Saturday, March 31, 2012

the letter




I really wish I could sit here and write you a letter, words filled with humor and rhythm that brings it all to life. I would spin magical tales and climb up tall trees and say it all in a paragraph or two just for you.

This letter  letter would make you cry from laughter and sigh as it rambled into the next part about fears and hopes - and I really wish I could sit here and write you a letter about it all.

The words weave through my head as I walk  - I'm here, I'm doing this, I did that - can't you see? Are you watching?

There is this park by my house that I take my son, and I would tell you the only reason I go is because it's close. It lacks the luster of all the other parks I have taken him too - even the ones that were covered in gravel and extra unfriendly to little boy knees. And I found the library, but only visited one time - the walk is very far and it's a bit run down - I guess people don't care about libraries these days with their nooks and their ipads. I wish I could tell you about it. Remember when we used to go to the library, it was a long time ago now - so long I'm surprised I remember it at all... but I do... I remember a lot of things.

Good things and bad things.

I would write you about those too. For the bad, I would say I'm sorry. For the good, thank you so much.

I really wish I could sit here and write you a letter and know you would hold it in your two hands. Fingers pressed into the papers, eyes scanning word after word. I would put a photo inside, just so you could see what I see all the time - the creek, the ocean, the palm trees, the kiddo and his beloved phone... I really wish a lot of things, don't I?

I wish, most of all, that the letter would reach you and you would be well and you are happy. I imagine you are and that makes my heart smile, just like when I see a pepperoni pizza, and a million other little things...

I really wish I could write you a letter to tell you that I love you and I miss you, very much.
I really wish I could hand deliver the letter so I could hug you too.

And at the end, when I've run out of wit and humor, stories and photos - this is how I would sign it:

With love always,
Aryn

p.s. thank you

Friday, March 30, 2012

what


What will you do
with all the time
that is drowning you

What will I do

nothing

Monday, March 26, 2012

A Weekly Adventure Interview with Anna Banks

Introducing Author Anna Banks:

Anna Banks is an emerging author of YA Fantasy. Her debut novel, "OF POSEIDON" is set for release on May 22nd of this year, through Feiwel and Friends (an off shoot of Macmillan Publishing). Ms. Banks is another lovely writer I had the pleasure of meeting on Twitter! You can also find her on Facebook where she has her author page.

Born and raised in the Florida panhandle, where she still resides with her husband and daughter. Anna has a love for all things chocolate, and a hate for all things athletic. :)

And she was kind enough to give me this lovely interview:





Weekly Adventure: What is your genre of choice, and why?

Anna Banks: I love sci-fi. I love the endless possibilities of could-be reality. Paranormal sometimes has an unbelievable twist, or magic, and I don’t buy magic. But if you can prove to me that it could happen, even if it’s a stretch, I’m yours.
WA: How many books have you published?



AB: OF POSEIDON is my debut novel.


WA: Tell me about OF POSEIDON.

AB: It’s got a little bit of everything. Romance, sarcasm, upchuck, fish, betrayal, and some Lemon Heads.


WA: Where/When can I buy copies of your book?

AB: On May 22nd you should be able to buy it at any bookstore, online or otherwise.


WA: What are you reading right now?

AB: I’m reading THE PLEDGE by Kimberly Derting.

WA: What keeps you going on those days when writing gets hard? (like a favorite quote or a personal motto)

AB: I always say to myself, “You don’t write because you have to. You write because you WANT to.” Another of my favorites:

The only thing keeping me from my dreams is ___________________. You should NEVER EVER fill in this blank.


WA: What advice to you have for other writers out there?

AB: Writing is hard. Even Albert Einstein thought so. Also, your first draft is allowed to be poopy. So is your second. Go through as many drafts as it takes to make it shine. Do the work. Hard work and persistence pays off. Never give up. Not ever. 

WA: What cautions do you have?

AB: Don’t dwell too much on rejection. Rejection and the fear of failure will constipate your muse more than anything else. Keep writing. Keep your muse flowing. Don’t clog it up with doubt.


WA: Do you work on more than one project at a time?

