All posts by Bear

Brocolli yes, cauliflower no.

On Men and Women

A few years (months?) ago, Wolf found out that I like Sherlock Holmes and recommended The Beekeeper’s Apprentice by Laurie R. King, about his adventures later in life—and the apprentice he takes on. 🙂 It look me a long time to get around to the book, mostly because I had to figure out that while I have little time for reading, I’m sure in the car an awful lot, and have plenty of time to listen to stuff. 🙂 So I finally picked up the audiobook of Beekeeper, read by Jenny Sterlin, and slammed through it. (Is it possible to listen faster???) And then I picked up the second book in the series, A Monstrous Regiment of Women, also read by Sterlin.

The book takes place in the UK in the 1920s and centers around a church/women’s rights activist center. Surrounding the mystery itself, there are wonderful world-building moments and discussions about the state of women’s rights during the time. It got me to thinking about how far we have come since then, legally and socially. But it also got me thinking about how far we still have to go. Continue reading On Men and Women

Let them eat chips

I’m starting to understand more deeply where my rage has been coming from. Oh, there’s the hormones, and the lack of sleep– and that awful heat certainly didn’t help. But there’s also so much mudslinging happening online right now. Everyone is accusing everyone else of having a horrible political agenda that is ruining this country! Or so they say.

The one that shocked me silent– not an easy feat– was the Doritos thing. Frito-Lay put together a specialty pack of rainbow colored Doritos, which were only available through one specific website. They are not going to any stores, and cannot be purchased anywhere but from that one site. All proceeds from the sales will be going to support an organization that is fighting teen suicides resulting from bullying. The offerings sold out that same day.

And yet some people were furious. Self-identified Christians (people whom I thought were supposed to love their neighbors just like their main dude did????) went to the Facebook page for this event and flamed Frito-Lay, saying that they were once strong Dorito fans, but they would never again buy these chips, because Doritos supported gay people. More than one was offended at some political agenda “being shoved down [their] throat[s].”

Can we take a look at that for a moment?  Continue reading Let them eat chips

Furious

I am angry. No, I am furious.

The problem is, I couldn’t figure out why. Oh, there are plenty of things to piss me off. I could list them for you, but I don’t think it would do me any good, and if you’re paying attention, you can figure out what some of them are anyway. But these are things that are simply part of being alive around other people. They’re not … fury-making. Well, maybe one of them is, but that still shouldn’t be enough to top me off like this. Continue reading Furious

Thoughts on Shaming

 

Within the last month, some lady thought she’d be funny by posting a video shaming fat people. She opened with some muttered comment about not aiming her video at people with medical conditions. This is just for the people who are willfully fat. She was crass. She was rude. She was “in your face.” And she got fired from a gig for her lack of respect.

While I am pleased with the fact that she was called out for her reprehensible behavior—shaming people never makes them better—the whole thing gave me a moment’s pause. She wasn’t talking to people who have medical conditions that cause weight gain. … Who exactly is that referring to?

I mean, clearly, she’s not talking to the people who take medications that cause weight gain. Or, you know, other stuff…? But what does that mean?

For example, about 10 years ago, I was taking care of my grandfather fulltime, and could not afford healthcare. I started having unusual lady problems that needed medical attention, but all I could afford was Urgent Care. I was told that I probably had PCOS, which can cause weight gain, amongst other symptoms. The Nurse Practitioner gave me a pill to fix the worst of the symptoms, and I went on my way.

I researched what this meant, and it made sense. I had a lot of the symptoms. “That’s it!” I thought. “This is why I can never lose the damn weight. I feel better now.” Because, you see, I had a Medical Condition. It explained so much! Now, when people gave me the eye, I could tell them that I had a Condition, and I could see them backing off.

When I was financially on my feet again and had insurance, I went to a doctor and asked for a diagnosis. We went through all of the tests, some of them quite painful, and I found out that I do NOT, in fact, have PCOS. Which means that I must just be a fat slob after all.

A few years after that, I was laid off, and once again without insurance. (All of this was before Affordable Care, you see.) I couldn’t afford COBRA. HELLO! I just lost my job, and you want me to pay you $500 a month IN CASE I get sick? I still don’t get that. Whatever. I started shopping around for health insurance that I could afford. And I got rejected because I was too fat. When I bemoaned my situation to someone I had considered a friend, he told me point blank that he didn’t think I deserved health insurance, although he didn’t say why. I’m guessing it’s because of my weight, though, because he had no way of knowing that otherwise my health is excellent. Blood pressure, blood sugar, all of my levels are within “healthy” range, except for the weight, which is, you know, visible. So what he essentially said to me was that because I was lazy in his eyes, I didn’t deserve to be healthy. Except that he didn’t have a medical license. For that matter, neither did the guy who rejected me for insurance.

