Dec 29, 2011

Good Riddance 2011


I heard this story on NPR yesterday, and I love this. A new tradition began in New York City five years ago - an end of the year ritual. Droves of people from all over line up and wait their turn to put "the bad" from the previous year into a giant shredder, a series of dumpsters and/or demolish it with a sledgehammer.

Deployment papers, bad relationships, weight lost, a bully at school, an illness, you name it. Whatever depressing memory or negative part of your life from 2011 you want to move past, shred it and be done with it! Before you can make room for the new of 2012, you need to slough off the old.

What do you want to say good riddance to from 2011?

What do I want to shred up from 2011?

Since I'm not able to attend the official Times Square event, I'll have to do my own ceremony. Maybe I'll write these things down and put them in my food processor. I've spent some time thinking it through, and these are some things I truly want to shred and be done with as I move into 2012.

Good Riddance To: All the bitterness...
  • Bitterness at heterosexual friends and straight people in general, who seemingly have things a lot easier than I do. I'm done with the jealousy. I'm done with pity parties.
  • Bitterness at men because of the lowlifes and sick bastards out there who've given that gender a bad reputation. I'm done assuming that all men are this way. I'm done stereotyping them.
  • Bitterness at christians for the not accepting me as I am. For my legalistic upbringing. For the self-condemnation I learned from the inside out. I'm done with judging them for what they believe, looking down on them. I'm done mocking them and not accepting them as they are.
I'm done milking those negative attitudes. I'm done being angry and bitter towards people. Whether or not they deserve it, I'm done with it!  The only person it hurts is myself and it's just bringing me down.

So good riddance 2011! And with it, those thoughts and attitudes. Let's find the food processor.

What are you dumping from the past year?

Dec 27, 2011

Wedding Brain

My line of work is closely tied to the wedding industry, so I am involved in wedding business on a daily basis. I like weddings. Sometimes I find them ridiculous and over the top. Sometimes I find them heartwarming and perfectly lovely. Mostly, they're a beautiful celebration Which is what they should be. I'm nowhere close to planning a wedding of my own (not that I legally could do that where I live anyway...), and I've never been one of those little girls who has always dreamed of exactly what she wanted.

But for the last few days, ever since I talked to my little sister at 8:30am on Christmas morning and she told me her boyfriend had proposed and she's engaged, I've had wedding brain. The wedding is still at least a year and a half away, but I'm already thinking of colors, favors, flowers and centerpieces that will be an expression of who they are as a couple. I might have already scared her (and my father) a little with talking about plans.

Anyway, I'll calm down about it. I just get excited about these things! When she comes to me in six months ready to think about it all, I'll be ready.

Until then, I have a juicy new issue of Curve Magazine waiting for me. It's their sex and romance issue, full of some tantalizing articles, including: Sapphic Spring Fashion, Can an Open Relationship Work for You?, A Lesbian Central Park Wedding, DIY Valentine's Day Gifts....and more!

I'll leave you with a gorgeous lesbian New York wedding. (source)

Dec 23, 2011

Love Always Wins... Right?

Tomorrow is K's birthday, so I went down to see her for the past couple of days and spend a little time with her since I can't be there for her real birthday. She is a Christmas Eve baby, and my family always does our big "Christmas" on that night, not on Christmas morning, so it hasn't worked so far for us to be together on that day. I hope someday we'll be spending her birthday and our Christmas all on their real dates. But I guess at least we're getting closer.

Last night we went out to P.F. Changs and saw The Girl With a Dragon Tattoo. The food was delicious as usual (if you go there, don't skimp on dessert at the end! We tried the Banana Spring Rolls --- SO GOOD!).  The movie was...intense, as I expected. I've read the trilogy by Stieg Larsson. It's an excellent series, the female protagonist, Lisbeth Salander, is truly a one-of-a-kind character in literature. Anyway, the film was a very well made adaptation of the book. I definitely recommend it but I have to warn you there is some very disturbing content in the story that had me hiding my face in K's shoulder and crying.

As I was leaving today, K and I got The Lecture from K's mom. I don't want to go into detail, and I'm not here to bash my Love's mother. But we got an earful of how God has told her we are living in sin and believing a lie and that if we repent, our friendship may still be saved, and we can have a life long, non sexual relationship as God intended. She informed K that she is not a homosexual, and she informed me I am not a homosexual, and we are simply choosing to live a lie.

