I’m still working on my gluten free baking skills. I have come to the conclusion that I have to use baking recipes that are specifically designed for gluten free ingredients; I cannot “just substitute” a gluten-free all-purpose flour and have it turn out okay. I think I’ve come to this conclusion at least three times, the most recent being last weekend. For some reason unbeknownst to my logical mind, when I got into the kitchen, I grabbed all my old favorite recipes, and got horribly, dismally upset when they didn’t turn out right. Continue reading An Essential Difference Between Boys and Girls
Yesterday started the American Library Association’s Banned Books week. That’s right: librarians across the U.S. are celebrating banned books! Or rather, they’re celebrating the Freedom to Read.
People have all sorts of reasons they want books banned from libraries: everything from religious differences (or veiled accusations, which circle back to religious differences) to appropriateness for small children to downright pet peeves. The beautiful thing about libraries, though, is if you don’t want to read something, don’t check it out. There! Done.
I wrote out a whole diatribe on how if banning books were really a logical thing to do, the first one I’d ban would be the Bible: graphic, violent, sexist: need I go on? And then I deleted my rant. Aside from preaching to the choir (of bibliophiles, not to mention a couple of people who derive inspiration and comfort from the Bible), I believe in teaching through action. So instead, I wrote a review of a banned book and posted it to my favorite review site, loveandbooks.com. You can find my review there. And I encourage you to read a banned book (might I recommend Fahrenheit 451? Captain Underpants? Twilight? Or any of the Harry Potter series?) and write your own review.
Power to the people! Through books.
All the books.
Special thanks to the ALA for providing the image.
First, I have to apologize for the lateness of this post. By the end, I think you’ll get it.
I’m taking a bunch of courses, reading a bunch of books, and steeping myself in learning right now. I’m working my way through Napoleon Hill’s Think and Grow Rich (again. One day I’ll make it to the end.), a book on learning how to be more charismatic, a teleclass on Natural Selling (without fear of rejection), an online interactive class on making your stories BIGGER, and, of course, learning my product and how to sell it. Wow. Now that I look at this all written down, that’s a lot all at once. I think I’m glad I didn’t sign up for those other two classes.
Back to the point: the classes about sales, charisma, getting rich AND bigger stories all have one concept in common, although they all phrase it differently: presence. Every single one presents the idea that to do better, to be bigger, to have that aura, you have to stop and actually listen– to your customers, to your characters, to your acquaintances. But it’s not about listening while coming up with your own response. It’s about just listening. Continue reading Dammit, I heard you! Stop shouting!
When I was in college I met a guy who had so much energy, he had to have been on drugs. I mean, the only other people I’ve ever seen with that much energy are under the age of five. When I first met him, with a bit of shell shock, I asked him, “No, seriously, dude. What are you on?” His response, “I’M HIGH ON LIFE.” (Pretty much everything he said was in all caps.)
Over the years, I’ve thought back to that guy and his energy, and envied. How? How do people get like that? There aren’t many, but the number is more than zero. Or those moms. You know who I mean: they work overtime at a full time job, make dinner every night for three kids and a husband and still have enough in their day to write the Great American Romance Novel. HOW??? (And no, skipping sleep is not the answer. As someone who has had insomnia, this I know.) Continue reading More Energy, More Time
I suppose that’s a rather ridiculous title, considering that we’re here, on my blog, reading what I just wrote. What I mean is that part of my mental health regimen is to make sure I write every day, but see, I am a creature of habit, specifically, of routine. I heart routine! When I have my time scheduled out, I know what’s coming, I know how to prepare. I actually will think on things and anticipate for hours before I know something is coming up.
For example, I usually have an idea of the concept for each blog entry mapped out long before I sit down at a keyboard. Usually. Then there are times like the last few weeks. Continue reading I’ve stopped writing
Lately when people have asked me how things are going, I just blink and don’t know how to respond. There’s so much! Where to start?
Chronologically, the first bit of news is that I’m taking a “business of writing” class through the RWA (Romance Writers of America). I’ve been a member just over a year, and I’ve been taking little email classes from them this whole time: How to develop better characters, how to build better worlds, how to plot a series. I went through my files the other day, and I think I’ve taken about 6 classes. Membership worth it, right there. I have learned so much! Continue reading All Things Shiny and New
Disclaimer: This one is about marriage. If you’re going through a divorce right now, please don’t read for two years. Come back next week. <3
The other day, I got a phone call from my husband, because he found worms in his ice cream.
So, I was married once before to a great guy, but it just didn’t work out– let’s just say there were complications that both of us were too young to know how to deal with. The whole situation left me a little gunshy. Honestly, for about seven years I was convinced I’d never get married again; live with a guy, sure, but that marriage thing was Right Out. I guess that changed at some point. Probably around the time Honey proposed (for the third time.)