AB: I tried to be a project whore, but I sucked at it, so I don’t do that anymore. If different projects have a markedly different voice, I have to just focus on one.  I’m just talented enough to juggle them. 

WA: Do you have a process? (outlining, character creation, location, etc)

AB: First, I download a playlist of songs that remind me of my characters. I already know my characters pretty well, because until this point, they’ve bothered me incessantly until I realized I had to write about them. Then I outline, but not like your English teacher taught you to outline. In the Banks household, that kind of outline is synonymous with (insert choice expletive here).  I don’t like outlining in depth, because I feel it inhibits creativity, but I do scrawl down a sketchy plan of where I’d like to go and a few ways to get there.  Then I lose that piece of paper, and make up something completely different. I like to call it drunk driving with navigation.


WA: Where do you get your ideas from? What/who inspires you?

AB: I watch a lot of science documentaries (nerd) and I used to make up stories as a child (liar). So: Exceptional liar + Nerd= Writer
Other than that, I don’t know where the ideas come from, but I’m always being haunted by at least three at a time. I’m inspired by Scarlett O’Hara and Anne Shirley. They knew what they wanted and they went after it. If you were looking for real live people, then you must understand that I don’t actually hang out with real live people.


WA: If you could do it all over, is there anything you would change about finding an agent and finally publishing?

AB: I would have spent more time on OF POSEIDON before I submitted it to agents. I know it sounds petty or picky of both, because I got an agent pretty quickly, who then sold it very quickly, but I wish I’d have spent more time developing it. Even now, I’ll be driving or laying in bed and I’ll think of something I could have done better, or could have added. If you know of any therapy groups for this disorder, please do let me know.


WA: What has been your toughest criticism? What has been your greatest compliment?

AB: As you can see from the previous question, I’m probably my worst critic. HOWEVER, I will say that my first editorial letter from my publisher was four pages long, single spaced. That…sucked. I ended up ditching the last 17,000 words of the manuscript and wrote 18,000 new ones. But those changes made it waaaaay better. 

My greatest compliment, to this day, is that my agent wanted to sign me after reading only the first 75 pages (because, does that ever really happen???) She said, “I don’t care if the rest of this document is blank, I know I want it.” Silly as it sounds, that’s still one of my proudest writing moments.


WA: Who is your greatest influence(s)

AB: I try not to get influenced by other writers. That’s not to say I don’t look up to other writers, because I absolutely do. In fact, I’m particularly jealous of Maggie Stiefvater and her ability to construct beautiful sentences. I’m jealous of Suzanne Collins for her simplistic writing style, yet brilliant plotting talent. I’m jealous of Marissa Meyer for her ridiculous imagination.

But I try to steer clear of being “influenced” in terms of execution and voice. I try to be my own, (incurably) snarky self.


WA: Who are your favorite people to follow on Twitter & why? (authors, non-authors)

AB: I like to follow other authors because they “get” me. They get what I went through to be here. And I have so much to learn from them all. I also like to “Twitter-spy” on YA book bloggers. Yes, I’m ashamed that I’m so vain, but I won’t stop doing it, so there.


WA: Do you have any other passions besides writing?

AB: Yes, I love to run marathons and I’m always looking for a healthy recipe to try out. NOT. I despise exercising, and if it weren’t scandalous to eat fried chicken every single day, then I’d do it. I guess you could say I’m passionate about Reese cups, too. Also, I believe in the existence of sasquatch, so I DVR anything slash everything I can find on it.


WA: When did you know you wanted to write?

AB: I knew I wanted to write when I started getting praise for my writing ability in elementary school. I wrote all the time, filling up those humongloid five star notebooks with stories. Horrible stories, mind you. Stories that would make me blush now. Stories that I think my mom might have secretly kept somewhere; this fear wakes me up out of a dead sleep sometimes.


WA: Do you have a day job?

AB: Yes, I work at a bank during the day. No, really. I do.  


WA: Final question, why do you write?

