Survivors

8879075800_8a48d70c47_oAs I discussed over on my personal Facebook account, I want to start a discussion and series of posts over here about some difficult issues: sexual assault, Lena Dunham, victims, the age of culpability, and other topics in that vein.  I have seen this or similar articles shared so many times by many of my friends over on Facebook and/or Twitter, and I can’t keep quiet about it anymore.  I had a piece published in 2014 in Dear Sister:  Letters from Survivors of Sexual Violence, and yes, I am a survivor of child molestation (specifically child on child molestation, not by anyone in my immediate family, but by a cousin).  It was something I never talked about for years and years and years.  I thought I would take it to the grave with me, but some of my views on it have changed.  As I mentioned over on Facebook, I also think one of the major problems in this country is how this is such a deep dark shameful topic and that no one talks about it because it happens to so many, and in so many families.  I was at the Vagina Monologues in St. Louis once, and the narrator said, “If you or someone you know has every been a victim of sexual assault, please stand up.”  In a massive auditorium, nearly every person was standing so why aren’t we discussing it more?  I will get to Lena Dunham in a series of follow up posts, but first I’ll share my piece that was published in the book before I break down my thoughts and processing it over the years, and my thoughts on Lena Dunham’s admission in her book which I loved.  Click read more to see the post that was published in the book, and then stay tuned for more posts regarding this topic very soon.   Continue reading Survivors

Pokemon Attacks

Precious little old lady puppy face
Precious little old lady puppy face

Did you guys watch the Democratic National Convention last night?  Can everyone agree that Michelle Obama is the best first lady of all time?  Well, she’s in my top five, anyway!  Her speech was phenomenal, and I love Bernie but I kinda wished they would’ve wrapped with her.  He is true class, though, and I really hope his supporters are on board now with Hillary.  I truly believe, as he said, there is entirely too much at stake to play around this election with a third party candidate.  I’ve been so tired the last few weeks because I stayed up to watch the Republican National Convention (bitter and scary Snoozeville that it was), and now the DNC.  I also have been watching Colbert’s coverage of both which is superb, as usual.  Looking forward to seeing Bill speak tonight.

In discussions that are much safer to have these days, lest you find out your dear friend is a Trump supporter, let’s talk baked goods.  I have a local friend that started a baking business.  I’ve followed her online for some time, drooling watching her post photos over at Roll With It Baking.  After fighting the incessant  sweet tooth urge, I decided to live a little and bought some of her Lemon Blueberry cupcakes.  So I like citrus, but I’m not usually crazy about it.  I couldn’t resist, though.  These cupcakes looked so dainty and gorgeous with their soft pastel yellow.  Yes, the appearance got me.  This is not the first time this has happened, and it won’t be the last.  I love French pastries as much for their incredible taste as for how pretty they look on my plate before I eat them in one bite in an unladylike fashion.  I was so happy that I made the decision to finally sample her treats.  They were truly amazing.  They tasted like summer.  The lemon was perfect and wasn’t too overwhelming.  As testament to how much I loved them, I ate them all before the hubs could try any.  Sorry for doing that the umpteenth time, babe.  Luckily, he prefers salty stuff and isn’t as wild about sugar as I am.  There’s only room for one sugar monster per household, I promise.

Aren't these the prettiest? The only thing better than the way they look is how great they taste!
Aren’t these the prettiest? The only thing better than the way they look is how great they taste!

Continue reading Pokemon Attacks

Ajax Diner

My sweet babboo enjoying the window view at one of many amazing restaurants in Oxford
My sweet babboo enjoying the window view at one of many amazing restaurants in Oxford

Kelly and I have now been to Oxford, Mississippi twice.  Whenever we travel, he typically arranges all our travel details.  I prefer just to show up with a suitcase and follow his lead.  He always has a list of restaurants he wants to check out.  In fact, I think our trips are pretty much built around where we’re eating.  It’s pretty rare that we would visit the same restaurant twice because we prefer to try a lot of different places.  Ajax Diner is a welcome exception to this rule.  Before travelling to Oxford, whenever we mentioned our upcoming trip, we were consistently asked one question, “So, where are you eating?”  With limited time and an endless amount of amazing options in town, it’s definitely a fair question.   Continue reading Ajax Diner

Bucket List

28124026632_723a8cdb28_oIt’s been a long time since I updated my bucket list (which I’ve always kept online) so I thought I’d post an update over here to be able to work of off.  My major cross off that was most recent was our hot air balloon ride in Chattanooga!  Kelly also helped me cross of seeing  the Merman in Hot Springs which was on my original list.  I’ve also crossed off seeing the Pixies (favorite band) live.  I’ve done that twice, and I hope I can see them several more times before I die.  I’m sure I’ll add much more to this list eventually.  I could put a million places to travel to, but I tried to keep it to a minimum.

In no real order..

