50 Things You’ve (Probably) Never Been Asked

Hat tip to Martina for the writing prompt. 🙂


1. What is the color of your toothbrush?

It’s black & red, but I need a replacement soon. Stay tuned.

2. Name one person who made you smile today:

Bryn, who said she was sending me birthday presents in the mail (my birthday was 10 September). I love mail.

3. What were you doing at 8 a.m.?

Talking to my sister on the phone. Sometimes we talk during her commute.

4. What were you doing 45 minutes ago?

Drinking coffee with cinnamon & soy milk and talking to my new housemate. I’d tell you all about the conversation, but it wasn’t that interesting. If it had been, this entire entry would be about it instead.

5. What is your favorite candy bar?

I’m not really a candy bar person, although I do like Zero. Right now I am all about licorice allsorts. I ordered the original from Geo. Bassett & Co., Ltd. for my birthday and I just sat there and ate them until I felt fat…. and then I ate some more.

6. Have you ever been to a strip club?

Several, but it’s not a turn-on. I have to love the person to be attracted to them. There was a strip club across the street from my apartment in Portland that I used to go to for a drink occasionally, because it was within walking distance of my house. But I didn’t sit where you could see the women. There was a closed off bar section that was really fancy and the bottles were back-lit with neon. I didn’t even know something that cool existed in my neighborhood, and to this day I’m not sure why I went in the first place. I’m sure it was originally someone else’s idea and I just went with it, but I went back because it was a cool place to hang and no driving afterwards.

There is also a famous vegan strip club in Portland that I went to for another lesbian’s birthday party. I ended up sitting outside for most of it, but honest to God I loved the food, particularly the sloppy joes and mac & cheese. The part of the show that I saw, I liked, though. It wasn’t just women looking bored and dancing to music, it was acrobatics that defied the laws of physics, like Cirque Du Soleil but naked. Not only that, there were no French existentialist clowns. For that reason alone, 10/10. Highly recommend.

7. What is the last thing you said aloud?

I can’t remember exactly, but I was trying to get out of the conversation with my roommate so I could go back upstairs and enjoy my coffee quietly.

8. What is your favorite ice cream?

Every flavor I try is my new favorite, but I have a special spot in my heart for the banana/vanilla swirl soft-serve at Florian Fortescue’s in the Wizarding World of Harry Potter. My dad, sister, and I got different flavors to try, and I think that was the winner out of all of them. Now that I’ve been eating a lot of plant-based frozen stuff, I like “ice cream” made out of almond milk that has almonds in it….. really ties the dessert together.

9. What was the last thing you had to drink?

Coffee…. are you even paying attention?

10. Do you like your wallet?

I love it, and I haven’t seen one like it, so if I find one, I need to buy it because this one will wear out. It has a clear pocket on the front that I’m sure was originally for an ID, but I put my Metro card in it so I don’t have to take it out to swipe. The only thing I don’t like about my wallet, and this is a small gripe, is that it has a money clip on the outside that makes it uncomfortable to put in my back pocket.

11. What was the last thing you ate?

Extra, extra Hot Tamales.

12. Have you bought any new clothing items this week?

Does a new clear protector for my Apple watch count?

13. The last sporting event you watched?

Franklin, one of my housemates, is a rabid soccer fan, so I watched a game for a few minutes with him, but I can’t remember who was playing.

14. What is your favorite flavor of popcorn?

If I’m buying it while I’m out, it’s hard to find but I love cinnamon-glazed. I also love caramel-glazed and cheese corn mixed together, which is much more widely available. If I’m making it at home, I pop low calorie butter-flavored and then spray Pam on it to get turmeric and All-Purpose seasoning to stick (the more garlic, the better).

15. Who is the last person you sent a text message to?

Well, I use FB Messenger a hell of a lot more than texting because I can respond on any of my devices. It was to Dan, confirming our birthday plans for Tuesday.

16. Ever go camping?

Once. For me, the line about only wearing long underwear in your sleeping bag was the worst piece of advice ever. I finally got up around 4:30 and put on every piece of clothing in my suitcase. I would probably enjoy it more at a lower elevation where it’s not so cold. I was on Mt. St. Helen’s, which to me was freezing even in the summer.

17. Do you take vitamins daily?

Not always, but I do take an iron pill daily because I donate platelets and your iron level has to be above 12.5. Multivitamins give me terrible gastrointestinal distress, so I limit my intake…. but sometimes I need them because I am not the best eater on the planet.

18. Do you have a tan?

As Jim Gaffigan said, “I am what you would call ‘indoorsy.'” I tan vicariously through my friends who do that sort of thing. I think I’ve only tanned a few times in my life, and that was from living in Houston/Galveston. The most serious tan I ever had was spending weeks outdoors. I went to Mexico on a mission trip, then spent a week at choir camp, then three weeks at marching band practice before school started. Marching band practice in Houston is akin to signing up for a three bedroom, two bathroom condo in hell, except hotter. Who was it that said given the choice, they’d live in hell and rent out Texas? Same.