K lives at home still with her parents, and at one point told her mom about the true nature of our relationship. Ever since, her mom has been on the offensive to put a stop to our "homosexual" relationship: we sleep in separate beds at her house, are not left alone with a door closed... and it makes me feel like a teenager sneaking around, not a 25 year old independent adult in a committed, almost 4 year long relationship. I always feel the judgment, the disapproval radiating from her when I'm there. This time she just felt compelled to confront us about it.

It is hard for me to hear these things from her. Not because they are true, and not because I am "convicted of my sin". The very opposite, actually. I am more sure than ever that God could not possibly support or be the founder of such beliefs condemning me and K. I am more sure than ever that our relationship is not "a sin". I am offended that she would try to tell me who I am or am not. But mostly it is hard for me to hear those things... because I don't want K to hear those things. I don't want her mother deciding for her who she is and what she believes. I want K deciding that on her own.

On that note, I am relieved to be home and spending Christmas with my family who loves me as I am and accepts me. And with the new year coming, I am hoping for a brighter and better future, with lots less of judgment and lots more of love. They say love always wins, and I'm betting my life on it.


Dec 17, 2011

Little Soul-Warmers

I'm house/dog sitting for my parents this weekend (it's their 30th wedding anniversary!), while they enjoy a little getaway. I like spending time with Frodo. He's a lot like a person, but he doesn't talk. He's always happy to see you. He's very easy to be around and very cute.

Kind of a little stinker butt too. But you can't help but love him.

He wiwy wuvs going on w's.

Yes, I do talk in a baby voice to him.

I'm not allowed to have pets at my apartment and it's starting to really bother me. I try to fill the void with stuffed animals, but it's just not the same. I really want one of these!:

Italian Greyhound.

It's an Italian Greyhound, I refer to them as Kermits, thanks to Jenna Marbles (a comedian video blogger, she has one of these named Kermit and he is so precious!!!).

There is something soul-warming about dogs. They have feelings, and they get attached to "their people" and they just want to be loved! They are always there for you - there to love you. When my parents first got Frodo, that's when I really started thinking about vegetarianism. I'm still not at the point where I refuse to eat meat, but I'm giving it some serious thought. Two books on my reading queue right now on this topic are:

Eating Animals; by Jonathan Safran Foer

I should have finished reading these long ago, but I know there's going to be something very true in these books that will be hard to ignore once I read them. And when I make a commitment to something, I want to know I'm going to keep it. I don't feel ready just yet.

Know any others books on the subject of vegetarianism I should add to the list?

Dec 14, 2011

I am Not a Chick

Exhibit A: Short skirt does not qualify her as a slut or ho.
There are some guys at my work who are in the habit of referring to women as either "chicks", or "sluts". Sometimes they change it up and the women are "bitches" or "ho's".

Needless to say, this bothers me. I mean, it's not incessant, and they don't call me those things. But for whatever reason, they will not call a female, "woman" or "girl". (I prefer girl, if you're under...30. And woman if you're over 30. I guess. I don't really know why.)

So, to cut back on the use of these terms, whenever someone says, in reference to a photo of a girl dressed scantily or whatever, "look at the slut", I will say, "how do we know she's a slut? We don't know that. There is no way to tell that, just based on her photo. We don't know who she sleeps with or what she's like."  And after a few earfuls of that a day, it has seemed to curb the problem significantly.

In general, I'm not crazy about labels anyway. But I'll allow them the occasional "ho" comment if they can back it up with some evidence that the girl has earned the title. If she's sleeping around with a bunch of different guys behind her husband's back...then yes. She has earned that one, I'm not about to defend her.

You see what I'm saying?

In this case, it would not be inappropriate to say "look at those cute chicks!"
I just think the derogatory terms for women are thrown around so easily without a thought. It's not fair. There's not exactly a male equivalent of the term "slut".

It's all just very degrading. And frustrating as a woman. I guess "chick" isn't exactly degrading, but it does signify a certain lack of respect. Come on, if your boss is a woman, you're not going to go around calling her a chick.

I'm a girl, a female, a woman, a human, a person, a lass...take your pick, but I am not a chick.