AB: I think the reasons we write change with the stages of our writing careers. At first, I wrote to relieve myself of some stress during a hard time in life. Then I wrote because I thought I might actually have a shot at getting published. THEN I wrote because I was getting all sorts of rejections and it pissed me off and made me work that much harder. Then I wrote because I had a contract/deadlines/commitment.

But ultimately, I write because I can’t NOT write. Plots and characters and scenes won’t leave me alone. Period.


In Anna's Words:

I'm an emerging writer whose primary goal is to entertain smart, funny women like myself. You can expect all of my works to be centered around a love story, freckled with humor, and seasoned with sarcasm. And expect my heroines to be feisty! 
Reading and writing (arithmetic, not so much). I love old movies, can burn almost anything I cook, love pizza but not the way it creates cellulite. If you put chocolate in front of me, you must not have wanted it in the first place. Exercising is on my priority list, right under "Amputate my own pinky finger."


Pre-order a copy OF POSEIDON today! And take a moment to stop by and say hi to Anna on Twitter, Facebook or GoodReads

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

It's the yoga in me...


I don't talk about yoga much these days... there are many reasons behind that. For starters I haven't taught a class in many months, moving to L.A. has jumbled my life, rendering me unable to find the time to teach. Then there is the crazy yoga drama that has been sweeping the western world - if you don't know about it, I'm jealous of you - I'm tired of drama.

But mostly  I haven't spoken about it because I haven't felt inspired in a long time too. 

I don't remember the last time I walked out of a class "blissed out" of my mind, floating to my car and all the way home. I'm almost certain it was prior to becoming a teacher, some of the illusion was stripped from me the day I was handed that certification. I no long hold the ability to cry during hip openers, unless something is catching and pulling the wrong way.

The above photo I found here. I think they're amazing and staring at them got me to thinking what dream me to yoga in the first place, and its the art of it. The art of movement and the beauty of stillness - the flow of the breath guiding my arms and legs into impossible stances and the satisfaction of being there. 

I miss yoga... I miss my yoga. I miss the quiet calm it brings to my mind and the endless space it infuses into my life and I'm sad I won't be able to get get back to it any time soon due to small children and lack of funds. 

We find these respites in life. These things, actives, hobbies, and they save us from ourselves allowing us to see past the BS and directly into the point of it all. That moment you can see exactly what matters, what is important, who is important... 

That was my yoga.
Its inside of me and I know I have to get back there, past the politics, past the popularity of it all - past the voices in my head that seem to be all to common place these days. 

It's the yoga in me that makes me smile at hard times
It's the yoga in me that keep my spine straight
It's the yoga in me that reminds me "...neither in this world nor elsewhere is there any happiness in store for him who always doubts."
It's the yoga in me that shows me "...when the sage climbs the heights of Yoga, he follows the path of work; but when he reaches the heights of Yoga, he is in the land of peace."

Yoga has taught me breath, how to hold my tongue, how to looks past the me I thought/think I should be and accept the me I am - flaws and all. 

It's always the yoga in me, even before I called it that. 

I have memories from my youth that remind me, this is the path I was meant to take, even if I can't do a handstand in the middle of the room. 

As the old yogis would say, what a man determines, he becomes - so it's the yoga in me that keeps me writing, playing with my son, kissing my husband - because I choose to become a yogi with a close family and a writing career. 

That is what I need to remember.
That is what I need to keep going.

It's the yoga in me... 

Friday, March 16, 2012

The Soundtrack of my Life "Vanilla Sex" by NOFX


What's going on in our political world today is scary. It's a bitchy and filled with people who want nothing more than to force their opinions on us - we should only be one way and all act the exact same. In high school we simply said "conformity" as adults we toss around rhetoric about national preservation and security - but it's still conformity, and why? Because if we're all the same, it's less scary... for most. 

Our forefathers worked hard to lay a foundation that we would be able to use as the base for the greatest nation ever know, but now it's just a joke - laws buried so we can see them, miss use of words so we think we're voting one way, but we're not at all. And all we do is feel helpless and watch from the sideline - and I'm talking about me - because what can I do? Who am I?

