Monthly Archives: October 2011

Pumpkin seeds are NOT like Sunflower seeds..or they might be

Pumpkin seeds are pretty tasty when toasted to perfection. My husband would disagree. This tradition of mine has not carried over well to the “us” of our post-vow holidays. This is our second Halloween married. Last year the kids and I skipped the whole pumpkin thing. I’m not sure why, I don’t remember very much of anything well. I’m guessing I was too busy and tired from working full time for my regular job, and working part time for the church. (which really is like working 2 full time jobs since working part time for the church counts for more hours because then you’re all “doing more than you should” like “what would Jesus do”). But this year, Momma only has ONE job! Well, plus I’m Momma..which is like..it’s very own job/blog topic. But today I won’t go there.  So this year we bought pumpkins. My son and I gutted them which is WAY more fun than the actual carving process. Carving =  frustration +  a very sharp knife held by a frustrated clumsy Mom. Not a good combo.  After the seeds were collected and rinsed, it was time to lay them out to dry. A few hours later we come back, gather them all into a bowl and start the seasoning process. My son wanted to add hot sauce (he read my mind), but then we remembered my husband doesn’t like hot things. Except for me, of course. So we just had to use regular boring spices. After toasting them in the oven, we pulled them out for a taste test. I was excited to share this tradition with my husband so I called him into the kitchen. This was probably not a good idea since he was watching football and coming into the kitchen made him already not like whatever it was that I was calling him into the kitchen for. So anyway, he sits down and I pick out a couple of really good looking seeds and wait expectantly while he pops them in his mouth. Then, I kid you not, he SPITS OUT THE SHELL CASING.

 Me: “Umm, WHAT are you doing?? You are ruining the experience here!”

Him: “Aren’t you supposed to shell it?”

Me: “NO, you are NOT”

Him: “Are you sure?”

Me: “Some people do, but most just eat the whole thing, it’s good for you!”

Him:  eyeing the next one in his hand “Are you sure?”

Me: “yes, just try it..eat the whole thing”

 So then he tries it..but apparently his tongue overruled his brain and spit the casing out. I was frustrated with his stubbornness.

 Me: rolling my eyes “really? You’re just going to keep spitting it out like that?”

Him: “Isn’t it just like sunflower seeds? You peel those when you eat them”

Me: (thinking…umm..I don’t peel sunflower seeds. I eat the shell and all. It’s tasty and crunchy..but then he’ll  question my judgment with the pumpkin seeds) “uhh…yeah..but you don’t peel a pumpkin seed, it has fiber..it’s good for you”

Him: “Well, that’s weird”

Me: “YOU’RE weird”

Him: “I’m going back to watch the game.”

Me: “Fine, more for me”

 At least the kids and I like them. Though now I’m really wondering about this whole “shelling” thing. Are we supposed to be shelling it? Because that’s a lot of work and the whole experience would be a wash. At least now I know next year we can put the hot sauce on them.

Are Christians embracing the LGBT community?

I agree with most of what this article says..though for a full ACCEPTANCE of LGBT to happen from the Christian community is quite different. Agreeing that a person who is LGBT is still a person (of course they are) or that they need protection from bullying (again, of course they do) goes without saying. Even loving them as children of God I would dare say ALL of Christians should hold this bibilical stance. Where the line is drawn for most is the acceptance part. There is a difference between “I’ll love and embrace you and oh, here’s a pamphlet on how to pray away the gay” and full acceptance. Of course that’s where you get the different interpretations of different bible verses. But for the most part..a good article. Just don’t be led into thinking the LGBT community has yet gained full acceptance from the church for who they are, who God created them to be.  Go read it. 🙂