Dec 11, 2011

A Holly Jolly Chris Moose!

This weekend K and I had our Christmas together. I wish we could be together on the real Christmas, but this is the next best thing. We got up on "Christmas" morning and had coffee and opened stockings. Then we made some breakfast and opened presents. She got me Vera Wang's new Lovestruck (I love this scent). And, she knows my favorite coffee is she somehow talked them into selling her this huge bag of beans! They don't sell their coffee beans. Yet, there it was in a lovely wrapped package. I'm so excited to be able to brew my own delicious McDonald's coffee now. I think I'm the only person in the world who got this for Christmas.

We're sitting watching "You've Got Mail" and enjoying the last few minutes of the weekend before everything goes back to "normal". She has to go home tomorrow, and in less than a month she's going to be in nursing school and these weekends will be fewer and farther between. These times together mean so much to me. Sometimes I wish I could just freeze time, and we could just stay how we are, right now, on the couch together, with nowhere to be.

Ice skating!
We met Rudolph.
K and her new Yeti have been inseparable every since she pulled him out of her stocking.
We colored some Chris-Mooses. (Mine's on the left...)
K's beautiful wrapping.
I gave K some paintings from an art gallery we went to last summer in Toronto.
Lovestruck and McDonald's coffee beans from K.
Our little baby tree.

Dec 5, 2011

For the Love of God, Read This Book

I just finished reading John Shore's "Unfair: Why the 'Christian' View of Gays Doesn't Work".

I'm not trying to exaggerate, but anyone who reads this book and still has a hard heart towards gay people defended by a christian worldview, I would seriously question the existence of their soul, conscience, heart or ability to reason.

How's that for an introduction to a book?

Let me just start by saying why this book matters to me.You might think, Ruth, you're not a Christian, why do you give a rat's ass what Christians say about gay people? Well, I'll tell you.

-This book matters to me because my father looked me in the eyes and told me that the type of relationship I'm in, that I seek and am drawn to, and that makes me happy is "inferior, immoral, and unnatural".

-This book matters to me because my Love is tormented with the thought of having to choose between God and being with me. She has to choose between love and love. If that's not fucked up, I don't know what is.

-This book matters to me because I know that being with her is not a sin. I know this instinctively, with everything that I am. I know that this is a good and beautiful and truthful part of being a human, and that what I have with her is not wrong. But when I tell someone that, someone in my life who is a Christian, they look at me with pity, "poor little Ruthie, trying to justify her sin". It's condescending, it's disrespectful, and it's unjust, that I shouldn't be treated that way by Christians in my life.

-This book matters to me because my best friend is going to bring a little baby into the world next year, and I don't want him to be taught these lies, develop these prejudices, and look down on people who are gay, including me. Or worse yet, if he turns out to be gay and is made to believe he's inferior and not worthy of love. I want him to live in a world, and know a Church, that LOVES above all else.

-This book matters to me because maybe I have stepped away from that "faith" I knew when I was younger, but that doesn't mean I will never find peace and love with "God", whoever or whatever that is. But I can never reconcile with a creator than rejects me, his creation, as I am.

-This book matters to me because of the hurting community of gay people in this world. This isn't about a political movement. It's about a minority group of human beings who have been stomped on, locked away, isolated, taught to despise themselves, shunned, and told they're not worth loving--all in the name of God. And there is something sickeningly screwed up with that.

So it is time to set the record straight.

-It's time for Christians* to stop unreasonably fighting for the right to condemn gay people (get off your high and mighty heterosexual horse).

-It's time for them to stop clinging, white-knuckled, to a couple piddly verses taken out of context just to prove a point (and an incorrect point at that).

-It's time for them to stop swaggering around in their pharisee get-up, shut up, listen to the words of Jesus, and, for the Love of God,  love their neighbors.

(*um...if you are a Christian who has already come to understand that God loves gay people, and he created them as they are, and that everyone is welcome in the body of Christ....just ignore all this...)

Geese-o-peese, this really gets me worked up. Deep breath. Ok, moving on to the book.

You need to read it for yourself, honestly. My little review of it isn't going to make much of an impact compared to reading the whole thing.  Let me just tell you what it's all about.

