Wednesday, October 23, 2019

Proud of You, BB ...Keep Going :)

So, I'm already emotional today, over my dog (see below post, if I haven't removed it yet) - but my husband, Mark, thought I needed some good news  - thus forgive me if I'm perhaps overly joyful with this news lol. 

Well, not really, because I'd still be happy over it, but you know how when you're feeling sad and something good happens to someone you like, and it makes you feel at least a little less sad? :)

So, some may recall that I mentioned a "young man" in a previous post (I won't link it to now, with such great news) - this young man was a former intern for my husband while in high school - the son of a coworker at FCPS.  

We love his mom, but him  being her son was actually a knock against him at first, when my husband was selecting interns, because he didn't want to choose based on connections alone.  

However, B blew him away on his own right - he had the grades, the skills, the work ethic, and the references, and he interviewed like a pro at 16 years old :)

He was the only one of the 3 interns that showed up every day, early in fact - rain or shine, did whatever he was asked to do instead of playing video games, and solved IT problems on his own right.  B was/is special and we saw it, even at 16 :)

When he comes back from college for the summer, he still interns for IT central office at FCPS and everyone just adores him - and my husband has given him career advice (which is always much easier to do in hindsight, isn't it? What pitfalls to avoid, etc. lol) - so he and my husband are fairly tight, my husband was like mentor/uncle to him.  In fact, B helped us move, a few years ago, come to think of it :) 

So BB, if you ever get bored or homesick and read here, again ... 
According to your mother, I understand you were accepted into the prestigious program you wanted (we knew you would)... 
... AND a well-known social media agency picked up sponsorship for your white paper research on Russian bots and want to publish it? 
 ...AND you were one of 3 Ohio college students who were invited (at the last minute) to the DNC Dem debate, last week, in Ohio?
... AND at that debate, one particular well-known candidate (don't worry, won't say her name) sought you out and said, "I've heard good things about you?" and you have pictures with all of them?
What? WHAT?  That's crazy!  In the best of ways! 
Oh my gosh, we couldn't be happier for you - everyone at FCPS is so proud of you! (Yes, even Trump Republicans.) 
See?  Didn't we tell you "ghost" girl was a blip on the screen of your life, to focus on your studies and career - at this rate, in a few years, she'll be kicking herself, you wait and see ;) 
I also understand you now have 2 choices - politics or law enforcement.  You didn't ask, but maybe the latter, then the former? Build a rep first, then run?   
Whatever you do, I know you have a big heart AND a big brain - don't EVER lose that balance.  
You're gonna see a lot of things, in this world, you'd probably rather not see - don't let them jade you, any more than you ended up letting "ghost girl" jade you. 
Name the price you'll pay for the life you want, and don't go 1 moral step past it - your integrity is never worth what you may be asked to do, to obtain it.  
PS - Again, in a few years, when you finish your program, I'd be proud to put in a good word for you with my daughter lol - but that's still a few years off - because right now, both of you have too many things to accomplish first :)  
 Mark and Me.

Thursday, October 17, 2019

Keeping Elijah Cummings' Hope Alive, Despite Our Grief: In Remembrance of Elijah - "This Little Light of Mine (Let It Shine)" :)

Once upon a time, during the Baltimore riots, Congressman Elijah Cummings got on a bullhorn, telling people this is not the way - then locked arms with his constituents singing
"This Little Light of Mine (Let It Shine)" ... and succeeded in getting others to join in, nearly single-handedly quieting the riots.

Cummings was old school - he preferred to handle things Martin Luther King's way, the peaceful, civil-disobedience way ;)

FYI, Ignorant Deplorables, disparaging Elijah - Elijah was one of few Democrats from Congress to attend Trump's inauguration, in the interest of peace and unity, as well as a public demonstration of acceptance of America's decision and at least giving Trump a chance.

Unfortunately, Trump blew that chance Elijah gave him - several times over.

Particularly when he targeted Elijah a few months ago on Twitter, when they disagreed about upping congressional aid to Israel (already receiving the 3rd largest amount of funding, to become the 1st).

Trump tweeted Elijah was from a "rat infested" district and that he, and other members of congress of color, needed to "go back to where he (they) came from."

For those who don't know this Southern gospel hymn, there are 3 styles of it in the video below, and it is based on the bible verse Matthew 5:14-16:

14 “You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden.
15 Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house.
16 In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven."
Thus, after Trump trolls had taken over at the WaPo with their hate, disparaging Elijah even at death - I wrote the below comment.

The responses/replies that continue to come in since I made this screen shot, brought more tears to my eyes - but instead of tears of grief, now I cry tears of hope: )

Yes, his death is doubly hard-hitting, as it also horrible timing, as he was on the House oversight committee and instrumental in impeachment, as he was well respected as a man of integrity and considered fair, by both parties - but we cannot lose hope and get bogged down in fear of "What's gonna happen now?"   