Homosexual play, Twilight Zone and Jesus

“Students at a public high school in Hartford, Connecticut, recently walked out of a controversial play that was welcomed by school officials who feel students need more exposure to homosexuality to address the issue of bullying. The production titled Zanna, Don’t! depicts an alternate universe set in Heartsville, U.S.A. where homosexuality is the norm and heterosexuals are “outcasts” who are forced to keep their relationships hidden.”  One scene in particular disturbed the audience and sent many climbing over chairs and screaming in an effort to leave the building. It was asked to be removed from the play beforehand but the Principal, Adam Johnson, decided to leave it in and just warn the  students about it. The scene in question shows two male actors embraced in a passionate kiss. The premise behind the play reminds me of an episode of Twilight Zone (“Eye of the Beholder”) In that episode, a woman is thought to be hideous by the pig-faced society around her. When she is actually quite beautiful . Similar to Ayla’s struggle in Jean M. Auel’s Clan of the Cave Bear. Where the play went wrong, however, was the passionate kissing scene. I don’t see that as being acceptable in any high school, even if the two kissing were heterosexuals. It appears that Principal Johnson pushed it a bit too far. Maybe he did have the best intentions in his attempts to knock out their problem with homosexuals being bullied. Unfortunately, it fell on deaf (deaf = screaming/ running) ears. Is bullying a problem? ABSOLUTELY. Regardless of the subject. Should it be dealt with? ABSOLUTELY.  I appreciate Johnson’s efforts but I wish he had thought it out a bit more carefully. But, just as the homosexual community shouldn’t be forced to live their lives in a way that someone else believes is correct..so should they also allow those who do not agree, to live their lives. Let me be clear, there is an enormous difference between simply preferring/believing in another way of life (heterosexual Christians, for example) and displaying hate and contempt for those that choose to be different (unfortunately this sometimes also includes heterosexual Christians).  

 There is a story in the bible of a Samaritan woman at a well (John 4). Jesus has been traveling and is tired and thirsty when he comes upon her. In doing so, he breaks several Jewish customs. 1. He speaks to a woman. 2. She is Samaritan, a group the Jews traditionally despised. 3. He asks her for a drink of water, which makes him “unclean” from using her cup or jar. Jesus then talks with her about her previous husbands and that the man she is currently living with is NOT her husband. When the woman says that the “Messiah” is coming, Jesus answers that it is him. At this, the disciples come on the scene. They are shocked to see what Jesus is doing. The woman then returns to her town and invites the people to come see Jesus. The Samaritans come to the well and beg Jesus to stay with them and teach them. So He does.  

 Knowing she was socially unacceptable, Jesus still treated her with respect. He didn’t come up to her with a picket sign proclaiming “I hate whores” or “Samaritans Suck and are going to Hell”. He asked her for a drink of water, which she gave him. He spoke with her gently, not perspiration inducing/fist pumping holy rhetoric. He didn’t force his views on her, nor did he force his way to her town to “tell all the sinners how to get right with God”.  They invited him into their village, eagerly. It’s hard for us now to understand how strong the hatred was that Jews had for Samaritans. Samaritans were a mixed race people (intermarrying with Assyrians centuries before). They were hated for this, and for having their own version of the bible and their own temple. The woman at the well was even shunned by her own people. Evidenced by her act of drawing water at the hottest part of the day, instead of the usual morning or evening times. She was rejected because of her own immorality (several divorces, living with someone who was not her husband). So here is Jesus, not only speaking to a Samaritan..but a woman that even the Samaritans shunned. She would have been considered by the Jews as “the lowest of the low”. And not only speaking to her..but drinking from her cup.

 The bottom line is this: Do not force someone to live according to your beliefs, whichever side of the fence you live on. Whether that is making a play containing a scene with 2 males kissing passionately a mandatory event, or displaying hate and anger to those who are marching in a Pride parade. Those for homosexuality, let it be a choice for those who are not. ..and for those against it…if you want to act out of anger and hate in the name of Jesus, you really need to check your resources. If you want to draw lines in the sand and refuse to associate with those living outside of your beliefs in the name of Jesus legalism, check your resources. I will leave with the frighteningly fearful and small minded words of “Leader” from “Eye of the Beholder”. Words that, although sometimes tweaked, are heard too often from the pulpit…

 Leader: We know now that there must be a single purpose! A single norm! A single approach! A single entity of peoples! A single virtue! A single morality! A single frame of reference! A single philosophy of government! We must cut out all that is different like a cancerous growth! It is essential in this society that we not only have a norm, but that we conform to that norm! Differences weaken us! Variations destroy us! An incredible permissiveness to deviation from this norm is what has ended nations and brought them to their knees! Conformity we must worship and hold sacred! Conformity is the key to survival!

Dark Truth by Mariah Stewart

Well as mentioned before, I occasionally take breaks from my non-fiction reading list. Breaks from being made to think about anything, and just a few hours to escape into some easy reading. This Sunday afternoon was the perfect opportunity to do just that. A trip to a garage sale a few weeks back netted me a stack of easy reading books for $0.25 each. So, at the top of the stack was Dark Truth by Mariah Stewart.