19. Do you prefer Chinese food over pizza?

I can’t. I eat pizza every Friday night in memory of my mother, who started the tradition when Lindsay and I were young. Besides, Argo, Aaron, & Dana would be so metaphysically disappointed (I’ll link to the entries, but if you got those jokes without clicking on the link, you are an OG “Fanagan”).

20. Do you drink soda with a straw?

There aren’t many “always” and “never” questions in this life, but here’s one of them. I never use a straw if I’m sitting down at a table, but I will always use one on the go. I am down with both the reusable and plant-based plastic straws, and I am so proud that my McDonald’s (don’t know if it’s a national thing) has switched to the latter.

21. What did your last text message say?

“Leslie, your Rx order is ready. Get it delivered!” I get wigged because they don’t offer delivery in my area and it irritates me that I get the possibility of delivery with every message and the disappointment of reality at least three times a month.

22. What are you doing tomorrow?

Finally, I have something exciting to say on the topic!

  1. Drink coffee and be awesome.
  2. Find something cool to do until 8:00 PM. I’m thinking of going to the National Gallery of Art, because I just learned today that they have a Van Gogh room, and I didn’t get nearly enough “time with him” at the MusĂ©e D’Orsay. I’ve always said that if I ever go back to Paris, I would like to spend an entire day there, staring at Van Gogh paintings while writing so that my crazy mixes with his crazy and we’ll see what “comes out of us.” I would be lying if I said Doctor Who had nothing to do with this (truly memorable trying to not freak out with joy at seeing The Church in Auvers-sur-Oise for real). By the way, none of the sunflower paintings say “Amy.” I checked. Twice. Also, as far as I know, Bill Nighy does not actually work there. I could be wrong.
  3. Meet up with Dan for outrageous desserts at Tryst. You might have heard of it during the Gary Condit/Chandra Levy scandal. Not why we’re going there, but when Dan suggested it, I realized I’d walked past it but had never been in, so it’s not NOT why we’re going there……….
  4. Curl up with a good book. Right now I am in the middle of Three Women, Blink, and War and Peace. That last one may sound ambitious, but after reading The Moscow Rules, I decided it was appropriate (and only 99 cents for the Kindle version with amazing commentary). I wanted to go back and read Tolstoy’s take on Russian history having started it in high school and never finishing. This time around, I have learned that the Russians thought Napoleon was every bit the fool and tyrant that over half the country thinks our current president is now (for reference years in the future, I’m talking about Donald Trump).
  5. Eventually fall asleep, but there’s no telling when because it depends on how engrossed I am in reading.

23. Look to your left, what do you see?

An empty McDonald’s cup that I need to refill with green tea, all of my medications, and my iPhone.

24. What color is your watch?

It changes at least four times a week, because I have an Apple Watch that makes it way too easy to slip the bands out. Today it is hot pink with a black & white Minnie Mouse face. I have a red leather strap that I wear the most often, with the classic color Mickey Mouse face. Today, Minnie is in grayscale because she is also classic colors and I needed her to coordinate with my choice of band. The face also has lots of colors, as you can put on “complications.” I have no idea why they’re called that. They’re basically “desktop icons.”

bindi-irwin-o-bindilrwin-some-days-you-just-need-to-3323284725. What do you think of when you hear the word “Australia?”

Not a thought so much as pictures of my friend Allison and a meme of Bindi Irwin (if the text is too small for you to read, click on the image for hi-res).

26. Do you go in a fast food place or just hit the drive thru?

I don’t drive, I am rarely pressed for time, and generally there’s free wi-fi. So, inside it is.

27. What is your favorite number?

So easy I don’t even have to think about it. Eleven. Matt Smith, the baby giraffe in a bow tie (and sometimes a fez), is my Doctor. I’m in love with him a little bit because when he got the role, the Internet rebelled against him and said he was never going to be any good, but I haven’t felt more emotion in the show than watching his interactions with Amy, Rory, River Song, Vincent, and himself in a memorable soliloquy in “Nightmare in Silver.”

Also, Stranger Things. Eleven completes me.

28. Who’s the last person you talked to on the phone?

We have covered this.

29. Any plans today?

Well, my prescription is ready and they don’t deliver in my area.

30. How many states have you lived in?

Lots of geographic areas, four states:

  1. Texas
  2. Virginia
  3. Oregon
  4. Maryland

Maryland is where I have really put down roots, but I would move back to Texas to be with my family in a heartbeat if they needed me. It is the only reason I would ever move again. I’m done.

31. What most annoys you?

A little thing? When people use up all the toilet paper and don’t replace the roll.

A big thing? Injustice, anything and anywhere. I am never more angry than when I feel something is unfair, locally or globally.