Elijah wouldn't want us to - that is NOT the way Elijah lived his life.

Elijah would want us to keep going, twice as strong now, carrying on with his legacy.

In fact, what Elijah would want us to do instead is sing his beloved Southern Gospel song of hope together :)

So ... you can sing it the upscale Harvard a capella way ...

... or the Mississippi delta blues way, with a electric bass guitar ...


Or you can sing it my preferred way (Southern roots) and Elijah's way - the original way - starting out slow, with nothing but 1 soulful soloist and a piano, ending with a full-on Southern gospel choir, soulful voices, getting faster and faster singing in harmony.

Get on up, now - on your feet ... :)

... your style choice, doesn't matter - just keep letting that light shine - Just. Keep. Singing. LET. IT. SHINE! :)

Sunday, October 13, 2019

My Squirrel Buddy, Gibbley ...

So, this is my little squirrel buddy, Gibbley, who comes every day for a small share of the sunflower seeds with this birds at 9:00 a.m. and 5:30 p.m. sharp - I took this picture literally as close to her as the picture looks  :)

It took about a month for us to get to this point, though - she knows I won't try to catch or touch her, just feed her :)

She began visiting each day in late July, when we discovered she was trying to feed her babies in the tree, and she discovered that I left sunflower seeds out for the birds every day:)  

She's an unusually very considerate squirrel - she eats only her  small share in the corner, right along side the birds - she doesn't chase them off and they don't chase her off :)

Sometimes, she'll even lay on her belly for a while in the sun after she's full - however, I only got 3 pics this morning because Brookie noticed her and barked and she climbed up to the roof again until I quieted Brookie, then climbed back down and I went inside to let her eat quietly ;)

If I'm busy with work and all the morning seeds are gone, she'll sit on the deck balcony on her haunches and look at me through the big picture window and patiently wait until I come out :)

If I'm already outside, sitting under the covered portion of my balcony, she'll peek down at me from the roof or the hook in the gutter drain pipe  - upside down - as if to say, "Hi, I'm here - is now a good time for a visit?"

Then I greet her, so she knows it's okay  - then she'll climb down fully and sit on the balcony and I go inside to get her seeds :)

In fact, now, she lets me walk right up to her and put the seeds out if the birds have eaten them all - but only me for some reason - not my husband, not Snuggy Pug, and definitely not Brookie - who believe me, takes an active interest in what Gibbley is doing outside ... this is her having quieted and just watching Gibbley in Sheltie shepherdess pose ;)

I actually have two that come visit - Gibbley with a fluffy tail, and Twitch - who has a thinner tail, doesn't come as often, and twitch is a little bit more skittish and twitchy-tailed than Gibbley (thus the name). 

Not really sure why I named her Gibbley, probably because I wasn't sure if she was male or female at first (she's a mama, feeding her babies), but always said, "Good morning, have you come for your little share of gibblets for you and your babies?"

She likes me to talk to her/greet her - in fact, she won't begin eatin the seeds until I say, "Good morning, Gibbley.  How are you today, darling? You may have those seeds, go on, darling, they're for you, it's okay. we won't hurt you." :)

Saturday, October 12, 2019

Top 5 Reasons to Watch College Game Day, Even If Not a Football Fan (and Sig Ep Salute to John Goodman Today)

(*PS added*)

First of all, like I have a choice, in this house - my husband already has on his Michigan State shirt from the moment he woke up (playing Wisconsin today) lol.

And what else is there to watch on Saturday morning besides cartoons, if you're an adult? (Well, okay, we all watch cartoons every now and then, like Sponge Bob. And there's a new one called Mighty Mike I've watched recently, about a pug, that I watch as a as a pug parent, because their brand of CGI animation gets the pug expressions right - but shhh, don't tell anyone lol).

But the truth is, even if you don't care much for football (me), you watch for other reasons:

#5) What will make Desmond Howard laugh :)

I love people that laugh easily, and Desmond is one of those people - he the first one to laugh at whatever event happens live - funny, awkward, scary, or just plain weird, it doesn't matter - it prompts Desmond to laugh, he can't help himself.

Everyone's sitting there speechless, with their mouths open, like, "What just happened?" - and Desmond just starts giggling at the awkwardness of the situation itself - and thus manages to smooth it all over with his contagious laugh :)

#4) The "You Had One Job" segment, in which someone within the sports industry will have unfortunately embarrassed themselves by somehow botching their "you-had-one-job" shining moment - they're not all play moments (sometimes the band, the cheerleaders, the crowd, the stadium staff are included) - and they get better as they count down :)

#3) To see the ridiculous, random, and hilarious signs from the crowd in the background ...