This song is an old favorite and there are many was it can be perverted and mangled to twist into what people want to hate, but it's rather simple. "Because what I do, is no one's business but me." 

"A man who stand for nothing will fall for anything." ~Malcolm X
Yes, we need to have people out there to protect us from rapists, thieves, murders (but are they?) - but no, that shouldn't include my private life, my private parts, my mind - Orson Welles would be proud. One step closer to making his words a reality, or are we already there and I'm just too naive to notice... 

don't ever take away from me my pornography
we obviously don't agree on what's obscene
I have the right to choose what I
want to see and read

don't try to take away from me
my right to privacy what I
do is no one's business but me

so stay in your missionary position
I hope that you get bored to death
there's no way I'm going thru life
having vanilla sex

the government's trying to get in
your bedroom you better lock your
door and close your shades because
there could be someone watching you today

why do you try to make things illegal
why do we have to be 21
are you afraid that people are having
too much fun
why do you care what I do in my bedroom
why do you want to know how I screw
it seems to me you've got nothing better to do

Monday, March 12, 2012

A Weekly Adventure Interview with Carolyn Herbst Lewis

Introducing Author and Professor Carolyn Herbst Lewis

This interview has been exceptionally fun for me, because I used to work with Carolyn many (many) moons ago at Borders Books & Music (R.I.P.). A feminist, a wife & mother, a wonderful friend and one of those people I'm happy I "found" on facebook years later. 

Since our days at shelving books, she has ventured out becoming an assistant professor of history and a member of the Women's and Gender studies faculty at Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge, branching deep into our histories by tackling the controversial top of sexuality. In 2010 Carolyn published, Prescription for Heterosexuality: Sexual Citizenship in the Cold War Era, a non-fiction history book that discusses the topic of sexuality and politics during the Cold War Era and how, in fear of the Communist threat and the preservation of the "sacred family," an image that was/is the utter visual definition of "The American Way" "...Doctors of the time... believed that "unhealthy" sexual acts, from same-sex desires to female-dominate acts, could cause personal and marital disaster; in short... they were "un-American"...


Weekly Adventure: What is your genre of choice, and why?
Carolyn Herbst Lewis: I write American women’s history. It’s scholarly, but, I hope, appealing to a wide audience. My favorite books to read tend to be historical fiction with a trashy side. As an historian, I read so many scholarly works. After a certain point, I lose track of all the details – names, dates, statistics, etc. I much prefer a good story. Throw in some star-crossed lovers and a little sex and every detail will be etched in my memory forever.


WA: How many books have you published? (self or otherwise)
CHL: I have one published book. I have written or co-written several essays that appear in other books. 


WA: Tell me about Prescription for Heterosexuality: Sexual Citizenship in the Cold War Era.
CHL: In the 1950s and 1960s, there was a lot of anxiety about who we were as a people – what did it mean to be “American”? We were in the midst of the Cold War with the Soviet Union, we thought the communists were infiltrating our schools and government and communities. We
thought there could be a nuclear attack at any moment. And we really couldn’t tell the good guys from the bad guys just by looking at them, so we made up ways to distinguish us from them. One of the ways was sexual. Good, responsible, patriotic, honest Americans were heterosexual – they got married, they raised children, they created these idyllic homes that were the building blocks of our nation. Think of the Cleavers. In my book, I explore how the American medical profession (mainly general practitioners but also obgyns and others) put healthy sexual identities and relationships at the center of this image of the good American. People who were healthy sexually were healthy in other ways and they were capable of having healthy relationships and raising healthy children. I look at how they defined sexual health, how they communicated that definition to each other and their patients, and what it meant in terms of how we saw ourselves as a nation. 


WA: Where can I buy copies of your work?
CHL: Amazon, the University of North Carolina Press website, and loads of other online bookstores. I’ve never seen a copy in a Barnes and Noble.


WA: What are you reading right now?
CHL: Right now I’m reading for pleasure and for work. For pleasure, I’m a little bit addicted to the Anita Blake series by Laurell Hamilton. I like stories about strong women who kick ass. For work, I’m reading Michael Bronski, “A Queer History of the United States.” It’s an alternate narrative of our nation’s history that both restores the experiences of many folks who have been left out of traditional histories, and makes the point that there is no “queer history” (or black history or women’s history) – there is just our history and we have to remember to include all of us in that. It’s a great read.  