 Our heroine is Nina Madden, whose life was completed jacked up when her father was convicted of being the “Stone River Rapist” (and killer, I think he should be called the “Stone River Killer”..it packs a bit more punch I think). To escape the stank eye from the townsfolk she leaves her step-mother (her mother died when she was young) and moves away. Nina spends many years ignoring her jailed father, trying to forget that part of her life. Dad ends up getting an appeal but dies in a car wreck on the way to the courthouse. Fast forward a few years and the step-mom has now died. So 20 years after she left Stone River, Nina finds herself returning for her step-mother’s funeral. I’m not sure why she returned for it, she didn’t even like the woman. I have a hard enough time going to the funerals of people I like. She is presented with new evidence in the form of letters left by her father addressed to her and her step-mom. Letters stating his innocence. “You see, baby girl..I did sex those women up..I had a problem. But I did not kill them” <– paraphrase.  He was a college professor at the time of his arrest and had been having affairs with many of his students. It was those same students who were targeted by the killer. So now we wonder..did he or didn’t he kill them? He had sex with all of them the same night they died. The original trial appears to have been a witch-hunt, grabbing onto the most logical suspect and nailing him to the stake. Until…(enter foreboding music) another college student turns up dead. Left in the exact position as the victims in the original killings. Details that were not released to the press. Leading the investigation is a hottie cop (of course) by the name of Wes Powell. Why are all the lead investigators and the heroines attractive? I want a book with some ugly people with hairy moles. Where they aren’t led to get it on by the adrenaline of a good murderer on the loose. Spoiler – it doesn’t say they actually “get it on” but it is implied it will happen in the near future. I won’t tell you anymore from here though..go read the book.

This is the first book of hers that I have read, so I was a bit skeptical going in. While I’m sure extensively researched (as all good writers do), it seemed to lack a certain polishing. A few chapters seemed predictable, characters falling into place a bit too easily. If this had been a movie we would have heard the foreboding background score too many times when a character’s name was mentioned, or they came onto the scene. However, in light of that it was still the easy read I was aiming for. I read it through to the end because my curiousity was piqued.  Though for a 324 page book to have the principle mystery explained on exactly 3 pages (293-295)  wraps it up a bit too cleanly for my tastes. I guess, for all of the foreplay I wanted more meat at the end. It felt like Mrs. Stewart spent considerable time developing characters and chasing leads only to leave me saying “that’s it?” at the end. Though I do give her a shout-out for leaving an opening about one of the character’s family ties. In the end, I have no regrets. For 3 hours Mrs. Stewart wove me a tale of deception, sex, unforgiveness and redemption. I met some interesting characters; rooted for a few and didn’t like several. I’m enough on the fence regarding the author to pick up another of her novels and give it a shot. Good thing there was another at the garage sale… 🙂 Maybe next Sunday afternoon.

NEVER read what will make you look good if you die in the middle of it

“Always read something that will make you look good if you die in the middle of it. ~P.J. O’Rourke”

With all due respect to Mr. O’Rourke….umm..no.

 I love to read and encourage everyone to read what makes you feel (happy/sad/angry/scared), read what challenges your beliefs and what pushes the boundaries of your imagination. If I have the misfortune of becoming deceased in the middle of a book (I say misfortune because while reading is the best way to go I would much rather have just finished the last page than still be in the middle) I would like to think I would not give a flying flip what anyone thought of my chosen material. There will probably be lots better things going on at the moment. You know, streets of gold and all. “Oh,” but you say..”what about the legacy you are leaving behind? What about your loved ones who have found your body hunched over a rather embarrassing copy of a pre-teen vampire romance thriller?” Again, who cares? You are dead. And I doubt those that have known you all of your life will be swayed in their opinions of you because of your final choice in reading material.

When my children were first learning to read I encouraged them to read what they were interested in. That meant a lot of different books for my daughter as she explored different subjects, and a lot of dinosaurs and Jacques Cousteau for my son who loved exploration.  For myself, I go by the 90/10 rule. 90% of what I read is what I know I will like. And the other 10% are books that I try out. Either a genre I’m not typically attracted to or a subject I’ve never explored before. Sometimes I am surprised, other times I don’t go past the 3rd chapter. But at least I’ve reached past my comfort level. If I only read books that would impress someone upon the event of my death..my literary history would be severely lacking. For what impresses one person, may not impress the one standing next to him. Okay, so only read award-winning books, only read New York Time’s Bestsellers..only read “Oprah’s choice” books..(please don’t). How about…”Never read something only because it will make you look good if you die in the middle of it” .