Hey now, step off Harbaugh - he's most likely my cousin, and I'm pretty sure he never pays for a dang thing, as the head coach of the University of Michigan Wolverines lol

Okay, so - according to a few years ago, I'm supposedly somehow likely distantly related to the Former San Francisco 49-ers coach, current University of Michigan Wolverines coach (and former Western Kentucky University coach),as well as former Michigan star quarterback and Rose Bowel champion, Jim "Mr. Khakis" Harbaugh, as well as his brother, Baltimore Ravens coach, John Harbaugh - through my great-great-great grandmother, Martha Harbaugh, whose parents immigrated to Maryland in the 1700s.

Do you see a family resemblance between us?

Yeah, no - though that's a crappy, fuzzy cell phone photo - we don't see a resemblance either lol. Like I said, very distantly related lol.

Back to the signs - half the time you're like, "What does that even mean?" But it still makes you laugh :)

Thank God that CGD has apparently finally established some crowd control and put the kibosh on political and politico-religious signs right up front/on camera, this year, as well as particularly nasty/mean signs rather than ridiculous trash talk - the political, condemning religious, and general meanness of signs was getting out of control.

(Purely religious signs are apparently still allowed camera time - IF - they are hopeful and positive rather than condemning and/or politically associated.)

CGD is known for funny sports trash talk, not nasty, mean, political BS - and Desmond and Kirk Herbstreit are not social media fans and anti-cyberbullying advocates. Thus, exerting a bit more crowd control is a good thing so we can return to normalcy and at least all get a break from the nasty political climate for a couple of hours when watching this show :)

#2) Which mascot head 84-year-old ESPN CGD commentator and former coach, Lee Corso, will choose for the win ...

That man is 84 years old and still as tough AND silly as ever. However, during this exchange between Lee (who had chosen the LSU tigers) vs Matthew McConnaughey (Texas Longhorns fan), my money was still on Lee ...

#1) Speaking of Matthew McConnaughey, the top reason to watch College GameDay is to see who the guest picker will be and what they will do on live TV - and this week, they are in Baton Rouge for the LSU/Florida game, and hat the guest celebrity picker (at the end of the show) will be the much beloved resident of nearby New Orleans, actor/comedian/musician, John Goodman.

Who doesn't love John Goodman, I ask you?

Whether it's his TV role that shot him to stardom Roseanne ...

... who not only survived, but miraculously managed to nearly single-handedly carry the show with continued strong ratings, despite Roseanne's - erm - abrupt dismissal (and total public insanity), and a show name change to The Conners.

Or you're a Coen Brothers' movies fan, maybe it's his memorable big-screen performance as a Coen Brothers' movies featured actor, particularly as Walter in The Big Lebowski ...

(Even when he tries to play a jerk or psycho, you still can't help but like him.)

Or his 28 appearances on Saturday Night Live, hosting it 13 times (third place at number of times hosting, behind only Alec Baldwin and Steve Martin) ... to include memorable cameos as "friend" of Monica Lewinsky and Ken Starr paid political plant, Linda Tripp ...

Though hard to find clips, the here's a link to one of the old-opens from SNL in 1998 with John Goodman as Monica Lewinsky's "friend" and "whistleblower," Linda Tripp, who secretly recorded her conversations with Monica Lewinsky for Ken Starr, admittedly for money (which she used to get plastic surgery) in attempt to get Bill Clinton impeached - hilarious both because it's proof of how Republican definitions of impeachable offense, hearsay/admissible evidence, political conspiracy/hack job, and whistle-blower protection laws are not only politically biased and change if it's someone in their party - and because it's just hilarious in general.

And of course, his recent stints as Rex Tillerson. Here's one, during better times for former Exxon Oil CEO, Rex, as Secretary of State (before Trump fired him via Twitter), with his oil buddy, Vladimir Putin (whom he affectionately calls "Puti." ;) ...

He is on my list of celebrities who have never let fame go to their head and appear genuine, and you could totally see as your best friend next door/more genuine type of people. (Examples on this list include Jimmy Fallon, James Cordon, Maya Rudolph, Rebel Wilson, Emma Stone.)

We knew that he lived in New Orleans (which gives him extra points, one of my favorite cities in America, which we may visit at Christmas), but weren't sure if he went to college/why else he's at the LSU/Florida game?

Turns out he actually went to Missouri State and is just an LSU fan (Baton Rouge is just an hour from NOLA) - but what we didn't know until today is that John Goodman is a member of the same college fraternity my husband pledged - Sigma Phi Epsilon - John Goodman's a Sig Ep, too :)

(Not to be confused with Sigma Alpha Epsilon, also sometimes called Sig Eps).

The Sig Ep creed is "building balanced men" - which apparently means different things to different colleges and different regions, but it's important that you have well-rounded interests, not just one thing.