33. Can you say the alphabet backwards?

I would really, really have to think about it. Not something I’ve ever really had to know…. although a funny thing about me and the alphabet is that when I was first learning my ABCs, the setup is that my mother’s name was Carolyn. I thought the song went “ABCDEFG, HIKJ Carolyn NOP.” “KJ” is not a typo.

34. Do you have a maid service clean your house?

No, but I would think I had died and gone to heaven if I did. So jealous of Disney Princesses, Mary Poppins, and Molly Weasley.

35. Favorite pair of shoes you wear all the time?

It’s a three-way tie between brown Converse All-Stars, black Converse All-Stars (black laces, rubber, AND canvas), and Keene sandals. I told this to a friend and she said, “ok, you just lost cool points for wearing Keenes.” I had an unprintable response.

36. Are you jealous of anyone?

Disney Princesses, Mary Poppins, and Molly Weasley. I would even settle for Shary Bobbins.

37. Is anyone jealous of you?

I didn’t think so until I was telling a friend that I was absolutely done moving (unless my family needed me in Texas) because I had already moved so much in my life that I was ready to settle down permanently. She told me that she was jealous of me, because she wasn’t ready to make that decision yet. Actually, I’ve had that conversation twice with the same results. One lives here in town, the other lives overseas.

38. Do you love anyone?

Not romantically, but agape and philia are the rivers that run inside me. I couldn’t do without my friends. They are my lifeline, the brothers and sisters I chose for family because my bio family is so far away.

39. Do any of your friends have children?

Yes, some of them even on purpose.

40. What do you usually do during the day?

A little of everything except laundry. It’s an issue.

41. Do you hate anyone that you know right now?

Hate is such a strong word, and changes me a lot more than it changes them…. but everyone I dislike at the moment, I’ve never actually met in person.

42. Do you use the word “hello” daily?

No. I generally say “hey” even though “hey is for horses.” There’s your “Texas-ism” for the day. The reason I don’t use “hello” daily is that I generally only answer the phone that way, and people rarely call me (not that I don’t like it).

43. What color is your natural hair?

Dark brown, but liking it better and better now that I have a few gray strands that look like highlights. I might dye it anyway, though, but only because the color isn’t quite deep enough for me. It looks a bit mousy. Probably won’t go back to auburn, though. Stay tuned.

44. Are you thinking about someone right now?

Deeply.

45. Have you ever been to Six Flags?

I have. I’ve been to three Six Flags-owned parks. Six Flags Over Texas in the Dallas suburbs, AstroWorld and WaterWorld in Houston. For those that aren’t familiar, the company is named after the governing bodies throughout Texas history:

  1. Spain
  2. France
  3. Mexico
  4. The Republic of Texas
  5. The United States
  6. The Confederate States

It seems apropos right now to also give you this fact: Texas and Hawaii are the only states in the union that can fly their flags at equal height to the US flag, because we were both once our own countries.

46. How did you get your scar?

Christ, which one? I fall and hurt myself all the time. Although here are the ones tied for first place. When I was 16, I was cutting a lime with a serrated knife and sliced into my thumb. Those nerve endings never came back, so I have a dead spot I play with all the time. When I was in my early 20s, I had choir practice on Thursday nights and my first wife was way too obsessed with ER. I forgot my house key one night and even though she wasn’t a mean person, she did a mean thing. She wouldn’t let me in until a commercial. So I’m fumbling around in the yard because it’s after 9:00 PM in the fall and I trip over a tree stump, scraping and cutting my shins so badly that the scars are still so deep it feels weird to shave those parts of my legs. Let me remind you that it’s been 20 years, and the scars are no more shallow than when they happened. Geez, and I actually spent time wondering why that relationship didn’t work out……………..

47. Do you have tattoos?

Yes, an ichthus that says “Yahweh” in Hebrew, a tribal dragonfly, a Celtic knot, a quill dripping blood, and $1.83. The last is the smallest, but it’s the most important. Here’s the story behind all of them.

48. Have you ever been out of the country?

I’m not especially well-traveled, but I’ve been to Mexico, Canada, England, France, and The Bahamas. I do have a bucket list, though, and I may never make it to some of them because in the Middle East, I am terribly afraid that everything I want to see is going to be reduced to rubble, and even if it isn’t, I don’t currently have a male chaperone. I’m a feminist and all that, but I’m not stupid.

49. Looks, brains, or personality?

I am going to go with personality, because if they have a great one, their intelligence will naturally show itself. I don’t know many dumb people I could stand for more than a few minutes. For me, personality and brains are inextricably interrelated, because brains inform humor, and if I don’t think you’re hilarious, I’m out.

