STICKY

PERHAPS WE LEARNED SOMETHING.....
…Perhaps we were only mildly entertained. Regardless, please enjoy these Reviews, Responses, Works of Fiction, and Retellings brought to you by one who hopes to someday join the ranks of those who have written something worth reading.
(Kaylia Metcalfe)

Motivation

Motivation, inspiration, whatever you call it.. that thing that makes you get up and go, sit down and create, go out and DO something...



Yeah. That.

Today I have many life projects.

Get out of debt.
Finish the novel.
Get funding for GCV.
Run a well organized house.

And today's topic:

Lose weight and get healthy.

More than just an abstract idea or vague desire... I am actually working on this and in doing so I realized I need to find my current motivation.

Current, yes. Because it changes over time.

At one time my motivation to eat well and stay healthy was to avoid the pitfall of an eating disorder.

Later it was to maintain my curves and ability to fit into "that" dress... the third date dress.

At one point it was to prepare my body for pregnancy.

Later it was to provide a healthy place for the baby growing inside me.

And then... and then I sort of lost motivation in terms of health. My priority was to keep getting up every morning and being a mom.

That, honestly, took all the energy I had.

But being a mom is getting... if not *easier* at least a bit more *known* and with the onset of this freakishly warm weather I realized that summer is going to be here before we know it.



I can't stay in my long sleeves and baggy sweatshirts until May and then panic... I need to be proactive now.

So.

Current motivation.

A family reunion.
A cousin's wedding.
The desire to not wear a maternity swimsuit to the pool this year.
To fit into my cute sundresses. (Maybe even bring "that" dress out of retirement....)
To attack my mid 30s with no regrets

Once more into the breach of working out and watching what I eat...

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Pride PAC Article Published

My first article for Pride PAC has been published.

Hooray!


The LGBT Family: Things ARE Getting Better.

Writer news: Published on Pride PAC

My first article for Pride PAC has been published.

Hooray!

One step further down the road of being a full time writer!

It might not be your cup of tea in terms of subject matter... but I sure would appreciate the clicks.

The LGBT Family: Things ARE Getting Better.





Enjoy!

Paper Towns





Paper Towns
By John Green



Don’t be fooled by the fact that our protagonist is in high school. This is not a YA book.

Instead, it is a wonderfully written examination of human goals, perceptions (both of self and others), ideas, and connections.

It is a coming of age story, a hero’s quest story, a road trip adventure story, and a story about life. With universal themes, witty dialogue, complex and yet toally believable characters, and an ending that is pitch perfect, this is a modern classic.

I cannot say enough good things, but I want to say something specific about the characters.

We have a host of high school troupes. We have the friendship dynamic, the boyfriend girlfriend dynamic, and we have the unrequited love dynamic. We have characters who fall under the LGBT umbrella who are fully accepted. Every single character is written in a realistic compelling way. These are people we know and people we wish we knew. The dialogue is so real (and at ties hilarious) that it is hard to believe that this is a book.

The plot is well paced with the story having clear acts that shift in tone and purpose but work together almost seamlessly. Incorporating literary classics like Walt Whitman’s “Song of Myself” as well as pay pop culture homage and use modern day tech (the internet plays a significant role) in a totally plausible way, the story manages to still be timeless.


I highly recommend this very quick read to anyone who has felt lost, anyone who has wanted to peer behind the sets of their own lives, anyone who has hidden behind a public mask.


The Dinner








The Dinner
By Herman Koch

(Not one of the Koch brothers)

Premise: Two couples have dinner and discuss their children. The entire book takes place at this meal. It is a story about parental sacrifice.

That… didn’t sound very interesting to me. However, the idea of the whole thing happeneing over the course of a many course meal… that was a bit intriguing from the narrative structure point of view.

Boy, am I glad I read this book.

First off, yes. The present day action all takes place around one meal. However, the author uses flashbacks ( a lot of flashbacks) to give context to the discussion and the action at the table. Thankfully we move back and forth easily; it is always obvious where in time we are.