    • See the Aurora Borealis
    • Get my driver’s license
    • Go on a whale watch and watch whales
    • Scream along/dance along/sweat along with The Gossip live–for example see below

    • Visit St. Petersburg and the Hermitage
    • Attend a Pug meetup
    • Swim with the pigs in the Bahamas

  • Go to a cat convention
  • Relax in a hot springs
  • Wear/learn to put on fake eyelashes or have my eyelashes done
  • Learn silversmithing.
  • See the Grand Canyon
  • Learn to play the violin
  • Visit Iceland
  • Try acupuncture or cupping therapy
  • Stay at an all inclusive resort
  • Leave 100% tip for a server
  • Make Cheese
  • Go to the Mutter Museum
  • See Le bonheur de vivre by Matisse in person
  • Pick fruit from a tree and make a pie
  • Unplug for a week to remind myself of what that’s like
  • Go to a Yoga class
  • Attend a unique small town festival
  • Travel by luxury train 
  • Throw a dart at a map and go wherever it lands
  • Swim with manatees
  • Walk on a black sand beach
  • Walk on a pink sand beach
  • Visit Badlands National Park
  • Go to Yellowstone and see the Grand Prismatic Spring
  • Visit Santorini
  • Visit Tuscany
  • Visit Ireland
  • Visit Japan
  • Swim in the Great Salt Lake
  • See La Sagrada Familia
  • Visit Palacio de Cristal
  • Attend a Día de los Muertos celebration
  • Attend a Holi Festival celebration
  • Take a European cruise

Sunshine Days

7173583993_835b84e3fa_oIn a cacophony of children chattering and howling monkeys of Primate Canyon, we are frozen in my memory. On that Saturday afternoon trip to the zoo, T. and I were believed to be at our best by his young nephew who trusted that we would navigate through the African Veldt and Cat Country to find the renowned “Rainbow Ice Cream.” T. and I obliged because the sun was shining, we felt complacent in the face of our own youth, and T. had a stubborn aspiration of being the “best uncle ever.” Our unfortunate discovery, upon passing ice cream after ice cream stand, was that only one that served this particular species of dairy confection was located at the opposite corner of the zoo. We passed for the second time the hippos, one gray giant still napping. We stood in front of giant maps which announced “You are here” with a red X, though T. and I remained incredulous as to the truth about that declaration, a dogged refutation of our subconscious suspicions that we may have merely been poor navigators. We passed the photographers, a mutely color outfitted cluster of men and women, each squinting one eye, an army of cyclops staring into the distance waiting for that perfect shot. Finally, we chanced to come upon the mecca of ice cream stands, serving soft serve with ribbons of flavoring that colored children’s mouths and tongues for the rest of the afternoon. T. sat on the bench in the sun, chattering on his cell phone like a dashing important Jack Kennedy, while the little one and I braved the line. The soccer moms smiled at us when little bit passed up his soft well worn Indiana Jones hat for me, insisting, “You be Indiana now!” Perhaps they were remembering some bohemian moment in youth, as their eyes all lingered on the scene: T. talking on the phone, wiping little bit’s blue mouth, while I in a dusty brown hat and my escaping stray brown hairs blowing in the wind, the sun in my eyes, maneuvered under his arms to give him a lick off my cheesecake cone. We looked like happy.

I’m Done

A teeny mushroom I saw this weekend
A teeny cute mushroom I saw this weekend

Last week, I had a wonderful Friday night getting together with a dear friend, having cocktails and watching the Olympic trials.  We laughed so hard so much that night, and it was much needed.  Later during the weekend, Kelly and I took Mearl to visit my Mom and Dad, and I finally watched Zootopia which I enjoyed.

Like everyone, I am now playing Pokémon GO.  I have only caught like three Pokémon because I’m not the outdoor type.  I just try to catch them when I’m wandering the mall or walking across campus to get coffee.  I still maintain no video game should make you leave the house.  The point of video games is to be a hermit slacker, duh.  😉

I am looking forward to participating Saturday morning the #BlackLivesMatter march in town.  Locals (allies come out and support), here is the information.  It’s important to make your voice heard. Continue reading I’m Done

Nights Like Jazz

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They were beds suited for low aspirations.
No boxsprings,
no headboards;
no hope for any kind of height,
a possible success.
Just two beat up mattresses thrown on the floor.
But at the right time,
with the window open at my side,
and the raindrops hitting my bare back,
it was perfect.
The streetlights outside cutting across the room.
Hours of bedtalk.
Drifting off,
and then lazily rejoining the conversation.
At the right time, it could feel like jazz.

Miss Lady

Photo taken by a tiny photog friend I used to know. I let him borrow my camera that he could barely hold up.
Photo taken by a tiny photog friend I used to know. I let him borrow my camera that he could barely hold up.