50. Biggest regret?

Let’s end on something real. I used to be on the “think it, say it” plan no matter what emotions I was feeling. My biggest regret is all the misdirected rage in my life at Argo. It was over-the-top and egregiously wrong, because by then I wasn’t fighting with her. I was fighting the real enemy and Argo was a not-so-casual bystander, the receiver of all the shit rolling downhill. It was not a short amount of time until I realized that I was fighting with two people who weren’t even in the room, and only one of them deserved it.

I am so glad that part of my life is over and done, but if I could pray for a do-over and it materialized, I would go back and love her the way she loved me…. with sweetness, bright, white light, honesty (both painful and real), walking around in each other’s inner landscapes……………… truly receiving all the other had to offer- no more, no less.

@CIA @StateDept

The news that’s coming out of the intel community ranges from unsettling to terrifying. Some agents think that President Trump is compromised, and I don’t think they’re wrong. So we have a situation in which reports go underground at best, and really good people, brilliant civil servants, just walking away and watching everything burn because they can’t take it anymore. For them, it’s like working in the middle of a raging dumpster fire.

What you see in media is not reality. It’s not all “James Bond moments.” Most of it is poring over documents, and in the field, agents have access to money, but it’s for someone or something else. They make regular government salaries when they could make eight times more in the private sector, and are trying to do the right thing, anyway. Civil servants are desperately needed, especially translators, cryptographers, and hackers- but with the current administration, they’re having trouble filling jobs all over the place.

It’s not just intel, it’s also State. Having a boss actively working against you would be awful in any job. Why bust your ass for so little money when you’re just going to be ignored, anyway?

It is my hope and prayer that by keeping President Trump out of the loop, everyone at CIA, NSA, FBI, State, etc. can make some headway on these clear and present dangers. It is as awful an attack as Pearl Harbor, with the exception that people can see and understand a bombing. It takes a special kind of person to be able to understand and deflect cracking attacks, particularly with voting machines.

The longer this goes on, the more I believe that Hillary Clinton is our rightful president, and now there’s nothing we can do about it, because no one in Congress has brought up having a new election, and even if we did, voting machines can (and so far, will) still be hacked. The midterms, to me, are so scary I rarely want to think about them…. because what if the will of the people is again thwarted? The “blue wave” most Americans want is not necessarily what they’ll get.

Allowing civil servants to be interviewed by the Russians is probably sending them to their deaths, and I wish I was just being dramatic. It would make me happy to know that I was, but I don’t think so. Putin is not known for being kind.

The reason I’m using @ for CIA and State is because CIA’s charter says that they don’t operate within the United States, so it is generally their job to go in country. With State, I don’t think diplomacy will work, and not that it shouldn’t…. that President Trump always calls an audible and works around them, eschewing protocol that has been in place for what seems like eons…. and it’s been like that since he took office, not just recently.

I am devastated that the GOP doesn’t seem to see the difference between supporting a politician and supporting a tyrant…. many of them, actually, because I refuse to believe that President Trump is smart enough to do all this on his own. They are all content to “fiddle while the United States burns.”

Nikita Khrushchev said during the Cold War that Russia is capable of making the United States destroy itself, and now, it’s working. So far, we’ve alienated the countries that would help us if we asked, before President Trump just went batshit crazy on all of them. It wouldn’t even help if President Trump was impeached, because the United States would be stuck somewhere between Leviticus and 1950 with a Pence presidency, and on the topic of Russian interference, he has been strangely silent, making me wonder if he is complicit/compromised as well.

Of course, my opinion is just my opinion, but I hope it’s an educated one. I am just a “news junkie,” with no actual letters behind my name for my thoughts to even matter. That being said, not speaking out is not an option for me. Too much has happened to keep silent, especially with my background in IT. My knowledge on the industry is somewhere between organ grinder and monkey, because I’m just a Geek to English translator. But I have been to lectures on hacking and cracking, so I know just enough to expound on what a dire situation this actually is. We are at war, and unfortunately, on the defense, because we have a president that refuses to acknowledge it.

But the war is taking place underground, in dark places people can’t comprehend if they do not also have a background in computers or networking. Believe me when I say that right now, we are on the losing end, in a total shitshow.

Such a small number of people still want to work for us after just having had enough already. Blessings on the people who have decided to stay and fight, especially as there become fewer of them. Why wouldn’t there be? With President Trump actively inviting Putin to come to the US in the fall, and not opposed to turning over our people to him for “questioning,” they’re probably already aware that what it really means is torture…. but, of course, our president would never assume that, because everything is above board, right? The president of Russia obviously has our best interests at heart, and please read that with dripping sarcasm, deep sighs, and a large eye roll.

Trying to cover up treason seems in poor taste, but that’s exactly what’s happening. Presidents promise to defend us against all enemies, foreign and domestic… and so far, the domestic enemies have become the media and anyone who doesn’t wholeheartedly agree with the ongoing plan to subvert the world order.

