Archive for November, 2011

November 16, 2011

Brat

Stumbling around on FB last week I came across a post from an acquaintance saying roughly (I cannot find the post again to save my life, it may have been taken down) that “Military Brat” is not a term of honor, “your kid is a brat because you’re not there to teach them not to be.”

Now, this struck me as odd, and as a misreading of a common term. I was put off, but ignored it.

But then this popped up:

I think it’s irresponsible to make babies and war at the same time. My dad was gone a lot when I was a kid, and my mom was busy, and I grew up feeling alone in the world, with the belief that nobody was there to take care of me. I wondered if my dad had another family in Germany, and I wondered if terrorists were going to kill my mom today, or if the bomb threats were just rumors.

I don’t want that for your kids. If you are unwilling to wait to the end of your contract to start a family, that’s your choice. But if you pretend your kids aren’t losing out by not having you around, you’re delusional.

I’m sorry, what?

I am not a child of the military, though several family members have served. I have many friends in various branches, some on contracts, some career. Some with families, some without. And that post struck me as insulting. (Judging from the response she got to it, I wasn’t the only one to feel that way.)

I mean, look, I get that because your dad was a military contractor he was gone a lot. And I can sympathise with being a little girl with a wildly active (and morbid) imagination. But guess what? For the first 7 years of my life I barely saw EITHER of my parents, because of their work schedules. I didn’t spend my entire childhood in the same house. And I’m fine. I wasn’t traumatized because my mother wasn’t there to help me with my homework, nor did I feel like I was missing out because my dad wasn’t around to play catch with me.

I guess what’s bothering me is the presumption that because she had a bad experience with being a military child, it’s ok for her to condemn military families as “irresponsible” or (as she later said in the comments) “selfish”. Because seriously, who the hell are you to tell someone when it’s ok for them to have children?

It’s a step off the whole “you can’t have kids until x” conversation that pisses everyone off so much. And I won’t stand for it. You can have opinions, but you sure as hell can’t go guilting someone for doing something you don’t like. ESPECIALLY when it comes to having/not having children.

And taking it a step further, it feels like a condemnation of single parent families. Which REALLY gets my blood boiling. You can’t presume to know the reasons/motives/situations that brought about any particular family unit. You can’t honestly believe that your experience is the experience of everyone in a similar situation.

And you certainly need to stop portraying your opinions as fact. That type of arrogance makes me lose whatever respect I had left.

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November 11, 2011

Adventures with Alice: Mallows

A couple weeks ago, Lauren and I got to talking about how we’d both let our mixer posts fade … whoops!  It was decided marshmallows should be on the list. Maybe that weekend, maybe the next, definitely soon.

Well, then that Saturday looked like this:

 

Clearly, snow calls for hot chocolate. And just as clearly, hot chocolate needs marshmallows.

The lovely Jen had linked us back to the Smitten Kitchen recipe, so armed with that I headed to the store … to buy gelatin. Only. The thing I’m loving most about baking/cooking more is having staples on hand so I literally can wake up, think I want to make something, and not have to do a grocery run before starting.

Armed with a box of unflavored gelatin, I was off.

Step 1: Decide to make mallows 2 nights before husband’s big race. Make sure you wait until he’s trying to sleep, he’ll complain loudly enough to keep you entertained.

 

Step 2: Freak out about just how much sugar (in many forms) were going into it. That mixture above? 2 cups sugar + 1/2 cup corn syrup. Ewwwwww. Promise yourself you will NOT to tell husband how much sugar, so he’ll eat them.

Step 3: Realize your candy thermometer only goes to 220, when the recipe calls for 240. Decide to wing it.

 

Step 4: Hover awkwardly over your stove, trying to get photos of the process. Fail miserably at lining up the thermometer in multiple shots. Also fail at getting the light balance to stay constant for longer than one shot.

Step 5: Realize your thermometer has crapped out at about 215. Decide to go on look (it needs to be clear!) and hope for the best.