Shore presents a collection of letters that he's received over the years from GLBT individuals who have had a first hand experience of the Church's discrimination against gay people (he writes a blog, so he gets a lot of mail/email from readers), interspersed with essays written by himself, all ultimately demonstrating "Why the 'Christian' View of Gays Doesn't Work". The last chapter is an essay written by Shore and his wife entitled Taking God at his Word: The Bible and Homosexuality, which addresses the 7 specific verses in the Bible that appear to refer to homosexuality.

The letters themselves are what I found most powerful about this book. Personal accounts of people who have lost relationships, livelihood, and love because of the Church's insistence on defending the lie that God does not accept gay people as they are. Some of them lost hope and lost their faith. But a very good many of them learned to separate the Church (humans) from God, and found that God loved them and wanted to have a relationship with them. It is really beautiful, and this testament supports the overwhelming truth of this book. God loves everyone, he created everyone to be exactly who they are, and he intended gay people to belong in his Church body.

Shore's essays are sharp and clairvoyant. He has a gift for seeing the true nature of things, and expressing it concisely with words. He clears the cloudiness in our minds of why this issue makes people uncomfortable, why they fight it so strongly, why this topic, hardly discussed in the Bible, is blown SO COMPLETELY out of proportion as to destroy people's lives. He exposes the blatant hypocrisy in the church on this issue, that should leave just about anyone who identifies as Christian, not just a little embarrassed. He is confident that things are changing, and that it is only a matter of time before the church hardly remembers a time when it excluded gay people.

John Shore is a straight, married man. He didn't become a Christian until he was 38 years old, but he is very earnest about his faith, and I think that's why this is so important to him. He came into the church later in life and was horrified to see that this was going on in communities of believers. People who grow up in the church I think become immune the appalling attitudes of the church towards GLBT people.

Just one more thing. If you are a Christian, and you're thinking, "I'm not one of those people picketing 'God Hates Fags' signs, I don't hate gay people, I'm really nice to them. They're just sinners like the rest of us...they're just choosing to live in sin and need to be changed by God...".  YOU are the one this book is written for. Yes, You. Not Westboro Baptist church, not the Bible Belt pulpit slapping preacher, You. You think you have the PC Christian answer, but you are doing worse damage to your gay brothers and sisters than you can possibly know.

Please, for the Love of God, read this book.

Dec 4, 2011

Chicken Noodle Sunday

Growing up, Sunday was my least favorite day of the week. I still don't know exactly why this was. Probably for a combination of reasons:

- Church kind of felt like a duty, because I didn't have any say whether or not I was going. I usually enjoyed church itself, it was a place I felt I really belonged. I knew my place there. But that didn't stop it from feeling obligatory.

- Monday came after Sundays. So you knew the weekend was just about over.

- Sunday afternoons always had this sleepy, dreary feel to them. Dad falling asleep watching football. Mom antsy and restless. Homework that needed to be done I was avoiding. Lawns being mowed. The after thoughts about whatever had been preached in the service that morning. Maybe back to church Sunday night.

- I usually felt more anxious than rested on the "day of rest".

It's been about 3.5 years since I've had that kind of Sunday. At first, it was weird, kind of surreal that I didn't actually have  to do anything on a Sunday. My weekend was not chopped in half anymore. I had two whole days of weekend now and it was quite a shock to my brain.

Somehow on it's own Sunday has morphed into a day of rest for me. I usually do laundry, spend time reading, watch a movie or TV show, cook something, maybe buy groceries or straighten up the apartment. And it's this nice spacer day that leaves me feeling refreshed and ready for a new week.

I actually really like Sundays now.

I made my first pot of Chicken Noodle Soup today, and it is so delicious. It seems like a basic thing I should have made before I was 25, but I usually just bought Campbell's. This is so much better.

It includes:
- Chicken that was supposedly "humanely raised", caige-free, fed all-vegetarian diet and no antibiotics (thinly sliced and then cut in chunks, sauteed in olive oil)
- Alfredo pasta noodles
- Chopped baby carrots and celery
- Chicken broth made from "Better Than Bouillon" chicken base (by Superior Touch). SO good.
- Extra spices (like thyme, garlic, salt, pepper, parsley and bay leaf)

If you have not made Chicken Noodle Soup before, I definitely recommend it over the store-bought kind.

Hope you had a restful and soul-warming Sunday.

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