For example, in the Midwest and Mid-South (and most regions), Sig Eps value being strong in both mind and body, both smart and athletic (i.e., John Goodman was on football scholarship at Missouri State at the time), as well as a bit of a bad ass when pushed that you don't want to mess with - including athletes Orel Hersheiser, Bill Brown, Rich Gannon, Sean Casey, John Matusak, Bobby Hurley, John Fina and basketball creator, James Naismath were Sig Eps - as well as military pilots and astronauts, including highly-decorated air force pilot (from Detroit, like my husband) Ivan Kincheloe, Major General Anthony McAuliffe, astronaut Karol J Bobko

Also true in the Midwest/Midsouth (like John Goodman), but particularly true for northeast and West, Sig Eps are known more for strong minds, being smart and also funny, rather than smart and athletics - examples are WSJ editor, Robert Bartley, as well as Dr. Seuss and Conan O'Brien's sidekick, Andy Richter, are former Sig Ep, as were actors Carroll O'Conner and Joe Don Baker.

Though Sigma Phi Epsilons were founded in Confederate capital, Richmond, Virginia, the Sig Eps today are of both political parties, to include current and former politicians in both parties in many states - but they are are most often moderates rather than extremists, on both political sides.

However, northern and more urban chapters are predominantly moderate liberals, and were among the first fraternities to accept Jewish brothers as members, as well as people of color.

For example, my husband, a Sig Ep at Michigan State, had 6 Jewish brothers, 3 African American brothers, 1 East Indian brother, and 1 Muslim brother (from Iran, in fact, in the 80s), and even 1 openly gay brother - which was a huge deal in the 1980s - all MSU athletes with straight A's, mind you.

Again, as is the national trend, they are typically known for being liberal in bigger cities - thus in 2014, they were the very first former college fraternity to openly accept LGBTQ brothers nationally as a policy - as long as you represent the core fraternity character values :)

HOWEVER - there are still some colleges in the Midsouth, Midwest, and especially Deep South where Sig Eps have a notorious reputation for racism, aggressive/dangerous hazing, and aggression towards women - thus, much like other campuses where these events have been increasing since 2007 - the Sig Eps have have been kicked off Southern campuses 17 times for extreme hazing, drug-date rape/aggression towards women, and racism. As you can see in this link, these incidents are mostly in chapters in the mid and deep south.

The most notorious of these incidents was performed by 3 Southern Si Eps at the University of Mississippi's campus in 2014 - for admittedly putting a noose around the neck of the statue of James Meredith ...

... who in 1962, became the first African American student to attend college at Ole Miss, whose first day of attendance received international media attention for needing to be escorted to class by the federal troops for his own protection and to ensure he was allowed to class ...

Exactly how full of racist hate are you, if even Ole Miss finds you too racist???

My husband was horrified and completely ashamed that anyone from his frat, in any region, would do these things; and thus, he does not mention he's a Sig Ep while living here in Kentucky or deeper South because he doesn't want any association with that noise/those type of people.

As an officer for his Michigan State chapter, he helped kick out a few pledges and frat brothers by frat jury, deciding that despite their socioeconomic status or what the police decided to do/overlook, they took sexual assault seriously, and if they independently felt their behavior with women or people of color was inappropriate, unacceptable, inappropriate, and incompatible with fraternity character values and representation - they were out of the fraternity - regardless of what the authorities or university itself chose to do :)

If fact, despite Michigan State's recent sexual assault problems - which so disgusted Mark and his brothers, especially the way MSU covered up for Dr. Larry Nassar, that they refused to wear/watch any MSU alumni gear for 2 years until there was staff turnaround.

Mmy husband tells a specific story, confirmed by 2 of his frat brothers, where they caught a Sig Ep visiting from another university sexually assaulting a woman in the act, when they heard her screaming for help and that he'd locked her in his room, busting down the door.

The girl refused to go to the authorities or either university (MSU or the university he was transferring from), knowing what happens when you do (and rightfully fearing the guy's privilege and power) and half-blaming herself for being alone with him and having a few drinks.

Mark and his brothers felt partially responsible, because the woman felt safe to be alone in the frat house with the new pledge, because she trusted them - at the time, the Sig Ep reputation with women at Michigan State was stellar.)

So the brothers had a meeting, told him they knew there was no chance for his Sig Ep-ship to transfer to MSU, they knew he had done this, and they gave him a chance to turn himself in to campus authorities at both universities.

Of course, he didn't - and repeatedly declared his innocence.

Because they felt partially responsible because the girl trusted them, as well as because they didn't want to see him rape again, they turned him in to campus authorities themselves.

However, as per usual, both universities pointed fingers at the other for jurisdiction, and campus authorities ultimately blamed the victim for being alone with him and drinking, so nothing was done - and they turned the other way because of the rapist's wealthy-family status and good grades, despite eye witnesses - exactly what the girl feared would happen and why she didn't come forward herself

Thus, not only did my husband and his brothers make sure the rapist did not transfer to MSU and was kicked out of their fraternity nationwide - but they delivered their own brand of MSU/Detroit vigilante justice that rapist will never forget, too ;)

It always amazing to me that everyone from the victim to bystanders are the ones left carrying around all the responsibility, guilt, and shame for rest of their lives - everyone but the rapist or abuser themselves, and their dysfunctional "family" of enablers :(

Regardless, this news that John Goodman was also a Sig Ep made my husband happy, there's a brother he can be proud of - so my husband, who sends a big Sig Ep salute and some sort of secret handshake he refuses to share with me, but it's all good lol.