If you are the type person that thinks everything is going to be fine, buckle up, Buttercup. We’re so far behind we think we’re first- American egocentricity at its finest.

What’s Russian for “we’re totally screwed right now?”

But maybe I’m just being dramatic.

Forces in the Universe

For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction.

Newton’s Third Law of Physics

My interview with the University of Maryland CATT Lab went very well, or maybe it didn’t. It’s hard to tell what’s happening on their end, because interviewers rarely reveal their cards on the first pass. What I mean to say is that it felt good on my end. I think I at least had three of a kind… it remains to be seen whether I’ll come in Kings full over Aces, though. The interviewer and I talked for 33 minutes, and at the end he told me I would hear either way within two weeks.

The best part is not having to sit and think about it. Either I’ll get it or I won’t, and I am going to be happy either way…. because I choose to focus on both cooking and IT as opportunities. Yes, I would make a lot more money in IT… at least twice what I’m making now. But I can’t be assured that I would be any happier than I am right now, something that is also important. I am sure that my new team would come together and everything would work out, but I am already part of a great team… something about which there are no unknowns. I am proud of myself for putting my resumĂ© out there, even with so many variables unassigned.

I hung up the phone high on life, and then I got the notification that Anthony Kennedy is retiring. My mood just deflated like a balloon, and I began to cry. As I’ve mentioned before, I’ve taken a Constitutional Law class taught in Socratic Method, where I had to memorize over a hundred opinions and dissents. My favorites, regardless of the former or the latter, have always come from him. Whether or not he is in the majority or the minority, he always has something significant to say. He doesn’t mince words, and gets to the heart of the matter quickly. He has also never been a puppet of strict construction or liberal interpretation. He is one of a kind, and we would be very lucky indeed to see a jurist  like him within the next hundred years.

I do have hope, though. David Souter and Anthony Kennedy were both appointed by Republicans, but it seems that once you rise to the Supreme Court, your political affiliations seem to fall by the wayside (in most cases). Even if the Democrats do not take the House and Senate, there’s still a chance that a Republican government will confirm an appointee that they think will parrot their views, and, as it turns out, not so much. Even Neil Gorsuch has had his moments (moment?), concurring with liberals in part.

It is now 1519, and my inbox just dinged with the invitation for a three hour sit-down with everyone in the department.

The forces in the universe are strong and swift today. It seems an especially good time to say that I am praying on the spaces, and for those just joining us, it means that words aren’t everything- the silence in between is just as powerful…. literally, giving me pause.

#prayingonthespaces

When I Work

I have an app for my phone that keeps track of my schedule called “When I Work.” I also have a Google Calendar feed from the pub that syncs with my personal calendar so I can see work and social commitments all in one place. You know why this is so helpful? I rarely know what day it is. Since my weekends are no longer on Saturday and Sunday, life is simply a blur from one shift to another. I have reminders set to go off two and three hours before my shift, and when they go off, I get dressed. In effect, it doesn’t matter what day it is. When my computer and phone say “go,” I do.

0d6fba54c423e722f9f3f9ec2fe3b365I’ve tried to keep my schedule as normal as possible by coming home and going to bed at a reasonable hour, but I do not set an alarm. I need 10-12 hours of sleep to restore lactic acid, and if I’m in bed by midnight or 1:00, I have plenty of time. This morning, I woke up at 10:00 AM and stumbled downstairs to make the coffee. My roommate was jumping up and down because she’d just gotten a full-time job, and I really wanted to join in, but my energy level was at ZERO. I remember fondly the days I used to be a morning person. It’s just not possible anymore. By the time I wake up, my Aleve™ and Tylenol Arthritis XR™ have both worn off. By the time I start the coffee, I’ve taken more, but they haven’t kicked in yet. So, when I say that I am stumbling down the stairs, I mean it. The bones in my feet seem not to be strong enough to hold me up. I toddle down one step at a time, as if I have regressed to age three. So, after waking up to the feeling I’ve been hit by a truck, someone yelling “LESLIE, LESLIE, LESLIE!!!!!” is nails on a chalkboard. But at least it isn’t something for which I have to come up with an answer, just listen and say “congratulations.” It’s difficult to be so happy for someone and not be able to reciprocate in the excitement they might want.

I feel I have to catalog every moment of this adventure, because the last time I was a cook, it was hard… damn hard… but I look back on it and think of it as one of the happiest times of my life. With this repository, I hope I’m allowing time to slow down so that I can take it all in. Believe me when I say that despite the pain, it’s worth it.

The dishwasher surprised me last night when she spoke to me in Spanish and I understood every word. She told me that my eyes were beautiful. Since she has brown eyes as well, I said, “our eyes are both beautiful- they are the same.” She said that no, they aren’t, because mine have such clarity. The funniest moment was when she was rattling off what I needed to do in Spanish and I said, “lo siento, mi espanol es muy, muy mal. Habla despacio, por favor” (I’m sorry, my Spanish is very, very bad. Speak slower, please). She said, “that’s ok. So is my English.” I laughed until I cried.