WA: What keeps you going on those days when writing gets hard? (like a favorite quote or a personal motto)  
CHL: “It doesn’t have to be good; it just has to be done.” My friend Renee used to say this to her husband all the time when he was working on his dissertation. It sort of became my motto, too.  


WA: What advice do you have for other writers out there? 
CHL: Find your voice. Don’t worry about sounding smart or sassy or sophisticated. Just say what it is that you have to say. And always read it out loud.  


WA: What cautions do you have?  
CHL: Don’t ever delete something that you think is horrible until you know absolutely, positively, 100% that you aren’t going to use it. Wait until it’s published before you delete or toss those early drafts. 


WA: Do you work on more than one project at a time? 
CHL: Always. As a professor, my job is split between teaching and researching/writing. So, I’m writing on lectures for my history courses, I’m reading scholarly books and writing reviews for
publication, I’m writing an essay for an edited collection on America in the Eisenhower years, and I’m researching a second book project on the history of a medical facility in Chicago in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century. I’m also editing my graduate students’ papers, writing letters of recommendation, and grading undergraduate papers. Reading, writing, editing, thinking – that’s what I do.  


WA: What is your writing process?  
CHL: I hate re-doing things. When I write, I like for my first draft to be as polished as possible. So I spend a lot of time thinking before I sit down. I think while I shower, while I eat, while I walk, while I watch movies. Then when I get to the computer, I’m ready to crank it out. I work best with David Bowie playing and M&M’s on hand. Even then, I usually hit a wall and just can’t work in front of the screen anymore. I print it out and work from a hard copy with a sharp pencil. Very old school.  




WA: Where do you get your ideas from? What inspires you? 
CHL: For Prescription for Heterosexuality, I actually started thinking about the topic of medical definitions of sexual health because of a book I picked up at a yard sale. It was for psychotherapists and was all about how the practice of psychotherapy had to change because of the women’s liberation movement, that they couldn’t give women the same advice anymore. I was shocked by the idea that “science” had to change as a result of a social movement. Totally blew my mind. One thing lead to another, and I was writing a book about definitions of sexual health in the 1950s and 1960s. My next project is on the Chicago Maternity Center, which offered physician-assisted but low-intervention home births to poor women in Chicago from the 1890s through the mid-1970s. Ever since my son was born, I wanted to do a project on changing perspectives of a “good” birth experience. In searching for an image for a powerpoint for my lecture on the women’s health movement, I found a poster for the CMC, and I thought, “Gee,
what is this?”   


WA: If you could do it all over, is there anything you would change about finding an agent and finally
publishing? 
CHL: Academics generally don’t go through the agent system. We solicit university presses. I had an awesome experience with the University of North Carolina Press and wouldn’t change a thing about it.  


WA: What has been your toughest criticism? What has been your greatest compliment? 
CGL:My toughest criticism isn’t exactly criticism. There are many people who don’t understand why the history of sexuality matters, and they see what I do as fluffy rather than stuffy – oops, I mean real – history. It’s really insulting. And I find myself spending a lot of time trying to prove myself to them before I remember that I don’t need their validation. My greatest compliment came in an unexpected form. I was attending a women’s history conference and was listening to a presentation and I suddenly realized that the speaker was quoting me. It was surreal! A friend was in the audience, too, sitting a little in front of me, and she turned around and we just looked at each other wide-eyed. It was everything I could do not to jump up and shout, “That’s me! That’s me!” 


WA: Who is your greatest influence(s)  
CHL: Gosh, there are so many ways to answer this question. I’ve been fortunate to have an abundance of positive role models and mentors in my life. In terms of authors who have influenced my writing…. My favorite history book is Carol Groneman’s “Nymphomania.” It’s smart, but sexy. My favorite fiction is the Outlander series by Diana Gabaldon. It’s sexy, but
smart. I’d like to be both of those things, too.  