Anyway, being gunshy, I kept waiting for the Other Shoe to drop. When was he going to show his True Colors? When was I? And then I read an interview with Jeff Bridges about marriage advice. (Did you know he’s been married to the same woman for over 30 years??? In Hollywood, that’s a friggin’ miracle!) Basically, his advice is to keep the lines of communication wide open and to love each other. I thought about it: I have grown a LOT since my first marriage, and communication was at the top of the list: I try to be as clear as possible in my needs and expectations. There’s very little, “Whatever you want, dear” anymore, unless I really don’t care what he chooses.
“But is that really enough?” I asked myself. A lot. What if … What if we’re still not compatible? What if he changes his mind? What if….
And then I read another article with signs that your marriage is going well. And, like, we do all of them: communicate, check in, listen to each other’s stupid shit, and making sure the other feels heard. But what surprised me was that one of the biggest significators was giving the partner attention, regardless of whether you’re interested. You don’t have to do it all the time, but doing it more often than not is really healthy for the relationship.
You know, every night when we walk the dogs, I tell Honey everything that happened to me that day, sometimes in really ridiculous detail. We call it my Daily Download. It’s not that he doesn’t care, per se, it’s just not his life, but I need to know someone cares about the little ups and downs. And then Honey tells me a little bit about his day, and a whole lot about the latest game he’s playing: what the rules are, how it’s different from other games, and what the gaming community thinks of this. I know oh, so very little about games (but I am learning!), so it doesn’t always mean so much to me, but it makes him so happy to tell me, to work through it. It’s his version of a Daily Download, and as such, it is sacred.
It’s kind of like having a cat. Cats bring their hoomans presents, and from what I understand, often those presents are in the form of Dead Things. I think the logic is something akin to, “You poor hooman! You do not pounce or chase or hunt. Here is something I hunted. You can practice with it until you can hunt live ones for yourself.” It’s nice, because they’re thinking of you. It’s less than nice, because OMG! You put it in my new SHOE? Where’s the disinfectant?!!!
So, two weeks ago, Honey and I were getting ice cream from our ice cream shoppe right across the street. (Are we lucky or WHAT?) I ordered myself some hot fudge with a little ice cream on top, and he got his usual berry thing. As we were sitting down to wait for our orders to come up, he suddenly shouted, “Wait! They have worms and dirt here? I want that!” It was a little weird actually, until he pointed to the poster of cookies ‘n’ cream ice cream with gummy worms on top.
“You want worms and dirt?”
“No, just the gummy worms on the berry thing. Wouldn’t that be AWESOME?”
And that was that.
So this other day, I was hanging out with friends on a really hot day, and of course we ended up at the ice cream shoppe. Honey had to work, even though it was a Saturday, so I brought him home a berry thing with gummy worms on top. By the time I got home it was getting pretty soupy, so I popped it into the freezer before heading out to my next appointment. On the road, I got a call from him. The conversation went like this:
“THERE ARE WORMS ON MY ICE CREAM!!!!”
“Didn’t you want them?”
“I LOVE YOU! Okaygottaworknowbye.”
That listening thing. It works. Way better than Dead Things In Shoes.
Okay y’all. I’ll be talking a little bit about religion– and it probably won’t be from your perspective. If this offends you, leave now.
Lately I have been having a wonderful discussion with my dear friend, Sunshyne. She is a devout Christian, and a wonderful example of walking the walk. It truly is an honor to have her in my circle, not only because of the integrity with which she carries herself, but also because she is so open with me about topics that people usually get so… defensive about. So over the last two weeks or so, the conversation has drifted to religion.
Tangent: If you know me at all, you know that I was raised Jewish and currently practice Other. I think the name Jewitch– cleverly introduced to me by Arcana– sums it up nicely. In short, Sunshyne and I have fairly different approaches to deity. Continue reading On Practicing the Mitzvoth
There are some things that are just forever attached to certain people. Peanut butter cookies, for example, will always remind me of my grandmother. She made other kinds of cookies– as did many other people, but as a child I only ever had peanut butter cookies with her. Years after she passed, I discovered her recipe for those cookies, and they still taste like I remember.
A lot of my friends have heard stories about my grandpa, Pop. When I lived in West Virginia, I was living with him, at first as a roommate and later as a caretaker, as his dementia got worse. I had no medical training, nor any experience in any kind of care-taking, other than helping a friend with her almost-two-year-old for a couple of months. It was a difficult situation, and I coped as best I could, mostly with humor and venting. While I was helping him, I lovingly referred to him as the Mad Cow, partly out of frustration and partly out of desperation. He lived another six months after I moved back to Los Angeles. Continue reading Whatcha Got Cookin’
Now that I have FINALLY made bread that works for me– both in terms of safe ingredients and flavor– I feel like all of my baking has taken a turn for the better. I cannot post the bread recipe here, because it’s not mine, but if you’re interested, you can find out how to get it from Gluten Free Girl. BUT! It’s kind of awesome in that it’s REALLY easy to make and requires less than half the time needed to make traditional bread. So that’s cool.
Anyway, the confidence is back! Mostly because I have discovered The Big Secret to GF baking: Continue reading My, oh my! Cherry pie!