A few years later, I started getting More Symptoms. I researched and ran to the doctor, and the conclusion we came to together is that I should not be eating gluten. Celiac’s Disease, once upon a time, was believed to only cause severe weight loss. If you couldn’t see a person’s bones, if they didn’t have the protruding belly, it wasn’t Celiac’s. But medical science marches on, and now they’re realizing that it can cause unexplained weight gain, as well. In fact, there are over 300 symptoms of the disease, and while there are symptoms that are more common than others, it is actually possible to have the disease for years without any symptoms at all. And because Celiac’s is such a complex disease, it takes an average—an average of 11 years to get diagnosed, which means that this could have been going on for years with me not having a clue. Who knows how long? And during that entire time, whether I was dieting or not, no matter how well I ate, or how much I exercised or didn’t, I was constantly losing nutrition and starving my body.

After diagnosis, I admit that I overate. Part of it was because I had an Excuse. Part of it was because I was desperate to feel normal again, so I devoured everything I could find that felt “normal”. Part of it was the Depression kicking in, from losing a huge part of my identity as a baker. At this point, I’ve pretty much worked through all of that and stopped overeating, but it’s going to be a while before you see any results, because I refuse—let me write that again for you to read: I REFUSE to go on a crash diet just to suit anyone else’s concept of what my body should look like EVER, EVER AGAIN. Instead I eat healthfully for my body and let it come into balance on its own.

So here’s my question to that lady, and to anyone else who feels the need to shame some random person on the street over some issue you know absolutely nothing about: Were you talking to the me that thought I had a medical condition, but actually didn’t, the me that HAD a silent and undiagnosed medical condition, the me that knew I had a problem but had other serious medical issues keeping me from dealing with the first, or the me that is doing the best that I can for myself, as I currently know things to be?

Just wondering.

 

Image found here: http://www.visiblemeasures.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/07/Dove-Real-Beauty-Campaign.jpg

A Quick Howdy and a Redirect

Happy Labor Day, everyone!

First of all, I would like send out my thanks to all the laborers of our great nation–the teachers, the drivers, the baggers, the checkers, the factory workers, the miners, the loggers, the workers, the doers, the makers… and pretty much everyone who puts in a hard day’s work. You are the backbone of our county. Your daily industry is valued and appreciated. Thank you.

On a separate note, I hope you have been having a wonderful and relaxing weekend. I certainly have. After a month of multiple deadlines, I don’t think I realized how tired I was until I slept in for the last two days and took midday naps to boot! So, here it is, day three of my weekend, and I’m finally ready to dig in and do stuff. LOL!

My post here is fairly short, but that’s mostly because I wrote up a nice little tutorial on single-serve cookie baking, over at Food From Our Kitchens. (This method is especially useful on days when you feel like you’re living inside Mt. Doom, and cannot bear the thought of turning on the oven, but yanno, you still want cookies.)

Feel free to check it out.

 

Image found here: http://www.browncountypubliclibrary.org/sites/default/files/images/Labor-Day.jpg

An Announcement

As a kid I was very lucky to have a father who worked as a magazine editor. Well, I mean, I can look back now and call it lucky. At the time I was to busy crying from the pages and pages of red ink that he would hand to me when I showed him a paper I had written for school. Dad never pulled a punch in those days, which I had considered unfair. I’m still in school! Why can’t he take it easy on me? But it was precisely because he didn’t pull his punches that I learned much earlier than my classmates how to construct a decent sentence, paragraph, and paper.  I also learned that spelling is ultimately a visual process. (That whole “sound it out” thing is a load of hogwash in the English language.)

Since that time, I have worked as an editor, myself, as well as an admin upon which various executives relied for fixing their memos. I also spent a good chunk of time with blossoming writers, as well as growing my own writing career– and from direct experience, I learned  how to pinpoint parts of a manuscript that need to be tightened, yes, but also to point out where a manuscript is strong, so that writers know to keep doing that.

In other words, over the years my father’s red ink has served me well, and now it will serve me once again.

I have set out a shingle as a freelance editor specifically for small- and independent-press fiction writers. This is very exciting for me, because I get to do two things that I love: read and support blossoming writers and geek out on grammar and spelling a bit.

If you are interested or just curious about my services, you can check out my editing services page here.

And meanwhile, I’ve got a gig, so if you don’t hear from me for a bit, it’s because I’ve got my red pen out.

See you on the other side!

My House Smells So Good

There’s been a lot going on Chez Bear these days. I’ve been slamming out writing and editing projects around my full time job, and Honey has been dealing with dramatic changes at his job, plus slamming out… writing and editing projects. But, you know, totally different projects. Heh! No such thing as geeks at rest, I guess.

This weekend was a little different, though. Saturday, I went to a writing retreat out in the mountains of Monrovia, and I waved to all my friends who lived out there, but since they were probably more than a hundred yards away and on the other side of a lot of trees, I don’t think they saw me. But yes, the writing retreat was out in the woods on the side of a mountain, and there would be no grocery stores or restaurants within walking distance, so I knew I’d have to bring my own lunch. And for some reason, this put me in a little bit of a panic.