PS - I just discovered that Desmond Howard got in a bit of language trouble in August and had to issue an apology - but I actually found it hilarious - but then I got the joke.

It's not his own, his quoting a Wayne Brady/Dave Chappelle skit, which is a parody of the Denzel Washington/Ethan Hawke movie, "Training Day," in which Denzel Washington play a dirty cop, abusing his power and trying to straight-laced Ethan Hawke dirty/take him down with him.

Wayne Brady and Dave Chapelle both had shows on Comedy Central. Dave Chappelle (back when still essentially sane and funny) had a reputation for sometimes being difficult and pushing the censor envelope, but Wayne Brady was a clean-cut, clean-mouthed comedian, always playing it safe.

Dave invited Wayne on his show as a guest star, where they made a parody of the Denzel Washington movie,"Training Day" - the point being that Hollywood was asking the audience to suspend their disbelief too far, asking them to believe that famously clean, good-guy both onscreen and off, Denzel Washington, was now playing a he dirty psychopath cop in Training Day - by doing the same with their own reputations.

Thus, clean-cut, good guy, Wayne Brady would now play Denzel's bad-boy character, and foul-mouthed, sometimes offensive, Dave Chapelle, would play Ethan Hawke's straight-man character, in total shock and horror about Wayne's behavior lol.

As they ride through town, Wayne gets out like a semi-automatic and just starts shooting people, and being that the character is also a pimp, says out the car window to some prostitutes who didn't give him enough money (referring to himself in third person): "Is Wayne Brady gonna have to choke a bitch? Am I gonna have to get up out of this car and choke a bitch?"

For the more ignorant/racist white people who don't understand that black people don't have individual personalities the same as we do - the reason it's funny - is that asking the audience to believe that Denzel Washington OR Wayne Brady could ever say or do any of these street thug things is absolutely absurd and hilarious - it's asking the audience to suspend their disbelief too far.

Okay, so Desmond Howard - who, like Denzel Washington and Wayne Brady - is also known for being a mild-mannered, clean-mouthed, extremely friendly and nice/good guy that everyone loves - is also a former Heisman trophy winner as a star wide receiver from the University of Michigan, right?

Well, though they're getting better, at the beginning of this year, Harbaugh's Michigan Wolverines were terrible. I mean, terrible. No, really (Sorry, cousin Harbaugh.)

So when his colleague, Rece Davis, asks him what it's going to take for Michigan to make a splash and beat their archrival, Ohio State, this year - Desmond jokingly responds with a reference to the Wayne Brady skit: "I don't kn ... is Desmond Howard gonna have to choke a bitch?"

Note that Rece, Herb, and even Lee Corso laughed - and that is because they know that would be so out of character for Desmond and got the joke/reference.

C'mon, people - and I'm talking to both the conservative racists AND the liberal women who got upset - lighten up!

The entire point of that Wayne Brady/Dave Chappelle sketch and Desmond's joke was how ironic and unbelievable it was that someone like Denzel Howard, Wayne Brady - OR Desmond Howard - could ever do street thug things!

Not that Denzel, Wayne, or Desmond couldn't whup some ass, if they wanted to (and have) - it's just that they're good guys, on screen and off :)

Which of course you would already know, if you weren't racist, the only black people you knew personally and well weren't the ones you saw on the news, and understood that just because people have black skin doesn't mean they don't have individual personalities, just the same as we do.

Okay - quicker translation for the ignorant, racist sort of white people mentioned above, who were the most upset by the joke - it's the same as asking the audience to believe Tom Hanks was dirty cop and psychopath in a movie - get it now?

The mere fact that we have to explain this joke and reference to so many white people who thought he was serious and didn't get the joke - because they don't understand that just because people have black skin doesn't mean they don't have individual personalities, just like we do - is proof that racism is still very much alive and well. 

I didn't see CGD that day, we were out and about, I just now heard about it and watch the clip - and I LMAO - but that's because I get the joke/reference, have black friends, and understand that they have individual personalities the same as us and don't all engage in violent, street thug behavior, and that Desmond Howard is an anti-thug - sorry you didn't get the joke!

Nevertheless, Desmond had to issue the first CGD apology of the season - oh, but there will be more - there always are - just not usually from Desmond. He's usually just the guy laughing at all of it :)

Monday, October 7, 2019

Pumpkin Spice Sugar Cookies: Channeling Both My Inner Julia Child AND Julia Sugarbaker ;)

So, I made these pumpkin spice sugar cookies the other day, using this recipe I found online (sorry about pic quality, just snapped a quick pic on the way out the other day) ...

