Tuesday, February 21, 2017

It's not about being political. It's about being human.


"I am angry," I said on Saturday as we were driving through Somers Point. MFD was shoving Goldfish crackers in his mouth in the passenger seat. I glanced over, not sure if he heard me. Just as I was about to freak out and accuse him of not listening to me, he turned the radio down and said cautiously, "Well, it's good that you recognize that. What are you angry about?"

Let us begin. 

Words have been hard for me. I'm grasping. Distracted. Skimming the surface and lacking in personality in this space. I sit down to type things out and my brain just won't articulate. My friend Heather wrote a post about blogging in post-election America Friday. It wasn't until I read it from a writer I respect that I realized that was it. Heather's subjects are more serious and her writing more eloquent than mine, but it felt good to see something I've internalized. YES, my spirit said. I see my reflection there.

What the hell does my weekend recipe matter when I find myself sitting in a room with a small group of people on a beautiful Saturday morning listening to two Muslim women field questions about their faith and culture?

I went to a Meet a Muslim event Saturday to be a friendly face. Sitting in that chair, I felt anything but friendly. I wanted to stand up and scream STOP. STOP DEFENDING YOUR WAY OF LIFE AND YOUR RELIGION BECAUSE YOU'VE DONE NOTHING WRONG.

I didn't want to scream AT these women speaking, of course. These women were intelligent, coming from a place of yes, and a little out of their comfort zones. They don't do this for a living. They were just there as people, talking to other people. I kept thinking how brave as they fielded questions. Imagine you, a Christian for argument's sake, standing up and attempting to answer questions on behalf of ALL Christians. Impossible. There are so many different types of Christians, and levels of belief within those different sects, and some individual and larger groups of Christians who have done really awful things, so you certainly don't want to speak on their behalf. I mean, the Nazis were pretty staunchly Christian, and the KKK is still loudly and proudly Christian. The quite Christian pro-birth movement has set fires to women's health centers, murdered doctors, and gunned down clinic workers. All acts of terror for sure, committed in the name of religion. Do we want to define other Christians by those people? Hell no! Swap out Christianity and Islam and the answer is hell yes.

The very fact that this type of meeting, an attempt to reassure us and educate us, is even happening is what boils my blood. This is where we are as a society? We treat crimes by white Christians as one off, out of the ordinary, the exception to every rule, something a mentally unstable person did. We don't assign violence as an aspect of their culture, religion, or race as indicative of a larger problem that the rest of us should be afraid of. And we won't even admit that we frame them differently.

So no. I don't want these women to have to spend Saturdays answering questions about being a Muslim and I don't want to write about this because it is common sense. I want ALL of us to spend our time living as human beings, not worrying about other asshole human beings.

This is beyond politics. We can talk all day about politicians and how they behave and what they do. But when they point to a group of people and tell us to fear them and we do that? That's on us. That is on every single one of us. That is being complicit or not being complicit in the persecution of others. And we've seen what has happened at the other end of that many times throughout history, haven't we? When people were largely accepting of things that might have been legal at the time but were absolutely morally wrong? Do we want to be people who were blindly led to fear others and acquiesced?

I don't. I won't. Put me on the fucking watchlist. You can drag me kicking and screaming away along with them.

Please don't think this is not happening. There is a Muslim Watchlist. Bank accounts are being frozen. People at airports and borders are being questions about their religious and political beliefs and asked to hand over their social media handles and cell phone pass codes. For no other reason aside from being Muslim.

We have a chance to change the outcome. We do not have to watch people be subject to crazy bullshit or be taken away in the night. We must be good neighbors who stand up for one another even if that person looks different or worships differently.

I would venture to guess most people grouping the over 1.6 billion Muslims in this world together as a group of people worthy of suspicion have probably not met or spoken to many Muslims...that they know of. If they have, they somehow convince themselves that the Muslims they know personally are okay, but the others out there...questionable.

I listened to these women Saturday speak about feminism in Islam, how LGBTQ people are treated, the work Mosques are doing in communities, what it means to wear hijab or not wear hijab, what this much talked about sharia law is, struggles within the community, etc., and thought if I substituted some words I could be listening to women talking about their experiences in Christianity or Judaism.