The embarrassing truth is that I haven’t packed my lunch in a very long time. At work, I have nearby eateries that can cater to my needs, and at home I have a refrigerator with things I can use to make a decent lunch/snack/breakfast thing. And Del Taco is nearby, too.

Also, I couldn’t think of a sandwich I could make for myself with what I had in the kitchen that would a) taste good, b) contain any sort of nutrition, and c) contain stuff I actually had in my kitchen. So I decided that rather than making a run to the grocery store for crappy GF sandwich bread, I’d make something in advance.

I made pepperoni rolls. I did not, however, read all of my notes from last time, so that recipe is still not quite perfect, more’s the pity. But it was still good enough that when the instructor of the retreat asked me what I was eating and I shared with her, she literally jumped up and down in her seat and waved her hands, trying to tell everyone else at the retreat about what I was eating. #PepperoniRollsFTW #CanYouEvenUseHashtagsInABlog #WhoCares #MyBlog

The thing about my recipe is that the bread recipe I use is already halved, but it still makes enough bread for a double batch, so I always have dough left over. (More dough than pepperoni, you see.) Sometimes I just bake the bread straight up– very good. Or I can make monkey bread. Yum! But this time, I wanted to make cinnamon rolls. Mmmm!

So Sunday, I knew I’d be making cinnamon rolls, using my Frankenstein recipe, where the dough, the filling and the frosting all come from different places, and got stitched together with me in the middle making minor tweaks. But I wasn’t done yet, so I also made buckwheat pancakes for breakfast, flourless brownies, and chicken casserole for dinner the next night. In short, I didn’t write. I didn’t edit. I didn’t go to Disneyland. But I had a blast.

And I posted the recipe for the cinnamon rolls over at a new blog I’m a joint member of, Food From Our Kitchens. Pop on over and check it out. And find out how to make easy-peasy cinnamon roll dough. (SO EASY.)

Peace.

A Weekend of Wow aka Not So Brief

Let me make this easy for you. TLDR, right here at the top. This one, I’m writing for me. Feel free to read or not read as you see fit, but you have been warned.

My office of 25 has a lot of July babies. The other week, in fact, there were three of us. The guy on Thursday let us know in advance that he was taking off. The guy on Wednesday didn’t let us know in advance and took off anyway. And my birthday was on the weekend, which I suppose meant everyone was off? Dammit, I wanted to have an extra day off too! So I checked in with my boss, made the necessary arrangements, and Honey and I both took Friday off for appropriate celebrations.

Since we had the time and no plans for what to do with it, Honey asked me what I wanted to do for my birthday, and with my tongue firmly planted in my cheek, I said I wanted to go to Disneyland. Without batting an eyelash, he said, “Okay,” and all of a sudden, I found myself planning a trip to the Mouse House. Now, if you have an annual pass, you can just pop over for a few hours, hang out, go on that one ride you love, and call it a day, but if you don’t have a pass (or know someone who is happy to sign you in), you need to Plan Your Day to get maximum effect, because otherwise you get overwhelmed. Continue reading A Weekend of Wow aka Not So Brief

In brief

The secret to art is to make things as real as you can while knowing what to leave out. Painters are far from photorealistic, and even with photography, you have to frame your image just so, knowing what to put in and what to leave out. 

I have my birthday story mostly written, but at this point is still a download rather than art. Check back next week to see the pared down version. 

A Visit with the Wolf Pack, Guys, Dolls, and the Go-Gos

Honey and I just got back from a visit with his parents, Wolf and Five up in Oregon. Ironically, just as Los Angeles started to cool off from our yucky heat wave, we headed up to a part of OR that was even hotter than LA had been, but at least it was also humid, so you know, there’s that. But! We got to witness some really dramatic displays of nature, including a thunderstorm that had both bolts and sheet lightning. It was spectacular!

Our first day there was the fourth of July, but Honey and I were so exhausted– we really needed a vacation!– that we didn’t do a whole lot. As I recall, we didn’t even have the energy to go see the fireworks. It sounds dull now, but after the last six months, this was probably the best way we could have spent the day. Honey and I were both excited at the idea of having absolutely nothing to do. We did, however, have a festive barbecue, complete with a visit from Honey’s grandma, Pancakes. It’s funny: every time I see Pancakes, she reminds me so much of my own grandpa– she has the same accent he did. Makes me miss West Virginia a little bit every time.

The next morning, Honey and I woke up early to find a note from Five saying that he had taken Wolf to the hospital in the middle of the night, that he was home now, and to wake him when we woke up. It turns out there had been a bunch of little things that all interacted together to make her pretty sick, but the hospital did a fantastic job of poking, prodding, sticking, and fixing until she was better. And it only took them two nights-ish and a day. Of course we went to visit her, and spent the rest of the day in a dazed mix of concern and exhaustion. But by the next day, Wolf was able to come home, looking and sounding So Much Better, for which we are all very grateful. (And still a little concerned and exhausted.) Continue reading A Visit with the Wolf Pack, Guys, Dolls, and the Go-Gos