WA: Who are your favorite people to follow on Twitter/Faceboook & why? (authors, non-authors)  
CHL: I don’t do Twitter. I’m on Facebook pretty much all day, every day. I use it to keep in touch with all my family members and friends who are scattered across the planet. About the only person I follow who is not a friend or relative is Jeff Corwin. He posts fantastic pics of animals and stories of rescues, and lately he’s been getting unapologetically political. I love him. So does my seven-year-old son.  


WA: Do you have any other passions besides writing? 
CHL: I am passionate about laughing loudly and drinking wine. They go very well together.  


WA: When did you know you wanted to write? 
CHL: I’ve always loved reading. Some of my earliest memories are learning to read when I was three or four. Growing up, I could get absolutely lost in a novel, unaware of the world around me. That still happens, in fact. But I also knew even as a kid that I didn’t have the gift to write fictional stories. I can’t make dialogue work. I just can’t tell that kind of story. But in college, I realized that I could tell a different kind of story – the story of what people thought and why.


WA: Do you have a day job?
CHL: This is a really funny question for me. It makes me realize how lucky I am that I get paid to do what I love.  


WA: Final question, why do you write?
CHL: Because I love it.

Friday, March 9, 2012

The Soundtrack of my Life - "Uprising" Muse


According to YouTube, I'm not allowed to post the "official" video of Muse's "Uprising" - which is fine - if I did you may think I was being attacked by teddy bears, and for once I'm not. Which is delightful, so I found this version of the song that doesn't have a video - just music, and that is all I was looking for in the first place.

Muse - "Uprising" is on the Soundtrack of my Life because it is the song I choose to be in the opening credits of my book. (too many movies and television in this girls life)

Two years ago I began writing a series titled, The Hope Saints, a YA Sci/fi Thriller about 5 teens from fictional Hope, Washington. In book one the teens wake up to a world they no longer recognize. After an nation wide power outage, a plagues of demonic creatures lay siege on the United States. It takes two weeks to reach them, but it does. Werewolves attack their small town, killing the people they love and forcing them into hiding. These kids, brother and sister Johnny and Mina Rizzo, friends Denny Johnson and Matt Hoban, and Mina's girlfriend Naomi Kung, leave with the presumption they're parents will bring them home when life is safe again - but it never is.

Whey their supplies are cut off, and they have no other choice but to return home what little hope they had left is lost. Hope, Washington is being held captive by a mad man. Most of their families are dead, missing or have been turned into werewolves themselves. 

Enter General Baker and the 3rd Infantry who teach them not only how to survive, but how to fight back and to help others in the process. 

Their first miracle was surviving when no one else could and their second is saving those who need help. Can 5 teens save the world? You bet'cha. 

Muse "Uprising" is their battle cry.

"They will not force us
They will stop degrading us
They will not control us
We will be victorious!"


Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Sandra Fluke, God & my uterus.



Not like it's a secret, but I was born and raised Catholic. At the ripe old age of 15, basically the first moment I had the chance to do my on thing, I left the church. Over the years this part of my past has come up, mostly as the butt of a joke or me venting about my dislike, I wish I could say I wasn't bitter, but I am. Still, I try to not let that grudge get in the way of things. Some people think because I refuse to be part of Catholicism means I have no faith, no beliefs and that I'm some kind of heathen who worships golden idols. This is not true, I have a lot of faith and I believe a lot of things, but these comments have only fortified why I left that religious sect and why I'm not a fan of conformed religion in general.

You know, the "My god is better than your god" crap. Not a fan.

But as a child, I jumped through all the hoops. I was baptised "Terese" and confirmed "Francis" and did all the small steps in between. I was no "C&E" Christian (a person that only goes to mass on Christmas and Easter) - we went to church every Sunday, even I was dragged there kicking and screaming. We fasted before mass, like good Catholics and ate too much when we came back home - also like good Catholics - and after mass - between fasting and brunch, after we had sat there for 45+ minutes listening to the sermon of the day, the lectured about God's will and his Love for us, we stood on the steps of the church and gossiped, just like good Catholics. 