I wish there was some way we could have rotating weekly dinner parties with people who are different from us. When you put faces to these people, it is a lot harder to be okay with being hateful and fearful of something you don't know much about. They probably hate when people drive slow in the left and when people let their kids run around nice restaurants like assholes too. And I bet a lot of them cry at This is Us.

We are so much more alike than we are different. Peel the top layer off and there we are, all bleeding.


Monday, February 20, 2017

TWTW - the one that felt like spring in February

Walking past a man singing Damn it Feels Good to Be a Gangsta is a perfect way to leave the workweek behind on Friday. I did virtually nothing that night except finish this fucked up book and get a massage at 9 pm. I also got the sketch for the tattoo I'm getting to cover up the one currently on my back, and I loved it.
Saturday morning MFD and I went to a Meet a Muslim Neighbor gathering. More on that tomorrow. Sorry because if you're on IG you might have already seen this photo there and I rarely double up.  
Then we threw the dogs in the car and drove to the shore to take in the salt cure. 
We also checked in on the house to make sure all was well and to remind ourselves of all the work that is coming our way in a few weeks. 
We were back home by 5 and lounged the night away. The dogs were absolutely exhausted after their beach run. I started a new book and watched a Golden Girls marathon. The best thing about doing that is singing the theme song every half hour. Thank you for being a friendddd
Sunday morning started with unfortunately weak coffee that had to be tossed. I did the changing of the sheets and the other hausfrauing bullshit required not to be a dirtbag. Then I met up with a small progressive group in my area at Panera before sitting outside with the dogs to enjoy the 70 degree weather on February 19. It's nice and all but climate change, man.
Weekly food prep was light this week: scrambled eggs with spinach and cheese for breakfast; snacks are power breakfast muffins, granny smith apples, and cucumbers; lunches are baked pesto chicken over brown rice; and dinners will be spaghetti with simple sauce and salmon with steamed veggies. 
Sunday afternoon we went to Catie & Joe's engagement party to celebrate their upcoming nuptials where I ate a shit ton of sugar, shared many laughs with friends, and took zero photos. 


And in the spirit of President's Day...
That about does it for me. How was yours? What is your favorite thing you did? 




Linking up with Biana at B Loved Boston for Weekending


Friday, February 17, 2017

Grounds for Sculpture


I've lived in this area my whole life, and I've taken NJ Transit to NYC from the Hamilton Station many times, seeing the giant sculptures on the way in and vowing to visit their home, Grounds for Sculpture. And I never did in all of these years, until Debbie and I went this past Saturday.

It was awesome. I am not one to wander museums and mull over paintings and I truly loved our time here. Given that I loved The Clay Studio in Philly too, I think I'm a little more for the 3D.

On Saturday we got there around 10:15 in the morning, lingered over lunch on the grounds, and were still on our way home by 2:15. We both said we'd go back and just hang out on the grounds on a nicer day. There are two cafes and a restaurant for sustenance.

We started inside in the gallery attached to the Welcome Center. There were three buildings open, but most of our time was spent outside.
Inside was nice and all, but my favorite was outside. The grounds themselves are like something out of a storybook.
My favorite were the huge sculptures.
But I liked the smaller ones too.
I think what I liked best was tromping around outside just happening upon things. It felt a lot like being in a Choose Your Own Adventure book.
Lunch at Rat's Restaurant on the grounds was very good and relaxing, as was the walk up to it. It's accessible whether you're visiting the Grounds or not. If you go, make a reservation.
Admission was $10 per adult - I bought tickets online before. They're timed entry. They're open Tuesday through Sunday (special opening this Monday for President's Day) from 10-6.

If you're close, go! It was great to be outside walking around, we got our workout in for the day. Debbie even more so as she had to run back to retrieve her purse from the cafe, which we laughed about for an eternity. Perfect place to visit with a friend, a spouse, hell, the whole family.

Have a great weekend! Hey, it's going to be 60 in the Philly area...perfect weather to visit Grounds for Sculpture.


Thursday, February 16, 2017

Thursday Thoughts - you better put your kingdom up for sale

1. Made up existential crisis of the week: what if I had to choose between these albums and could never hear songs from the other again, as long as I live?
2. Nails: Essie Warm & Toasty Turtleneck, one of my favorites. I got them done this week to clean up my cuticles. I hate getting my nails done by someone else but try to do it once every two months for a clean up. As they were drying, someone walked in and asked me if we do eyebrow waxes. I was like well I don't work here but they do wax eyebrows. All of the girls in the salon loved it. 
3. How you know your husband is home from his trip even if you don't see him. 

