
Cold Stone Creamery and Jenny Craig... this could ALSO be good advertising, depending on your mindset. The girl at Cold Stone did say that they get A LOT of Jenny clients!
I did this to lighten the mood, there have been a lot of darker and more serious posts.
One more contrast for you:
I hiked here, a beautiful trail in central Jersey. Note how Nature peacefully coexists, with baby ducks and happy little froggies, along side industry.

Monday, October 18, 2010

On Strength

Every so often, someone says to me, "You're so strong, I'm not nearly as strong as you." I always bite my tongue to avoid saying "Believe me, you don't want to learn how to be strong the way I have!"
It's really all quite simple- when handed lemons, I like to make lemonade. I prefer to add sugar, otherwise lemonade is just shitty. Ok, maybe not so simple, I guess. I don't know how I've become an example to some people (including 1 I tend to look up to myself in some ways)- I guess we don't ever know just how we appear to others. In many ways I find myself- um... can I use gobsmacked here?-
because often I don't feel nearly as strong as I apparently am/appear to be. I learn how to live in my own weird world, I suppose, because laying down and letting myself die, doesn't make a lick of sense to me. I can't do it. Among lessons I picked up on quickly, was "Never give up hope-but get up off your ass and do something in order to make things happen."
On Hope itself :
The darkness might conquer, but it could never extinguish hope. And though one candle- or many-might flicker and die, new candles will be lit from the old. Thus, Hope's Flame always burns, lighting the darkness until the coming of day._ From Dragons of Spring Dawning by Margaret Weiss and Tracy Hickman
Sometimes, you have to let the hope of something die. In some way- and my poetic side is coming out here- a phoenix will rise from those ashes. There are some things you just can't help others with, or do for others- they have to do and think for themselves. You have to learn to say "WHEN!" when you are being hurt, by someone you are trying to help. Pride can be helpful, but remember that it also goeth before the fall.
(Go-eth? Awkward, much?)
I'm not always strong, believe me. I have as long a way to go as those who are charmed and admiring of my gallows humor and apparent strength. I have to learn how to lean. And to do that, learn to trust.
I leave you, by telling you this:
"Promise me you'll always remember: you're braver than you believe, and stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think."_ Christopher Robin to Winnie the Pooh
Good night, and God bless.

Sodium Vapor, Part 2

The first part can be found HERE <~~~~~ (Read this first :) )~~~~~
Part 2:

Behind her, up high, the only light the street light shining in the window, a sweet girl curled up tight, holding onto a young man who adored her. She didn't know about her antithesis. She only knew the comfort of a warm chest against her back, of legs curled into hers, of warm arms cradling her. Miles Davis grew, swelled and ebbed on the radio, drowning out the rain,  the insistant buzz of the yellow light. 
She didn't know, that her story had begun, like the old whore's, who was really in her mid-thirties. She only knew... it was ending differently. She knew only the rocking motions he made, as he soothed her, told her everything was OK, as he let her cry for the past, and hold him until she calmed down. 
Not quite fifteen years ago, a prom queen left the midwest, carrying an old cardboard suitcase and a dirty ragdoll with patchy red yarn hair, and one button eye left. She was going to be an actress!  Her name, Missy Lewis, would be in lights! Or perhaps, as her friend, Carrie had told her, the pen name she'd made up of her dog's name and street name, or of her state and a shape. 
She'd decide on the bus, Missy thought. Or find it in the ragged copy of Vogue she'd gotten from a hair salon. 
"Dakota Starr," she decided on. In three years, her young face peered up at older men from cheaply made videos, her eyes wide and innocent. Before then, she'd waited tables, serving bad coffee and runny eggs. Then a trucker took her home, ostensibly to give her some books and things...at that point, during her breaks at the truckstop, she read whatever she could find. College Girl, they called her, and she'd smiled. 
She lost it, that night. In a shabby motel room. She'd awoken, late at night, and struggled into her now torn uniform and tiptoed out, carrying her little boots, and stifling her sobs, as he lay, snoring now that the deed was done...
But she didn't know...couldn't conceive of doing things different. When she'd started losing her beauty, having to pile on more makeup, when drugs, alcohol and chronic use of her body caused her to age faster, she'd gone deeper... from cheap soft core pornos, to hardcore, to clubs and bars, and all in between. Now she went from in-calls and "massages" to hooking. She hoped to be able to bartend one day. Her dreams of her name, "The Fabulous Dakota Starr!"  in lights had diminished. No one knew the tiny, doll-like girl with wide Raggedy Ann shoe-button eyes and porcelain skin from the greasy used up, wrinkly woman whose eyes had narrowed and become flat like a shark's. 