They are SO good and everyone loved them so much, I may make them again and give them out on Halloween along with candy! 

Thank you "Big C" recipe lady at All Recipes! lol.

After watching Halloween Wars and Halloween Baking Championship on The Food Network, though we don't have time to decorate as we'd like, Mark decided he wanted to bake something, and I wondered if we could  try to make a pumpkin-spice/sugar cookie mix.

Just one problem - Mark doesn't cook or bake at all, and though  I'm a fairly good cook, I'm a terrible baker lol.  

Well, I mean, I'm fairly artistic/creative on the decorating part (when I have time), but the actual recipes themselves require more precision - you can't be as creative, and just add a little of this or that, during the process, like regular cooking or writing or artwork, instead you have to use exact measurements and be precise until it's baked, then taste it to see if you like it, then decide what  it needs next time.

Plus I've never had much of sweet tooth - cakes and pies are usually too rich for me (these cookies even pushed it).  Not a big fan of cakes or pies - soft drinks, ice cream or cookies, and maybe a little chocolate when I'm hormonal is the extent of my sweet tooth - everything else is too rich sugar wise?

So, I thought about winging it, but was a-feared lol - so we went looking to see if there was an existing, tried-and-true recipe and found THIS - and it was so easy, but SO good - turned out exactly as she said, half pumpkin pie, half sugar cookie, perfect combination of soft chewy and crisp!

I did add my own little glaze to it which set it off - confectioner's sugar, milk, drop of lemon extract - but make sure to keep it thin, they're already very rich.


PS - I can see certain individuals have hit my blog site several times, while I was away (comments are closed, mind you, due to persistent harassment by a certain individual) - perhaps hoping I'll be drawn into the civil war they're just chomping at the bit to have?

FYI - I haven't been to anyone's social media since early Saturday and I'm not going to - because I. Don't. Care lol.

As I said, you may have your little civil war, based on lies and distortions - without me, thanks :)

However, Republicans, I will be glad to share these cookies with you, too - IF - you finally remember how to do the right thing (for America and in general) and GROW. A. PAIR!

Geez, what a bunch of wusses the GOP is today.

No need for we of the left to "p----fy" you with Gillette commercials (*snicker*), you all willingly emasculate yourselves with fear of standing up to Trump lol.

Dang - once upon a time, in this country, we had men and women who were willing to be ordered to their deaths for standing up against tyranny and for our constitution and this country - but you wusses in the GOP today are afraid of what Trump might say about you on his Twitter page? 

Regardless of how this impeachment thing turns out, in the long run, he'll go down in history as an unconstitutional traitor, tyrant bully and criminal, and you'll be remembered and cowards and traitor sympathizers - or brave, true patriots, for standing up against the bully - what's it going to be?

You're so short-sighted - how would you prefer to go down in the annals of history versus Trump's Twitter page today?

You were supposedly all about "conservative," strict interpretation and adherence to the constitution during Obama's administration ...

... now you don't care if our president ignores the supreme law of the land that is our constitution and openly asks foreign governments to meddle in our elections?

Any illegal, immoral, dishonest, deceitful thing is okay with you - just so long as the white, straight, supposedly "Christian," anti-abortion male wins - is that about right?

Oh, "patriots and Christians" my arse, GOP - the fact that you only care about the supreme law of the land that is our constitution when it's a Democrat in office proves that you are nothing more than political prostitutes for hire.

At least Mitt Romney and Colin Powell had the cajones to put their country first, go Mitt and Colin!

(Btw, Trump, not everything is about winning and dominating - some things are more important. Mitt clearly has more character and cajones than you and refused to stoop as low as you do, to win - and good on him for not doing so, when he could have.)

Like I said, my plan is to hibernate until this impeachment thing has been decided one way or the other, because Trumpers and believing their own lies remind me of a bunch of 10-year-old girls at a slumber party, scaring themselves with ghost stories they just made up themselves.

If that's the case, and these are my choices - Trumpers and their crazy, proofless conspiracy theories VS. preteen slumber-party ghost stories - I choose preteen ghost stories and spooky movies - because even the bad ones on SyFy make more sense and are definitely more fun than Trumpers lol.

* Thus ends my Julia Sugarbaker-style rant LOL - but here's a real one from Julia/Dixie Carter in 1992*

It's just as relevant today as it was in 1992, perhaps even more so - I genuflect to the master of passionate political tirades - put your hands together for the master, Julia "The Terminator" Sugarbaker :)

JULIA: (irritated) "No, Mr. Brickett. I have not forgotten. I was just thinking that you seem to have forgotten the phrase 'Separation of church and state,' but the one thing I did forget was just how divisive, dishonest, and distasteful someone like you can be. I've sat here today and listened to you pander to these people, but you don't actually care about them, or you wouldn't be sitting here reinforcing their ignorance and prejudices."
BRICKETT: "You heard that, Caller. She just called you ignorant and prejudiced!"