The thing is, though, I am exhausted and sore right up until I get to work, and then muscle memory takes over and energy courses through my body. All of the sudden, I am on fire with passion and drive, when minutes ago I was walking around like I’d just been hit by a truck. When we’re the busiest, on Fridays and Saturdays, I sometimes feel as if I’ve volunteered to be in a car accident by the time I get home.

I’ve also figured out why I am usually in the dish pit rather than the line. It has nothing to do with ability. It’s that there are only three people in the kitchen besides me that understand English, and when none of those people are scheduled with me, it makes more sense to get me out of their way. Not everything can be done with facial expressions. But that’s only part of it. The second is that to my surprise, I’m faster in the dish pit than I’ve ever been, which makes the cooks grateful because we can all get out of there earlier. It has never been my life’s dream to be a dishwasher, but the fact that I can flat do it makes me incredibly happy.  Internal satisfaction is so incredibly high, especially since I have received “honorary Mexican” status. It’s like a video game level being unlocked because I’ve gained so many experience points. 🙂

I also think that the other cooks think I don’t like their food, because I won’t eat at work. We are generally fed “family meal” at the beginning of a shift, but what I have learned early and often is that I’m slower when I feel too full, and just need to hydrate. Every day, I say, “no tengo hambre, tengo sed” (I’m not hungry, I’m thirsty). I wait until after I’m done to eat, and try to eat lunch early enough that I don’t feel too fat and happy once I get there. The other cooks do not understand this, and are constantly offering me rich, rich food. Nothing in a restaurant is healthy unless you go to a vegan joint. Just trust me on this one. Lots of oil, butter, heavy cream, etc. I mean, that’s what makes it delicious, and also what makes me feel like there’s a rock in my stomach.

What I will take, though, is when someone makes limonada in the blender. A little sugar and shaved ice goes a long way. It makes me feel almost human again, often why I have a Coke™ or Sprite™ at the end of my shift rather than a “homemade” beer.

Speaking of homemade beer, the woman that started the brewery, Julie Verratti, is running for Lt. Gov. of MD. The LGBT PAC had a meeting at the pub, and I was cut early enough to make it. Remember in The West Wing when Josh and Sam realize Bartlett is “the guy?” Well, Julie is that person for me. At the end of the meeting, I went up to her and said, “it is such an honor to work for you.” She shook my hand and didn’t fail to notice the tears in my eyes. I’m hoping that at some point, I can either work or volunteer on her campaign…. but that would involve asking her if I could, and I’m not that brave yet.

Mostly because I have no idea what day it is when I work.

 

A Little Bit of Everything

First, let’s get some business out of the way. My domain name needs to be renewed, and it’s only $18. If you haven’t donated and enjoy this site, please do. If you don’t enjoy this site, donate anyway. I will be allowed to keep feeding your dislike. :P~~~ If every one of my readers dropped a dime in the box, I’d have at least a dollar. I think. Anyway, more than grateful if you can do it, not a problem if you can’t. Just putting the idea out into the universe. Paypal link is on my sidebar.

And now, on with the show.

I got to hold one of my three-week-old “nephews” I’ve adopted through chosen family, and I am not exaggerating when I say that my ovaries exploded. I absolutely cannot imagine having my own child, so it was very nice to borrow one for a few minutes. We sat on the couch as he alternated between sucking his bottle and falling asleep in my lap- the most perfect moment I’ve had in a long time. There is nothing that lifts the grief of my mother’s death better than watching a new baby come alive with personality. For instance, one twin finds it comforting to be swaddled. The other will kick off the blankets immediately. I am grateful that they are fraternal, because as they grow I’ll actually be able to tell them apart. Right now, I have to look very, very closely…. or, at least, I think they’re fraternal. I will have to ask. Right now, they’re so little that they look alike in the way that all babies do.

We had to cut off the water main to the house so we could take out a washing machine. Hopefully, it won’t take that long, because I’m supposed to FaceTime with my father and grandfather later. They really won’t care what I look like, but I do. There’s only so much I can do with my current haircut that doesn’t involve a lot of wax. My hairdresser thinks it looks cute. I’m not convinced. I’d show you a picture, but I really don’t want to. Theoretically, I could fix my hair with bottled water, but it’s in the refrigerator. That is a no dice situation right there.

The weather is beautiful, and I’d like to get outside. I’m having to weigh that against my allergies. I’ve taken Zyrtec, Sudafed PE, and Advil. Therefore, I am now allowed to complain. I know I’ve written about this before, but it’s a thing in my family:

Family Member 1: My ____ hurts.
Family Member 2: Have you taken anything for it?
FM1: No.
FM2: Has it kicked in yet?