Learning to Love Spaghetti Again

I LOVE cooking. I also love when other people are willing to cook FOR me... (using the GF diet as a guide).
What is the GF diet? There's a somewhat silly little rhyme I use with one of my nephews who lives in the same spectrum as I do on most things: No Wheat, No Barley, No Spelt, (not the British spelling of "Spelled", the grain), no Rye,  and---(in some cases)- no dairy, no dromedaries." (Dairy contains no gluten, some people just have difficulty processing lactose, lacking a certain digestive enzyme. That is lactose intolerance. Or they are allergic to milk itself and can't tolerate the casein. {Dromedaries are one-humped camels, tossed in to make a point and see if someone is paying attention.}) The other day, I got spoiled absolutely rotten. I got a vermicelli dinner cooked for me (using rice noodles- rather sticky, but this is the pratfall of rice) and a homemade spaghetti sauce, consisting of zucchini, meat, green pepper, mushroom, onion, and a jar of basic spaghetti sauce, along with spices,  all thrown together to create a beautiful meat sauce. And slow simmered while bread was prepared and let to bake in the bread maker. Oh yes indeedie--- I had garlic bread! 
Isn't that beautiful? :)
I of course had to thank my friend, the delightful chef who gave me a treat- honest to goodness Italian dinner!
On this diet, you can find lovely desserts, too--- I personally adore Pamela's Double Chocolate Chunk cookies :) And, if you have no issues with milk, feel free to enjoy a pint of ice cream- or more- with a friend, or by yourself.
If you want to bake, there are so many GOOD and BEAUTIFUL desserts that are NOT substitutes but honest to goodness, beautiful foods. 

I'm beginning to love food again!

Friday, October 15, 2010

Walking on Hot Coals

The hardest thing to say is "I'm sorry- I can't handle anymore". Right on up there with that horrible sick feeling you get when you see people in pain, and know, try as you might, that you have to say, "I can't do it for you. I can't bear it for you. I'm not that strong. But, I can hold your hand while you walk through hell. I'll be Virgil, you be Dante." (Appropriate, as I've been in a sort of purgatory at times.)
I've decided- I'm focusing on me to an extent... knocking 3 inches of dead ends off my hair made a world of difference in one department. I feel better, and I look better too. What a difference three inches makes!
I'm going to be my goofball self- the occasional dirty humor, the occasional shock-value test, (I want to see if people know me, or think I am as innocent as I look.) I'm going to dance in my underwear, singing "Somethin' Stupid" or "You make me feel like a natural woman" into a hairbrush. I'm going to hold onto friends and family, but I'm making sure I'm ok first. Yes, I'm here. A shoulder. Comedic relief. A brewski or a coffee here and there. But I will need to lean here and there, too. It's the cold months... already, the nerves are feeling it, and the bones, when damp. (Which it kind of tends to be.) Some days, I might need to ask for help, particularly if my hands start shaking too much or I'm having a bad day mobility wise. I have to learn how rather than making myself sick with my "Lil' Mizz Independence" attitude. Being stubborn saves, but sometimes it's a huge hindrance.
I'm improving myself, and my life, by inches. I'll come to terms with what I need to, make my mistakes and learn from them. I'm going to be just fine.

So, if you need me, I'll walk on the hot coals beside you if I can, or walk an arm's length away, to comfort. And I'll learn to lean when I have to. On you will go, though the weather be foul
On you will go, though your enemies prowl
On you will go, though the Hakken- Kraks howl
Onward up many a frightening creek
Though your arms may get sore
And your sneakers may leak
-Oh The Places You'll Go, Dr. Seuss

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Surely, Embarrassment, Goodness and Mercy Shall Follow Me

Embarrassing moments. I'm not sure if I have more of them than most people... I do however have a distinct problem. I have a hard time hiding when I'm shocked by something. I do joke though, that I embarrass myself quite often. But hey, I gotta be me, and all of that.