JULIA: (angrily) "I do not think everyone in America is ignorant! Far from it! But we are today, probably, the most uneducated, under-read, and illiterate nation in the western hemisphere. Which makes it all the more puzzling to me why the biggest question on your small mind is whether or not little Johnny is gonna recite the Pledge of Allegiance every morning!"

"I'll tell you something else, Mr. Brickett - I have had it up to here with you and your phony issues and your Yanky Doodle yakking!"

"If you like reciting the Pledge of Allegiance everyday then I think you should do it! In the car! In the shower! Wherever the mood strikes you! But don't try to tell me when or where I have to say or do or salute anything, because I am an American too, and that is what being an American is all about!"

"And another thing - I am sick and tired of being made to feel that if I am not a member of a little family with 2.4 children who goes just to Jerry Fallwell's church and puts their hands over their hearts every morning that I am unreligious, unpatriotic, and un-American!!"

"Because I've got news for you, Mr. Brickett - all liberals are not kooks, anymore than all conservatives are fascists!"
 "And the last time I checked, God was neither a Democratic nor a Republican!"
"And just for your information, yes I am a liberal - but I am also a Christian. And I get down, on my knees, and pray - everyday. On my own turf, on my own time."

"One of the things that I pray for, Mr. Brickett, is that people with power will get good sense, and that people with good sense will get power - and that the rest of us will be blessed with the patience and the strength to survive the people like you in the meantime!!"

Friday, October 4, 2019

PS - Why Has Emily, The Subway Soprano, Captivated Us All? This Scene From The Shawshank Redemption Describes It Best ...

I said in my first post on Emily Zamourka, that her soulful rendition of Puccini's "O Mio Babbino Caro" in the subway and her situation ...

... reminded me of Fantine in Les Miserables. And of course her unlikely, overnight discovery reminded us all of Susan Boyle's legendary rendition of Fantine's song, "I Dreamed a Dream," from Les Miserables. 

However, there's something else to it ...

I think the opera scene from Shawshank Redemption describes it best ...


 The scene where innocent and wrongly convicted of murdering his wife (it was a random psycho who murdered her), prisoner and former finance whiz, Andy Dufresne (Tim Robbins), is in the warden's office, fixing the books for the warden, who is embezzling money.  

While the guard is in the bathroom, Andy locks the guard in the bathroom and himself in the Warden's office and plays the duet aria from The Marriage of Figaro over the PA system, though music was disallowed for the prisoners. 

The effect it had on everyone, in such a corrupt, angry, violent, political place, is narrated by Andy's best friend and fellow inmate, Red (Morgan Freeman) ... 

"I have no idea to this day what those two Italian ladies were singing about. Truth is, I don’t want to know. Some things are better left unsaid."

"I’d like to think they were singing about something so beautiful, it can’t expressed in words, and it makes your heart ache because of it."

"I tell you, those voices soared higher and farther than anybody in a grey place dares to dream ..."
"It was as if some beautiful bird had flapped into our drab little cage and made these walls dissolve away ... and for the briefest of moments ... every last man in Shawshank felt free."
  ~"Red" (Morgan Freeman), The Shawshank Redemption -

(Which many people don't know was written by Stephen King - yes, that Stephen King - of horror pop fiction fame.

Update on Emily Zamourka, The Subway Soprano (and Officer Frazier) - and Other Once-Homeless Celebrities :)

If you haven't seen/heard Emily sing in the subway yet, see the original video Officer Frazier took 2 posts below or HERE.

Officer Frazier at first declined to be publicly named or have his face on camera, both because he's a LAPD cop and because he says it wasn't about him, it was about her.  

However, after Emily has landed a record deal with Joel Diamond and over $100,000 in donations, Emily insisted she get to thank and hug him personally on video.

And here is that reunion moment  (to see the full video/hear what she's saying Officer Frazier, you can view the video via Twitter at the LAPD website :)


Here's a bit more about her backstory - including a video from 2 years ago, plus friends and fans - confirming that she was, in fact, homeless - but did not become homeless as of 2 years ago. 

Yes, homeless people can have normal friends, even family - in addition to the common misconception that all or even most homeless people are lazy, addicted and/or mentally ill, there is also the misconception that all homeless people have no one, that society has rejected them. 

Though those things can be true - many homeless people, especially in LA, do have family and friends.

They either don't tell friends, family, and work colleagues how much they're struggling so as not to worry them or they do not want to burden others financially by living with them for too long/be obligated to them, they want to do it themselves - especially someone like Emily, who has no idea when or if she'll ever get paid again.

She actually earned her living as a violinist.  

Then, two years ago, her prized possession that paid the bills, her violin, was grabbed by a thief (to sell), and when bystanders caught up with the thief, he smashed it into bits. 