 

Step 6: Back away at lightening speed when you turn on Alice. Pro tip: boiling sugar and unflavored gelatin smell like burning. Terrible terrible burning.

Step 7: Worry that you effed it up while Alice does all the work for you. Add extra vanilla to try and mask the burning you’re sure will come through in the taste.

 

Step 8: Do another round of awkward hovering for photos. This time, do it will one handedly pouring the mallow fluff into your pan. Again totally fail at lining up and light/color balancing. Don’t forget to make sure your booze is clearly visible in at least one photo.

Step 9: Ignore Deb’s advise, and try to scrape down the bowl. Be successful! Decide your success was a fluke and to never do it again.

Step 9: Misread the directions and top the fluff with ONE CUP of confectioner’s sugar instead of the prescribed 1/4 cup. Realize your mistake too late and decide to roll with it.

Step 10: Put in fridge to set. Pout when you realize you won’t be able to eat them until tomorrow. Flounce out of the kitchen in your angst and totally forget to soak the wisk. This will haunt you when cleaning up, tomorrow.

 

Step 11: Forget to oil your pizza cutter when cutting the mallows the next day. End up with slightly curved, different size mallows.

Step 12: Beat down the worry and try one. Realize that while you cannot taste the burning smell, you also used WAY too much vanilla. Decide they are still delicious.

Step 13: Give one to husband. Have him reply “that tastes like a real marshmallow” excitedly. Bang head against table at the realization he still doesn’t consider homemade goodies to be “real”.

 

Step 14: Bust out your favorite winter mug and make some hot chocolate. Add too many mallows. Decide all the steps were totally worth it.

November 7, 2011

Bueller?

Sorry I’ve been MIA … that post last week took it out of me.

Things in the world of Sarah have been a little bleak as of late. Too many arguments with the husband, too little attention, too much sadness. I don’t know if it’s the weather or just that I’m not wanting to take any of it right now, but the depression cycle is on a downswing.

Which is not to say there haven’t been highlights: Dinner with Cindy Saturday night was delicious … and the company was fantastic. =) The leaves are finally changing color (I was afraid the early snow would kill everything) … so looking out from our balcony is mesmerizing right now. My little sister is finally planning her wedding, and I am SUPER in love with everything she’s sending me. (Outdoor courtyard, at a boutique hotel they’ve rented out (28 rooms) … evening ceremony, nighttime reception. “Elegant but modern.” Black and white with kiwi green accents. GAH!) It’s so, so easy to be supportive when you like everything you see. I’d be supportive either way, but wow, this just makes my job that much easier.

Oh, and I stopped taking all my vitamins/supplements two weeks ago (having a gigantic hole in your mouth will make you wary of losing pills … especially when your dentist warns you about it!) and have lost almost 10 lbs. Clearly, one of those supplements is keeping a whole lot of water weight on me. Now … to figure out which one it is. Please let it not be the one that’s helping my back.

All this is to say, I miss you guys, and I’m not ignoring you. Just need to get back into the proper headspace.

Sometime this week, I promise a post on homemade mallows. =) 

November 3, 2011

Not There Yet

When Lauren posted her super-brave condemnation of the state of women’s equality yesterday, I was incensed. So much so that I couldn’t form coherent sentences.

Because every word she wrote was true.

In a world where women are supposedly “equal” WHY do we still have these issues? It’s a bunch of bullshit. We still have the men who don’t “lower themselves” to work with women. (This is going on at work right now with one of our contractors.) We still have people who assume it’s fine to refer to a woman as “Andy’s little girlfriend” in the workplace, instead of by her name. (Yep, that one was me. And even better, I wasn’t dating Andy.) Movies that include needless rape scenes, for shock value. (I’m looking at you “The Hills Have Eyes”.) Industries and communities where women are still marginalized. Where a presidential candidate can make a fool of himself paying off the women he’s harassed, and assume he can still win a nomination. Where, as Lauren said, we’ve been taught to keep our heads down, bite our lips, and tolerate it all … just to survive.