Let's see if I can actually pull up a Top 10 List:
Panicky 2AM Phone Calls
The first I recall, had to do with a rather interesting issue. That is, newborns are teeny tiny poop machines. And something that tiny can create a flood. I realized during this escapade, that Huggies Preemie diapers suffer from a distinct disadvantage: Mama will be wearing what comes out via the leg holes as Huggies makes them utterly gigantic. "Oh, my God! it's... everywhere!" Sob, snort, sob, sniffle, heavy breathing. And oddly, a little lack of sympathy from my sister, actually ATTEMPTING to stifle giggles on her end. I thank God she at least TRIED! Finally: "Beth"- giggle-apology-giggle again- "Shit happens." I had to laugh too.
The second was more or less the "Holy cats, I have a Houdini on my hands" call. Lorelei came home with an apnea monitor. Three small sticky pads I had to replace, 10 feet of frigging wires and a possessed machine that Lorelei delighted in causing to go off in its' maddening way, seemingly, just by laughing. Newborns can indeed laugh. I have witnessed that event. I would wrap the wire through and feed through the tapes of her diaper...the Preemie Swaddlers work well for this- to make it neater. One night, I got her bathed, re-taped, and into her pajamas, and put her down for her beddy-byes. I suddenly felt that alarm go through me...and ran in. The pillowcase nightie thing- a lot of newborns wear these-  had hiked way up, and she had her diaper, wires still attached, at her ankles, and was...giggling? Cue call to sister, who thought this was great and absolutely charming. After I'd nearly had a mommy heart attack!
9) My wedding. I spent it, unless I was with someone who was in my corner so to speak (There no matter what) or with Miss L.  with a quintessential plastic smile on my face. I think it's funny to go back now and realize that I was not fooling anyone... my fake smile was pretty damn obvious. D'oh!
8)Mistaking very, very specific and somewhat filthy words and phrases for something food-related. At least I can laugh about it now!
7)My younger cousin and her habit of looking at me and saying "Oh, Beth, you're really flat" in public. (I have yet to tell her "Hey, at least *I* don't fall out of strapless bikinis.")
6)This is the point where I stop and realize- good golly... Embarrassment follows me where'ere I go!
5)People find it funny that I am apt to say "Oh gee golly gosh..." if they realize that I could cuss a blue streak, they'd be shocked.
4)Years ago, at a party with mostly gay males, I was the token girl. I was spending the night to help out with decorating and what not for the big bash, after the little "Food and Fun" thing. I'm on the sofa, watching TV, and suddenly, the owner of the house, a very gay, very ancient man, comes down naked, as casually as anything and tries a conversation with me! The look on my face, confronted with naked 70 year old man was apparently priceless. So then the guys come down...apparently, I was watching TV while there was- good heavens I don't know what! going on upstairs. So there I am... pretty innocent 18 year old, surrounded by naked gay males. I pressed my face into the couch while they had a chuckle. What, girls don't blush anymore? I never looked at any of them the same way again.
3)The same old man sitting down NEXT to me and inquiring if I'd like to sit on his lap. Even if I'd known WHERE he'd been (or conversely, if I had had no frigging clue!) I would not have been tempted. Instead I jumped a mile!
2)Some mean girls threw me into a dumpster on my first Homecoming Dance night. Why? Apparently because they could. I know I looked and felt like some weird swamp creature climbing out again.
1)Babysitting a girl who decided to get drunk on cough syrup at Junior Prom (Damn, Nyquil is harsh!). Ever walk into a mens' room in fancy dress to carefully and gently drag a giggling drunk girl into the right bathroom? What I saw and what I heard will not ever be unseen or unheard. At least the guys were reasonably polite.

Monday, October 11, 2010

I'm Up To Something...