She bought a small electric violin to still make performance gigs, but was shoved off a bus, breaking her wrist, and she could no longer play.  

(You break a wrist at 20 as a violinist, it's a long road back, but can recover and play again - but you break a wrist in your 50s, you're done.)

Already stringing together gigs to pay bills, she went under and became homeless in LA.

Her discovery is unusual, but the fact that she was a homeless singer (especially in LA) is not.  

Celebrities such as Chris Pratt, Halle Berry, Hillary Swank, Daniel Craig, Kelly Clarkson, Steve Harvey, Drew Carey, Jim Carrey, Tyler Perry, Tiffany Haddish, Sylvester Stallone, Sam Worthington, Idris Elba, and even Director James Cameron were once homeless.

But it's not just artistic people - also Steve Jobs, Dr. Phil, finance guru, Suzie Orman, and millionaire businessman, Chris Gardner and his son were homeless and hid it, while he dressed in suits to take part in a finance training program, inspiring the movie "The Pursuit of Happiness."

Thursday, October 3, 2019

Story of Hope: Emily Zamourka: The LA Homeless Subway Soprano ...

... just landed a recording contract :)   

If you haven't seen it yet, grab your tissue and be prepared to be moved to tears - it's beautiful :) 

This all began when an LAPD officer filmed 52-year-old, Emily Zamourka, a homeless woman, singing Puccini's "O mio babbino caro" from his phone and the LAPD posted this to their website.   She says she likes to sing in the subway because of the acoustics :)

Amen :)

For some reason, not knowing her full story - she calls to my mind "Fantine" from "Les Miserables." 

She says she came to America from Russia to study to be an opera singer, but things did not quite work out the way she imagined, as is often the case - especially in LA.

After Trump has essentially declared war on/demonized homeless people, it's nice to see the real face of the homeless - they are not always addicted, crazy, lazy people as they've been demonized. Sometimes they're homeless after abuse or trauma, too.

But often, there are still many, many people living paycheck to paycheck, and thus are just one paycheck away from homelessness.

Some are saying it's not a true story, just based on how clean/well-kempt she is. I say it's possible - but it's also true you can't always tell someone is homeless just from looking. 

I speak from experience -  I was homeless for 8 months during the recession myself - and I wasn't alone.

Shelters were full of people just like me, whose jobs were outsourced or they were laid off during the recession or who'd homes had been foreclosed upon - and you would've never known we were homeless to look at us.    

During the recession, other than being traumatized by these losses and the general experience of being homeless, these people were not crazy or addicted. At a time where families all were moving in together out of necessity, they either didn't have family or just didn't want to burden family and friends at all or for too long, if they couldn't find full-time work quickly. 

(In fact, I lived with a friend myself for 3 months first, but left and chose to be homeless -  fearing I was an extra burden at a time they were already burdened themselves.)

And 80% of them were either going to school or working, actually - menial jobs, part-time, because people were only hiring part-time during the recession - which was not enough to pay the rent. 

I hid that I was homeless to work except to my boss, already knowing the assumptions people make (proven when one person found out and I became news, and not in a good way). 

I was lucky - I scrapped together enough to get a deposit and find a roommate who was from New York City, hit hard by the recession herself in need of a roommate, and familiar with homelessness not being what people think.  The struggle wasn't over financially for either of us, but it was the beginning of the way out.

Three months later, I reluctantly began dating (slowly) my future husband, who had been a former CIO for a public school district in Detroit, who had moved here to horse country, when a series of repeated school budget cuts came, first cutting his staff and then his salary little by little  (under Betsy Devos' influence) - and knew himself how quickly it can all go, despite having a master's degree.

Then,  year later, we were living together - married in 2016 - and a very happy ending now :)

And IMO, by the looks of things, with the mortgage loan restrictions removed again  and corporate tax shelters greater than ever before, despite Trump singing a great economy, it's clearly not trickling down on the middle/lower classes, there are still many living paycheck to paycheck and medical insurance not paying enough on bills  - I think we're headed for another recession - probably by the time the next POTUS is in office, left holding the bag.

Don't forget, though homelessness is most often temporary, it's very difficult to get back up and LA is a trap - housing in California in general is astronomical, and once you get down, the odds are against you ever getting back up or getting out of the city - but also true is that many a celebrity today has once been homeless in LA, NY, and Nashville, too. 

BTW, they do shower at shelters and wash clothes there and often sleep there, if not full. 

Speaking of which, naysayers - supposedly it's legit - but keep in mind, this is per local politicians and record producers, who claim they doubted the story, too, but were impressed with her talent and wished to meet her - and they ended up having trouble tracking her down again, at first, but did find her on the streets. 

She's a bit overwhelmed with the sudden attention, at present (naturally) - don't forget the experience of homelessness is a trauma in and of itself - but I'm sure we will see her again soon :)