 Read what you love, read what you hate. Read authors who agree with your political/sociological/religious beliefs, read those that adamantly do not agree. Read the books that are easy to read, providing you a brief respite into another realm. Read the books that are hard to read, and take a bit longer to get through. Challenge yourself. But please, do not care what anyone will think if you die in the middle of whatever it is you have chosen.

 If I were to die today I would be caught 2/3 of the way through The Autobiography of Charles Darwin on my Kindle (to the shock, I’m sure of my pastor. What is a Sunday School teacher doing reading Darwin?), 3/4 of the way through the “Reader’s Digest” I keep on the back of my toilet and at the beginning of The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks on my nightstand. And this weekend I am certain to pick up another novel, an easy-reading non-fiction whatever..probably a crime thriller. Because sometimes my mind needs a break from the seriousness of Darwin’s mental struggles and in-depth research. Sometimes I need a break from the HeLa cells. Sometimes I want to read just to relax and let my mind drift into another world. Even if I am not challenged at the time by anything. Any of these 4 bits of reading material would be judged quite differently if they were in my hands the moment I passed (please Lord, don’t let it be the “Reader’s Digest” for that would mean my passing would occur on the toilet).  Feel free to judge me. 🙂

Tattoo Barbie, Bastardino & My Dad’s Tat

“Sticker Tattoo” Barbie outrages parents

Oh come on, this is a surprise? Haven’t girls been putting stickers on Barbie (as tattoos) for ages? When I was young I wasn’t really into Barbie as much as I was “My Little Pony”.  They didn’t have a boy pony so I took the blue girl one and cut her hair really short so they could have weddings and dates and he/she could do guy stuff. Creating my own lesbian/transsexual pony is possibly more disturbing than a “tramp stamp” tattoo on Barbie’s back. Just saying…kids use their imaginations regardless of what the original product looks like. Maybe a permanently tattooed Barbie is a good idea. Instead of a sticker they can pull off..the kid is stuck with that on her back forever. Or until she/he gets tired of playing with Barbies. It is a more realistic example of inking yourself. Hey kids, real tattoos don’t just peel off at the end of the day…you’re stuck with it forever. Or until you can think of something slightly larger/darker to cover it up with. That’s what I want to see next…a Ken doll with a “I love Barbie” tattoo sloppily covered/corrected to say “I love Isabel” sloppily covered as a giant black rose. THAT would teach the kiddos. (shout out to my Dad who has the aforementioned black rose covering a woman’s name)

Permanently tattooed Barbies: 

 Harley Davidson Ken

Jacob (Twilight) Ken. Wasn’t the real Jacob about 3 shades darker than this? Come on, Mattel.

Amazonia Barbie – wow that’s a lot of tats. Umm..I’m pretty sure the “Tribal Amazonian Women” aren’t white skinned. I’m seeing a trend here.

Hard Rock Café Barbie

 Hard Rock Café #2 Barbie

Tokidoki Barbie 🙂 with cactus friend Bastardino…wow. Really? “Bastardino”? I don’t even know what to say to that. This is quite possibly the cutest Barbie I have ever seen..too bad her pet’s legitimacy is in question. Oh wait..it’s ok. He’s Italian  and, unfortunately, out of stock

but…it’s for the cancer people

E: I want one of those bracelets

Me: Which bracelets?

E: The ones that help out people with cancer

Me: Be more specific, please

E: You know, the ones that help people with cancer..and they’re pink

Me: You want a pink bracelet?

E: Yeah, it’s ok ‘cause it’s for the cancer people

Me: You are asking for the “I love boobies” bracelet? Are you kidding?

E: Yeah! That one!

Me: No

E: Why not? It helps people with cancer, don’t you want to help them?

Me: Yes, but not by letting my 3rd grader go to school with a bracelet that says “I love boobies”. It’s against school rules anyway.

E: Everyone has them, the school is okay with it

Me: Well, I’m not okay with it

E: Mom, I have to have one..like..ALL my friends have one

Me: Absolutely not. You are 8. Do you even know what boobies are?

E: I think so..and besides..it helps people with cancer

Me: Well, I think it is good to help people with cancer, but I’m not about to start sporting the “I love penises” bracelet

E: ew

Me: exactly

E: so…you’re saying I can’t get one? Pleeeaaassseeee…..

Me: I’m ignoring you now (turns up the radio)