On Sunday the 17th, at midnight eastern time, I will be holding a new show after quite a hiatus of flus and massive colds.
First up, today, October 11th, 2010, is National Coming Out Day. A day that should be celebrated after the latest onslaught of young gay suicides. And every year. Are you LGBT-Q? (Gender-Queer, as an inter-sexed friend informed me.) Then be proud. Educate on human respect, human rights. And BE proud of WHO you are.
Then, my adventures in that single-gal nightmare: plumbing and other home repairs.
Keep an electric screw driver, ladies, and know how to use it. If someone offers to help you carry heavy furniture, let them, and feed them for the effort, especially if they don't let you help. (Some people are terrified to let me carry heavy items. My side table weighs 68 pounds. While it was OK to hold it up all the way from G-ma's, (And damaging a nail and giving myself a good headache while I was at it) it was not ok to participate in the actual lifting. I mean 68 pounds is only 8 pounds over the weight I carried pregnant...shouldn't be too hard!
This will be a typical free for all. Feed me ideas throughout the week, and I'll work them.
Coming at you Sunday, October 17, 2010 at 12 AM EST, is Ballcocks and Bulldykes on Blog Talk Radio.
Pardon me, I feel a Beavis and Butthead giggle coming on.
Goodnight and God bless!

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Going About Country Business

Drama is a part of life. Just being born is drama...being squeezed, being pulled, poked, prodded, intubated if need be, scrubbed and briskly dried and swaddled and rolled down a long hallway. Seriously... do we NEED to bring drama to past times used to bring us away from the craziness that is this modern life? I almost reminded someone today, and thank goodness that I was otherwise distracted: "Fighting on the Internet is like running in the Special Olympics..." insert Carlos Mencia "Dee-dee-dee!" here... and people really don't need your batshit-crazy imagination running wild. Particularly, fighting on a show about internet fighting. Do you see the craziness here? Do not bring your country business to something like that. We don't need to see it. Country business is a phrase from Hamlet, by the way- basically, if one goes to a gynecologist, one is taking care of country business.  To be less polite: Affairs pertaining to the cunt. It should be about as personal as that. In that vein, if someone has to defend themselves while you play stone blind and go about your crazy business... expect others to become ready to smack you, not them. You even play Grammar Nazi- and more-on me. Look, my English isn't perfect, true. However, I've read before I can talk, and can generally pick things up. Well, that and amusing non-sequiturs that I've pretended I didn't notice, assuming someone who actually is nice, must want something for it, and is therefore, as selfish as YOU. You don't see  anything unless YOU want to. Honey, I'm sure you could be quite likable, indeed- if you didn't play the part of asshole for pleasure. Some can pull it off...because you can see the humor and heart in it. Some... can't. You are not in the former category.
As someone who chooses to be herself, and to have fun, have friends, goof off, in spite of everything- I am going to tell you this:
1)This is not the quintessential life philosophy for me, but it is A philosophy for me:
"People can be unreasonable, illogical, self-centered;
Forgive them anyway.
If you're kind, people may accuse you of selfish, ulterior motives; Be kind anyway.
If you're successful, you'll win some false friends and some true enemies;Succeed anyway."So I forgive you. For me, It doesn't make any sense to hurt others for fun, or use ill health or personal issues as an excuse to be a bitch. You can't help it- so I feel sorry for you. Good luck. And may you someday learn how to love yourself- and the love of others will follow. You need to understand & love yourself before others can love you.
-Love, The Sunbeam

The Moments of Your Life

What are the most precious moments of your life? Your "Shoulda been Kodak moments"-moments?
Here are 10 so far. I tried to put these in order, in some way.
10:My first kiss. Age 16. From a goth-kid. The surprise I felt then was so shocking, in light of other events I've experienced.
9)Writing a poem on the evils of war at age 13 and getting a concerned talk from my principal, who thought an older person must have written it for me. Until I gave him some idea of the mental image I saw while writing. More or less... it takes place as a kid-soldier dies and thinks of loves and losses. He was reassured and uncomfortable all at once!
8)Star-gazing with Dad. I even learned to love that smelly old Army blanket on the grass. Even though it was stiff and itchy.
7)My first sip of coffee, age two. I really loved it!
6)Meeting my "sister"- a woman so close, "friend" can't cover our relationship. She actually dated my brother's best friend once. I was 9 and she was 15.
5) GETTING DIVORCED! When I found out that I was now legally divorced, I jumped into my divorce attorney's arms... I didn't think, I just grabbed him and laughed and cried. He was nice enough to pat me on the back and carefully put me back down!
4)Meeting a girl named Raven*- we fought, we cared for eachother, we've seen a lot of changes. I'm thrilled to call her "sister" too.
3)My baby girl's first "I love you". "Wuff you" while being hugged is the sweetest thing I could hear :)
2)Lorelei's first steps on my 25th birthday, two months before she turned two.
1)Meeting Lorelei for the very first time and knowing what love at first sight was. It's--- indescribable.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Movin' To Georgia...