4. Anyone interested? My friend Mrs. Tiff Dee is selling these through her KEEP Collective biz. She's raised $210 so far for the ACLU by donating her commission on every bar. If you want her info, let me know. They're custom so they're not on her site. 

5. This is the political portion of Thursday Thoughts. I could write a blog post on this shit daily but I'm not going to do that. So it lives here, every week, in one or two or three points. It's time for trump to release the tax returns he promised to release. We already know he doesn't pay taxes, that's not what's hiding. If there's nothing in there that will harm the country, it seems like a no brainer to me - it would go very far to quell the fears of people about foreign influence and interference in this administration and stop some of this shitslide. Then you have the elected officials who voted against forcing him to release them...what are THEY hiding? Why was it important for all other presidents to release their taxes BEFORE taking office, but now that this guy is in there, it suddenly doesn't matter and is an invasion of privacy? Newsflash: if you run for president, you know you're going to have to release your taxes. Why the fuck are we still chasing these down? Call your rep today and demand they support a push to release them and for a full investigation of the administration's foreign ties. Find your rep in the House here and in the Senate here. Should foreign interference not merit the same exhaustive investigation a blow job did back in the 1990s? Anyone remember that? As for his response...First, it's nonsense, not non-sense; second, I do believe this twitter account is unsecured. Hillary who? You're the president now. This is all on you. The only people talking about Hillary still are you and your cult members. But her emaaaaaaaaaiiiiiiiiiillllllllllllsssssssss. Sorry, it was three members of YOUR campaign that  resigned due to foreign ties during the election. Not three members of your opponent's. Get it together. 
6. Have you ever seen Red Dawn? Wolverines.

7. Now we all know every damn month is black history month and women's history month, but to play along in the designated BHM...Sometimes people say that slavery was so long ago and black people need to get over it and we're equal now and and stop with the black lives matter shit. Then you read something like this, where black women of above average intelligence were being sterilized without their permission - in 1961 in Fannie Lou Hamer's case. That's less than 60 years ago. Less than 60 years ago. We have not come that far. Can we stop pretending the playing field is level just because it looks even where we're walking? The opportunities, by and large, have not been the same. The treatment has not been the same. It takes nothing to admit that and to work hard within yourself to do your part to change that.
8. I have unfounded and irrational anger at egg whites. Like when I see them in a recipe I feel stabby. Same with egg white omelets. No thanks. Is there a support group for this?

9. Reminder:

10. E-card of the week:


Made in America, 

Linking up with Kristin & Joey and 


Stuff, Things, etc.



Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Fun guy casserole


Over the years I've saved recipes passed on to me from various sources, like other people's family members. In this case, my friend Jenn's grandfather's mushroom casserole. Which I call Fun Guy casserole. Funghi. Fun guy. Get it? I'd never make it on Last Comic Standing.

One of the ways I use this blog is as a repository for those recipes. I sometimes adapt them, to make it smaller like I did here. If you want to do this in a 13x9, check out the original recipe on the bottom.

Ingredients
3 lb fresh mushrooms, roughly chopped and cleaned (I used 1.5 lb crimini & 1.5 lb white)
3/4 cup Italian bread crumbs
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
2 TBS olive oil
1 TBS garlic powder
1/2 cup water from cooked mushrooms

Ingredient/amounts from Jenn's Grandfather's original recipe - directions are the same)
5 lb fresh mushrooms, roughly chopped and cleaned; 1C Italian bread crumbs; 3/4C grated cheese; 4TBS olive oil; 2-3 cloves garlic; 1C water from cooked mushrooms. Bake in 13x9 instead of pie dish

Directions
Preheat oven to 350.

Put mushrooms in large stockpot with water. Boil 10 minutes. Reserve 1C water and drain the rest. Let the mushrooms cool. When cool, add rest of ingredients and mix well. Place in a greased baking dish and bake for 45 min or until crispy.

Quick, easy, fun guy way to a variation on the veggie side.
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