I’m sure I’ll feel better a little later, but right now I’m waiting for everything to start working. It can’t happen soon enough. Regardless of whether I decide to take a walk, I have to venture out eventually to get groceries. Even that small time outside is a problem without Zyrtec on board. Spring can really hang me up the most. Once summer rolls around and most of my irritants have burned off, I’ll be fine. Now, everything is starting to bloom, and it’s not deadly, but it is truly annoying.

The only thing to which I’m allergic that will literally send me into systemic urticaria (full body hives/rash) and shortness of breath is sulfa drugs. When I was a kid, I had to spend an entire week in the hospital being pumped full of adrenaline, susprin (basically adrenaline extended release), and steroids. It was so much fun, and I looked attractive. It did save my life, though, so I got that goin’ for me.

Back to you, Bob. Let’s go to the phones.

I watched the president’s entire rant on Fox & Friends, and it was hysterical. He just went histrionic on every topic. Even the anchors looked like deer in headlights. This is because they couldn’t figure out how to get him off the phone. The best part was him going full tilt batshit crazy by saying that he’d made NBC a lot of money, so it wasn’t fair that they were now treating him badly. He also called basically every news organization fake news, for which the anchors at least had the decency to look uncomfortable and awkward.

You know, if every news outlet is “treating you badly,” at what point do you make the realization that you’re the common denominator? With Trump, my guess is never.

The other funny part was when he was ranting and raving over DOJ, and the anchors were all like, “Mr. President, it’s YOUR justice department.”

There was only one point at which I truly got angry. The rest of the time, I was just writing him off like Anderson Cooper, who said that he sounded like a crazy guy on a park bench. The anchors asked if the Republicans had done a bad job of representing the black community, and he said “it was a custom….” Then, he backpedaled and said that Lincoln was a Republican and he did the thing.

I assume he meant freeing the slaves, but he did not give any more details. I honestly believe he couldn’t, great history scholar that he is.

I’m actually starting to feel bad for the Republican party, because even when they try to reign him in, try to get him to keep his damn mouth shut, they fail miserably. If Democrats hate President Trump, I truly believe they hate him less than the people who have to work for him.

The problem with not picking an establishment candidate is that they often have no idea how anything in Washington works, and are dumbfounded once they get there. However, this president is not dumbfounded. He doesn’t know anything, and doesn’t seem to care.

I am mystified by all people like that… both people who think education is elitist, and the people who vote for candidates who believe it, too. I don’t understand not wanting the smartest people in the room to be in charge. If you ask me, and so far, no one has, the biggest problem in American politics is that the skills needed to campaign and the skills needed to be president are at complete odds. For instance, policy wonks like Al Gore and Hillary Clinton would have been great presidents, but they’re just not as capable with “show business.”

And that’s what campaigns have become, starting in 1960 with the first televised debates between Kennedy and Nixon. Now, believe me when I say that this is not a treatise on why Richard Nixon should have been elected that year. It’s just that one of the reasons President Kennedy beat him was that he looked like a movie star while Nixon sweat profusely and had to change shirts during commercials. Leaving politics out of it entirely, people are naturally going to vote for the candidate that’s poised and eloquent over the guy who consistently looks like death warmed over.

Much like I do right now, because I can’t take a shower or fix my hair…. and I’m about to be on camera, too.

Send help.

The Leadership Breakfast

Barbara Bush died, which really isn’t that sad if you think about it. She lived to the ripe old age of 92. I think that’s about as much as anyone should expect in terms of time on earth, and her kids were lucky to have her that long. I mean, when someone dies it’s always sad for their families in terms of not being able to communicate anymore, but 92 is close to immortal in today’s terms of longevity. No one is going to say, “dear God, they took her too soon.” As a fellow Texan, I would like to be able to regale you with a story about how we met, but unfortunately, that never happened. We did go to the same church when I was in college, so I have met her husband. That will have to do.

So, it’s Easter Sunday in about 1999 or 2000 (I am really bad with dates). The men’s group was serving breakfast before service, and the president was going around with a pitcher of coffee for warm-ups. The Secret Service guys were stationed strategically around the room, constantly talking into their wrists.

The president comes over to me and fills my cup, and when I realized exactly who I was talking to, I began gulping down my coffee as fast as I could so he would have to come to my table multiple times, early and often. I am sure he knew my game, but didn’t seem to mind. We had very good, very short talks. I wish my memory was flawless, because I’d love to tell you what they were about. I do remember telling him that I was a political science student at University of Houston, and he told me he used to be a professor at Rice (like I didn’t know that. Didn’t tell him, though……).

I don’t think I’ve disagreed politically with many presidents besides him, although I definitely have a list. I was too young to care what was going on with Reagan, and I love Clinton & Obama. It was just exciting to meet anyone who’d been leader of the free world, as well as being Director of Central Intelligence the year I was born (1977), although he left in January and I wasn’t born until September. Close enough for government work. I don’t know how you get to be DCI if you don’t have any experience with espionage, so my guess is that he was OSS (Office of Strategic Services, the precursor to the modern CIA) during World War II, and as a cook, I pretend that anyone who was OSS during that time was Julia Child’s best friend.