And then this, pulled from Twitter yesterday:

“sucks to have to be a rape survivor AND a rape joke survivor”

There is so, so much wrong with this I can barely think.

I’ve touched on it briefly in the past, but let’s get a little background, and a little detail:

A month before my 16th birthday I was raped. By my boyfriend. The boy who’d given me my first kiss, pursued me and made me feel wanted, and then gotten very, very angry when I refused to have sex with him. 3 days after my laughing refusal (I’d thought it was a joke) he drugged my drink* while at a party, and spirited me off to an empty room. He was interrupted after who-knows-how-long by a friend who’d come looking for a sweatshirt. Said friend chased him off, covered me up, and told the girl giving the party to call my mom and let her know I’d stayed over. (He assumed, as did everyone else who noticed my absence, that I’d had too much to drink and passed out. In reality, I’d had no alcohol at all.) The next day, the boyfriend broke up with me via phone (without me fully comprehending what had happened) and started dating a mutual friend, who WOULD sleep with him.

That girl began a smear campaign against me, telling people not to belive a word I said, I was just jealous that he’d dumped me for her. (To this day, I’m not sure if she knew.) Having nearly everyone around you laugh at you for “making up” a trauma? Not exactly helpful during the healing process. But the worst part was yet to come.

Three months after, I confided what had happened to a good friend. Turns out, good friend knew him – they played soccer together. Apparently, during practices, he’d been bragging about what he’d done to me, to a cheering audience. My friend said “I had no idea he was talking about you.”

Let me repeat that. He raped me. And then he bragged about it. And his teammates cheered him on.

What the fuck is wrong with the world when RAPE is a form of amusement? When authorities can’t, or aren’t willing to do anything to help me, though there was a confession? When the media continues to tell girls (enough that it even got in my head) “it’s how you dress, how you act, how you speak … you brought this on yourself” and “boys will be boys, we just have to bear it.”

It’s bullshit. BULLSHIT.

But it can swing wildly in the opposite direction, too. When, three years later, I bolted from a freshman seminar about date rape, a counselor followed me. She was welcoming and comforting, and encouraged me to come back after the seminar was over, to talk to the presenter one-on-one. So I did. Only to be badgered by said presenter to “Take it to the police! It’s your duty as a woman!! We can’t let men get away with this kind of thing!!” It took 45 minutes to get away from her, and changing my phone number (“helpfully” provided to her by the school) to finally get her to leave me alone completely.

Because here’s the thing … I DON’T THINK MEN, AS A WHOLE, ARE THE PROBLEM. I think SOCIETY is. The fucking permissive, look-the-other-way, make-everthing-a-joke (and call everyone who doesn’t find it funny stuck up) society that we live in … the one that undervalues women in every way (the glass ceiling, women’s health rights, equal rights etc.) … that allows the assholes (male AND female) who actually THINK THAT WAY to do as they please with very little consequence.

Hell, my boss and I had a conversation today about a past harassment charge she’d brought against someone … only to be told by her female HR rep “You really don’t want to do this. You’ve been here 8 years, why would you do this?”

WHAT?!

How do we fix this? How? Lauren is in her space yelling and not taking it, and I do the same here (and in person … I regularly get into it on the street. I don’t take shit from people. Period.). I know many of you do the same. But how do we get it out there? How do we make our voices heard by more than the unlucky few who choose to cross us? How do we take this thing we all know to be so, so wrong, and CHANGE it?

“They” say to be the change. The hard part is finding the place to start.

 

* Little known fact about rohypnol – you’re not actually unconscious. If someone props you up and walks … you’ll walk with them. You look very, very drunk. Which is one of the more terrifying aspects of the drug … no one will notice anything wrong. And while I wasn’t aware of it while it was happening, I have very, VERY vivid memories of that night. So, I don’t stand for “well, date rape isn’t REAL rape” either.