Not really. Although I wouldn't mind another visit! Back in '01, I lived in the dorms of SUNY Cobleskill, 3 hours from Manhattan, and less than an hour out of Albany.(Because of proximity to NYC and a major airport not far away, I spent 9/11 hiding under a bed crying, but I digress here.) One of the "favorite songs" always getting played, was "Peaches" by the Presidents of the USA:
"Moving to the country, gonna eat a lot of peaches
I'm Moving to the country, I'm gonna eat me a lot of peaches
I'm Moving to the country I'm gonna eat a lot of peaches
Moving to the country I'm gonna eat a lot of peaches
Peaches come from a can
They were put there by a man
In a factory downtown
And if I head my little way
I'd eat peaches everyday"
And, as I love peaches, straight, with other foods, or even grilled, I found a recipe for myself.

Peaches are fragile little buggers.
So grill GENTLY!
1)Chop ripe, washed peach in half. Remove pit.
2)Coat with a brushing of sugar and cinnamon.
3)Grill, on low, for five minutes.
4)Place vanilla ice cream in the hollowed-out center.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

The Frustrated Baker's Guide to Pie Crust :)

The Frustrated Baker's Guide to Pie Crust
Aka: Bake your inner demons away!
This is always fun for me. Bwahaha.
Recipes for real people: Note: This contains eggs or egg substitutes.
When I was a kid, there was nothing I liked better than a good cheesecake (I actually think one of my first birthday cakes was a shared cheesecake that 3 year old me helped to cut---at least I had my hands on the handle, but my "adult supervisor" did the actual chopping.) I've had to revamp the crust, and I know that cracker types for this will change with allergies...for example, those who can tolerate no egg, ( I can handle whites) will not be able to use the Glutino crackers I use as a crust. This is also a good way to alleviate frustration. We all have the urge to crush things on occasion, No?
For these purposes, you will need:
A box of crackers- I use Glutino Original, a gluten-free, sort-of buttery cracker, kind of like a pale Ritz cracker. (And only a little bit communion wafer papery. It does not mess with the taste. These are also great with extra sharp cheddar, vegan "cheddar", E-Z Cheez, (I like to make smiley faces with spray cheese, like the dork I am, fruit, veggies, whatever those nutty Triscuit people say is so good on their little dry salty crackers).
These come in little vacuum sealed packets. I put half in my purse to carry with me, and use the other half. For more than two or three people, use both packets. There are approx. 60 crackers in a box. Place these in a large Ziplock freezer bag. Close tightly. Now, here's the fun... bash the hell out of it! (Feel better now?) until you have finely crushed cracker crumbs. Mix with butter- 1/2 cup... and sugar to taste, typically not more than 1/4 cup. (Stevia can be OK... it is twice as sweet as sugar, so use SPARINGLY and do not mix with anything citrus y.), press mixture into a spring-form pan, 9" in width. If you are making a 10" pie, then increase ingredient quantities by 25%.
Place prepped crust by itself into the oven for 10 mins on 350°F. Pull out and let cool. Now... the filling!
2 8-oz packets of Philly cream cheese, softened
Small tub of ricotta cheese or Farmer's Cheese, also softened. By small, about the size of a small container of "I Can't Believe The Noise My Arteries Are Making--- er, that It's Not Butter"
1/2 c. sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla (Note: Gluten free vanilla is not necessary---it's ALL Gluten Free.)
2 eggs, or equivalent amount of Egg Beaters or egg substitute as noted on containers. Generally, about 1/4 of a cup.
Your Prepped Crust
Mix cheese, sugar & vanilla with electric mixer on medium speed. Whip it, whip it good! - until WELL BLENDED. Add egg. Mix until blended. Pour into your crust. Bake cheesecake at 350°F for 40 minutes. Center should be a little jiggly, almost set, but not quite. Cool. Refrigerate for 2 hours or overnight.
Roughly 8 servings. Unless you're feeding me, then please, make two pies, lol!
Next week, I'll give you my recipe for homemade graham crackers... they're lovely fresh out of the oven...and Oh, my lord... I love the S'mores!