I sit outside in the evenings with an orange blossom in hand, always heavy on the gin, and the little girls in the neighborhood appear on their brightly colored bikes. I hear their squeals coming down the block first, and then, there they are. “Hi, Miss Lady,” they sing song, and I look around for someone older than I, wondering when I became a “Miss Lady.”The blonde assembly before me are always flattering, and they come with a plethora of compliments. “I hope when I grow up, I’m as pretty as you,” one blue eyed girl says, popping her gum so the scent of watermelon punctuates her sentences. I feel like I’m being spied on when one notes, “You always have pretty dresses. I saw you changed twice yesterday! You changed into pants; why would you change into those pants?”

My favorite is the sole brunette of this girl gang who is quick witted, a perpetual liar, and to be frank, quite bizarre. When they are feeling vicious as young girls are prone, it is her. that they target and the familiar battle cry of my childhood sounds, “You’re not our friend anymore!” She is resilient and proud. Perhaps, it’s just that I identify with her, but I find her much more interesting than the other paper dolls. She often appears alone, without the blonde brigade in tow, at my door.

The first time she introduces herself as “Madison that moved in six months ago,” and asks about the stray cat that sits most evenings at my feet. The white feline Millie hisses at children and only likes me as long as she can sit in my lap without being disturbed. If I shift too much, I’ve been scratched and hissed at too. Millie is a survivalist and trusts no one, and it is Millie that she wants to befriend. This day that we are to have our introductions, Millie has fled when Madison appears with a bouquet of flowers that she’s picked in her tatty leftover Easter basket. She leaves a flower with me with firm instruction to give to the cat next time I see her. I give the flower to the cat later that evening, chuckling as the devil green eyed cat glares suspiciously.  I am slightly drunk, and I present it with the proper ceremonial air just as Madison instructed. I wonder if the neighbors are watching.  I consider if I’m, in fact, still as bizarre as Madison or myself as a child. Present circumstances of giving a wilted Queen Anne’s Lace to a petulant stray cat would point to an affirmative answer.

After a few days, she reappears, and I tell her I gave Millie her flower. “Did she like it?” she asks. I wonder how to respond. I think there are times when I don’t even know if my own two cats like me. “I think so,” I answer affirmatively. What’s a lie to the perpetual liar of the neighborhood? She nods as if this were expected, “I thought those might be her favorite,” she says. I hope that she doesn’t test out their newly formed friendship any time soon. “Do you know where she is today?” she asks. When I shake my head, she quips, “I imagine she’s off in a bush givin’ birth. That’s all any of the cats do around here anyway! Just go off in a bush and have kittens,” and I am amused and laugh. Although she doesn’t understand why I find this so funny, she giggles along, too.

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The Butcher

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I was waiting for the score to start, as yesterday, in the midst of the produce section the following scene took place:

The lady, ms. S.M. Cash, stumbling and seemingly drunk from an hour long ride in a car with no air conditioning and black interior, stood lethargic next to the matronly cabbage heads and gloating red tomatoes when in came a bird, flapping and cawing. The bird came to rest roughly 9 feet from Ms. S.M.Cash, and they both stared at each other, smiled, and took up an afternoon conversation. Quite shortly, the lazy butcher in his pristine white, that alleged a day of napping, came lurching out with an old net and set about upsetting all parties involved. The bird immediately shot to the ceiling. The butcher, with swooping gestures tried to apprehend the guilty party and rushed about telling daft jokes to the lady who could only stare at the ceiling and worry about the bird. Eventually the butcher grew bored chasing the bird and retired to his bloody cuts of meat and honest knives, and the lady tried to apologize for one of “her kind”.  It was too late.  The bird, betrayed and hurt, took on a dull song and refused to come down from his corner.

The Heart of the Matter

8491363262_bfa495fd3f_oDrinking homeade slushes in the kitchen and swaying in skirts to the music; we make our own vacation. The tequila had flushed my cheeks, and I had long since passed being daringly flirtatious and frank. “The Boys” were making a run for beer, and I was invited. I made sure to gloat since I was the only girl invited.  The truth is none of the other girls wanted to go, and the boys knew I’d beg them to turn up Clutch.  I’d thrash around, screaming lyrics eagerly in the backseat just like them. At the store, I’d straighten my skirt and tell J. to sit still while I reapplied my lipstick. Late at night they’d roar laughter upon discovering, on my bookshelves, the collected works of Graham Greene that I stole from the library my senior year. “Hey Sarah, why are their bar code stickers on all of these?” Most people shoplifted clothing or makeup when they were young and making horrible choices, but it would be books for me.  Laughter heard round, but you’d stare too long and nod your head at the door. We would slip secretively out into the night to chat on the porch.  When everyone came looking for us, we’d blush guiltily.

*Don’t worry, guys.  I’m no longer a thief.  I’ve since donated way more books worth way more money than I ever stole when I was young and stupid.