My grade school was catholic - Sts Cyril and Methodius. The school was so small, that people in my town didn't even know it existed. Hell, there were 15 people (8 girls and 7 Boys) in my graduating class. When the school closed it's doors a few years back I was neither surprised or sad. I have bad memories of this time - but that's another blog on it's own.

My high school was all girl St. Augustine Academy, where we had around 63 girls in our graduating class, also closed it's doors a few years back. No one bullied me there - there I learned about sisterhood and I still have some great friends I met at SAA. 



I went to church bazaars.
I went to church mixers.
I even helped those poor public school kids in PSR who were so unfortunate they couldn't just GO to a good Catholic school. Yes, this is how I thought ALL the time.

I was raised Catholic, which simply made me better. Which is a lie, because no one is better than anyone else - that is a simple truth. 

In this grade school and high school, we had "Sex Education" solely because it was mandated by law. In grade school the teachers dismantled our sex education books. Cutting off the binding and removing the sections that showed/spoke about Male and Female reproductive organs. I know this because they forgot to pull the info from one book and that book became the one everyone just had to had. Yes, by "protecting" us from the vulgar images of the penis and the vagina, they turned it into a joke.
In high school we were taught by a virgin nun. In grade school we giggled. In high school we tortured the poor woman, because we understood she didn't have sex and how can you teach a subject you don't know? (teenagers...)

This is what's wrong. It was wrong then and it's wrong now because nothing makes sense about hiding. If we don't talk about things they will just "go away" is a myth. 

In high school we were giving a chart so we could learn about our "flow" to know when it was the safest time to have sex. Not that we should be having sex - I mean, it was frowned upon. Yet, at the same time, if you did have sex and you DID accidentally get pregnant (which happened a few times while I was there) there was a day care - but you know what you couldn't do at St. Augustine Academy? You couldn't be married. If they found out you were married you would be expelled. 

So this is what I learned from my childhood as a Catholic.
If I don't think about sex - it'll go away.
If I don't know about my body - I won't use it for sex.
Seeing that I've been taught to live in ignorant bliss, if I happen to come in conjugal contact with an evil boy who weakens my resolve and convinces me that I should have sex (because all the cool kids are doing it) and then get pregnant - my school will care for my child, but if I marry the boy they'll 86 my butt.

But that's OK because I'm better than then most. Remember? I'm Catholic.

Let's all be shocked that I made it to the ripe old age of 15 to get the hell out of there. Now, this doesn't mean I hate all Catholics. I don't. I dislike (strongly) extremists. But normal people looking for that something that speaks to their soul like my mother and sister who go to church every week, to each their own. I know some wonderful people who are Christian and they are beautiful and caring and loving. I am in no way or shaping talking about them, but this was my experience growing. This is what happened to me - specifically. 

When the news of Sandra Flukes testimony hit the internet and then the slanderous remarks from Rush Limbaugh and Patricia Heaton followed it was like being transported back to 1988 when I was taught if a girl let a boy - gulp - feel her up... she was a whore. 

Firstly, Sandra Fluke was and is backing the availability of birth control for females for reasons outside of simply to avoiding unwanted pregnancies. Don't believe me? Read instead of speculating.

Secondly, sex is not evil. It is not wrong. It is not bad. It is natural. You know what is not natural? The fact that so many people don't understand their reproductive organs. I once had to sit a 20 year old down and explain to them that you could use a tampon and pee. Placing a tampon inside your vagina will not inhibit your peeing habit. You may ask why, because the vagina and the urethra are not the same thing. By the way, I was 22 when I had that conversation and you know what? She had a kid.

Being female and wanting to have sex is normal.
Being smart and using condoms and birth control is commendable. It's also a big deal, because out side of using condoms or having a vasectomy - men don't have to worry about it. It's all on us to not get pregnant.  
Using birth control doesn't make you a whore, a slut, a tramp, "easy" or what ever school yard taunt people will throw at you.

Living in a world where birth control is readily available would not lead to some freaking orgy. If you think this is true, it makes me wonder what your sex dreams look like... 