Quinoa-Banana Bread

Banana bread has been right out for the most part here. I love the smell, the taste, that lovely feeling. I was given a copy of Living Without- great mag, by the way- and while they interviewed Danica McKellar- the lovely lady who played Winnie on the Wonder Years, about her wheat allergy, which is different from what I deal with, but still has to live on a somewhat limiting diet (You'll never believe how happy I was when I bit into a gluten-free bagel that didn't taste like cardboard. For some, the joy I felt might have been more appropriate for a marriage proposal.)- and came across her recipe for banana bread, which rather than flour, uses Quinoa flakes, which I've used as a breakfast cereal but serves well as a flour substitute too. (Ugh- I have some mild issues with "food substitute" but know I might as well get used to it.)
Now, the biggest boon I've heard about is the popularity of the gluten free diet- for health, weight loss, and other reasons. This fad-dy tendency may well work in favor of the ill. (Hollywood, hold tight to the Quinoa and tapioca! We count on YOU!) Better restaurants, choices, no more odd orders like "I'll have a whopper salad". Count me in. Someday, I'll have a cafe of my own- where wheat, rye, spelt, etc is foreign to the tastebuds, but taste isn't.
Without further ado, as I adore recipes, and know the benefits of quinoa quite well:
Quinoa-Banana Bread
Makes 1 Loaf
(The riper the fruit the better.)
1/2 cup + 2 teaspoons of quinoa flour
1/3 cup quinoa flakes

2 teaspoons of baking soda
1 teaspoon of baking powder
1/4 teaspoon of salt; or to taste
2 peeled, very ripe bananas
2 large eggs or equivalent
2 tablespoons of honey

Preheat oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit
Grease a 9x5 inch loaf pan
Place dry ingredients in large bowl. Mix until well-combined.

In a smaller bowl, mash bananas, and mix in eggs and honey until combined.
Add banana mixture to dry ingredients, beat until combined and batter has a smooth consistency.
Pour batter into greased pan. Bake 20-25 minutes.
Next up, I will repost my semi- irritated recipe, which is pretty fool-proof and works well to make pie crust and relieve tension. I couldn't leave on a depressing note, and in this weather, I want sweets and a warm blanket. Welcome, October!

Kissing Aunt Bertha

Some people seem like absolutely open books. These same people, while attempting honesty in all situations (whether or not it's stuttered is another tale altogether)- still might keep a veil between themselves and others, even when all seems very close and cozy. It wasn't, for example, that long ago that I still attempted a five foot distance from most males physically. A relationship that I had in that time frame suffered from that and other issues, mainly, I couldn't touch them, literally- would occasionally touch an arm, but it was an effort- so of course, no intimacy, and kissing felt forced. There's a type of kiss children tend to give... where there is the barest contact...especially if they're kissing Bearded Aunt Bertha. I tended to treat my boyfriend at the time as if he were Aunt Bertha. I can occasionally fall into "Epic Friendships" with men... all the way up to "Why aren't you dating?" or "Really? You guys are CLOSE". But whether or not I can touch, feel, whatever, there is still something I'll hold back. Whether that means that I rely on sarcasm and humor to hopefully lessen tension, particularly of the sexual sort, or flirt without realizing that I'm flirting until someone tells me I am- I see myself as a scarred, skinny beanpole still, (I'm working on that) so I still don't quite grasp it when told I'm sexy or flirtatious as many times, that hasn't entered my mind to physically act on the adult side of human relationships. I tend to "pick up" men in minefields- somehow, finding someone I cannot share completely with, who can't do that for me- the "We like each other, but..." relationship that isn't a relationship. So in a way, even if capable of sitting next to, or touching, or facing a man close enough to smell cologne or soap, part of me still will close off. Even if they know things I won't generally discuss with others, there's always something I keep quiet. Sometimes, they'll guess at things-- I think I stutter or stop at the wrong points when attempting to be blas`e. Right now, I want to get close to people- including family, and yet, I want to run away and fast.