I was a spazzbasket of excitement, information, and caffeine. At this point, I have conservatively had, like, five cups of coffee trying to talk to him. I debate going over to talk to the Secret Service as well. However, they are designed to look absolutely unapproachable. They definitely pull it off.

What I hope I didn’t pull off was being desperately impressed, because no one that well-known wants to be “on” all the time. He was just there to be part of the men’s group, and I hope I respected that. But so many of my questions just swirled in my head. Did he like Helen Thomas? What’s it like being a wartime pilot? Was he ever under cover? Did he actually know Julia Child, or is that just wishful thinking?

There are so many things I would ask him now that I didn’t think of then, like what was it like for your wife and kids while you were president? It can’t have been easy to be in the public eye, whether there were things you liked about it or not. Also, what was it like to be president when the wall in Berlin fell? Was Ronald Reagan just as funny in private life as he was on television? At the time, all that was swirling in my head was about treating him like a regular human being.

….just like he is right now, dealing with the death of his wife.

Get Off My Lawn

I am terribly cranky today.

Yesterday’s pardoning of Scooter Libby was the last straw. The guy committed treason. No punishment the USG could come up with would be good enough. When he outed Valerie Plame, it was damn lucky he didn’t get her killed. Do all intelligence employees under cover have to be afraid of their own employer now? If I was in their position, it would incense me that even people who commit crimes against national security can almost assuredly get away with murder, both literally and figuratively. Not only was Libby’s personal case a red flag, the precedent it sets is even more scary.

It’s probably against the Geneva Convention so this is absolutely a hypothetical situation, but say there was a black op to take out Assad so that citizens wouldn’t be harmed. You could absolutely argue that the ends justify the means, but someone leaks that information to the New York Times or the Washington Post while Special Ops is in country…. not only the op, but the names of the soldiers involved. How long would it take before their heads were on a spike in Damascus? If you said “10 minutes,” I would answer, just like James Comey, that it was nine minutes longer than I expected.

The most frustrating thing about this whole situation is that no one asked me what I thought (that was a joke).

No one asked me what I thought about confirming Mike Pompeo as Secretary of State, either. If the confirmation goes through, we’ll have someone in charge of foreign relations that believes in the Bible more than the Constitution. His view of homosexuality is that it is a perversion, and that his belief is not wrong-headed, but a persecution of all Christians. This is not something I want broadcast all over the world, because the American Medical Association and the American Psychiatry Association disagree with that, and have since the 1980s. It is terrifying that only some people’s beliefs have progressed since then because a book that was meant to be a living document, changing over time as we understand more about medicine and science, in their view must remain literal and stagnant. It is generally believed by progressive theologians that the real abomination in the Bible concerning homosexuality was an ancient Canaanite practice of temple prostitution [by both adults and minors], tarnishing a place meant to be holy ground.

As theologian Jim Rigby once said, Jesus never mentioned homosexuality, so it cannot be essential to his teaching. Ancient desert people would never have known same sex orientation as an identity. The word homosexual was not even coined until the 1900s. It is an identity because even queer celibate people still consider themselves as such [using queer as a catch-all for the entire community and not as a derogatory term. I’m gay, so I can use it. Straight people can’t get away with it. Sorry.]. It is absolutely the last thing a follower of the Christ should embrace, because Jesus was constantly widening the net of acceptance, something that has been twisted since the New Testament, where Paul condemned homosexuality.

Paul had other beliefs that were equally toxic, like the prohibition of women speaking in church… something mainline Christians have moved past, so why is being gay different? Additionally, if you believe in one Talmudic law, you should believe all of them, so advocate for shutting down the NFL because players are consistently touching pigskin. You have to ask yourself whether someone who has an international platform should be able to hold these untranslated views, because even if you don’t support our community, do you really think it’s wise to bolster countries who still execute people for these “crimes?” Do you believe in ending lives and devastating families? The stakes are higher than you think.

In the United States, it means a disbelief of the equal protection clause in the Fourteenth Amendment. If I am truly equal to everyone else, I am a citizen who should be protected by the law, not persecuted by it.

Everything gets messy when the law goes from national to personal, because people can wrap their heads around discrimination of a group, but not their own relatives…. where, often, they fall short in making the connection.

There are still some extremists in this country that are every bit as violent toward the queer community as Sharia law, validated by people who don’t believe in internment camps and execution but aren’t vocal in speaking out about it……….

This leads me to believe that were those things to happen, it would be swift. Ten minutes at most, nine minutes longer than I expect. World issues are literally making me ill.

I am terribly cranky today.