You know what else? I love sex. It's one of my very favorite things to do with my husband and if I wasn't married to him, it would still be one of my very favorite things to do with him. It's fun.
You know what else? I have an IUD and I can't have it removed, because my insurance wouldn't cover it, back when I had insurance. That means I have about 2 years to find someone who will remove it for me and to make it even more difficult, the IUD is high up, and slightly hidden, so to have it removed the doctor would need an ultrasound machine to see it so they don't puncture my uterus getting it out - which I was never told could be an issue when I had it inserted by another doctor. She also never told me that it could lead to ovarian cysts - which I've also had since I had it put in place. And she didn't tell me that it would put me into early menopause - which it did. 

Not having insurance means that right now I'm playing a gambling game. In two years will I have the abilities to have children any more? Granted, I don't want any more kids, at least not from the "old fashion way" if I have more it will be because of adoption, but I would like to know if I can't have this IUD removed, which its looking that way, will I lose my reproductive organs?

All of this leads back to simple health care. 

Look who is yelling and calling names - two people who have health care at their finger tips. They don't have to worry about doctors, specialist, etc. Hell, Limbaugh was addicted to prescription drugs, which would imply he had a doctor who gave him a prescription and that would imply insurance
And Patricia Heaton... what a huge let down. How sheltered and narrow minded one must be to turn on their own gender?

It's about respect and understanding. 
We are all different creatures, which is what makes us special. 
Being Catholic in no way made me better than anyone else out there, just like being male in no way makes you better then me because I'm female, just like being straight in no way makes you better than someone who is gay.

The fact that I want to be in charge of my body doesn't make me a slut. It makes me responsible. 
The fact that I'm pro-choice doesn't make me a orgy attending baby killer. It makes me honest, because honestly, who am I to tell you how to live your life, and who are you to tell me?

Health care - all avenues of it - should be available to EVERY citizen of this country. Not just the 1% and when I put it like that, I guess this all lead back to something else now doesn't it? The Occupy Movement.

Do you really think God would only want some of his/her children to be taken care of? If you say yes, I think you should question your parenting ability.

I'm giving a standing ovation to Sandra Fluke for standing up for woman every where.
As for God and my uterus, they're really none of your business.





Monday, March 5, 2012

TAG!! It's a meme & you're it!



So last month I was tagged by the beautiful, talented and uber awesome Kerri Maniscalco (who I had the pleasure of interviewing back in January - you can read it here & you can also find her on twitter!! ) to take part in this fun game of questions tag, how can I say no to a game of tag? So, here they are and a the end are my questions for you! TAG! YOU'RE IT!
1. What’s your favorite dish you get out and what restaurant makes it?
Well now this is a tough one because I'm a vegan who has given up gluten (due to random eczema). But the last take out I had was from a place called Natives Food Cafe & it was really awesome. (Gluten heavy, but awesome all the same!) It was their Super Italian Meatballs Sub. Everything they server is 100% vegan! Which is AMAZING, just like their brownies. 

2. What are you reading RIGHT now?



3. Do you prefer ebooks or traditional paper/hardbacks?

I'll read an ebook if there is no other option, but I prefer to hold a book in my hands. My happiest moment after moving to LA was getting my library card. How does one live without a library card? HOW?!

What are your three favorite books of all time?

Enders Game - Orson Scott Card
Jane Eyre - Charlotte Bronte
The Count of Monte Cristo - Alexandre Dumas

What genre is your current project and is that your favorite to read?

My current project is YA Sci/fi and favorite to read... that a tough one! I love to read and I'm not picky. Right now I've been on a sci/fi, horror, romance kick. lol.... looks as weird as it sounds!


So NOW I have to pick 3 people and ask them 5 questions....

I choose:

& my Questions are... (I'm sticking with the food/book theme)
  1. What is your favorite meal to cook?
  2. What's your "go to" dish?
  3. If you could re-write one book, what book (in whole or in part) would it be? 
  4. What book should have never been made into a movie?
  5. What is your guilty pleasure genre?