Secondly, yes… sort of. This is a story about parental sacrifice. But it is so much more. It is about parental responsibilities and about human responsibilities. It is about legacy. It is about violence and repercussions. It is about turning a blind eye… or blinding oneself to avoid seeing.

There aren’t a lot of characters, but those that ae introduced, even the side character of the waiter, are given unforgettable details and quirks. The dialogue is fine, as far as it goes, but what really shines in this book is the story; the complicated, layered, and downright creepy story.

As the adults discuss, and pointidly don’t discuss, what it is their children have done (and not done), the onion is peeled letting us in deeper and deeper to what many would consider a parental nightmare.

Layers. That’s really what this book is about and what holds it all together so well. Layers. Layers of guilt, of action, of inaction… layers of the past, and in a shocking twist, layers of decisions and choices that affect the future.

I really don’t want to spoil any of the surprises for you… I highly recommend this book. Note: do not power read. This story, like a fine meal, is better savored and digested slowly. Trust me, barrel through and you will miss some of the wonderful subtlety and nuances that make this book a rare and delightful feast.

Any more food puns? Nah, I think I’ll stop.



Having Your Burger and Eating It Too!

I have ranted before about the importance of critical thinking and common sense.

Please allow me to do so again.

Thanks to Sheldon, I recently saw the below video and found it compelling enough to warrent a full blown blog post and not just the vastly easier "share" click.

Remember Morgan Spurkock and the whole "Supersize Me" craze? You know, he ate nothing but McDonalds food for a month, just one month, and he suffered terribly for it... weight gain, kidney damage, etc.



It was big news. The documentary got a LOT of pres and play and attention. His book sold millions. He got a TV show and then another TV show...

But guess what?

A high school science teacher replicated part of the "Supersize Me" experiment (for 90 days) and had vastly different results.

Watch it here.

In case you couldn't watch it, here's the breakdown:

90 days.
Only McDonald's food.

But weight loss and lower cholesterol!

How????

Simple: he made good choices. He limited his calories and chose healthy options (yes, they exist, even at McDonalds). He ate the "bad" food too... but he did it in moderation.

In Moderation.

A bit of a foreign concept to a lot of us.

(Me included, I cannot eat just one cookie, it is an ipossibe task.)

He also started walking for 45 minutes every day.

hmmm.

Watching nutrition... eating in moderation... and exercising (even a low impact exerise like walking)... and he lost weight and got healthier.

It isn't rocket science.

It isn't even pseudo science.

It is common sense.

"Our choices make us fat, not McDonalds"

Couldn't have said it better myself.

John Cisna, a science teacher at Colo Nesco school in Colo Iowa who did a Supersize Me diet for 90 days and actually lost 37 pounds.

An After and Before picture of John Cisna, a science teacher at Colo-Nesco school in Colo, Iowa, who ate a McDonald's diet for 90 days and actually lost 37 pounds.
Read more: 


Thank you, Glen Beck.

Will wonders never cease?

Ok world... I umm... ... this is hard to type.

Glen Beck just said something awesome.
Something supportive. Something that I can get behind.

I know, right? Hard to believe... but here you go:




Dear Russia,
When Glen Beck calls you crazy, you might need to rethink some things.

And by the way, the call for the gays to be burnt alive?
Yea, that really happened.

From the HuffPro:

Ivan Okhlobystin is a priest and actor who stars in Russia's version of "Scrubs" and voiced a character in 2012's "Snow Queen." On Sunday, he made homophobic statements during a "spiritual talk" in Siberia's Novosibirsk.

"I would have them all stuffed alive inside an oven. This is Sodom and Gomorrah, as a believer, I can not remain indifferent to this, it is a living danger to my children!" he said


If you can stomach it, here is the video clip:

So.

Yeah. Glen Beck: on the right side of the crazy.

Who had thunk it? 

Love Saves The Day




Told mostly through the perspective of a cat named Prudence, this novel was mostly a delight.

I have a low tolerance for the schtick of "animal voices" in fiction, but this novel did a great job of evoking a very cat like response to the unfolding drama. Prudence is dismayed when her Most Important Person, Sarah suddenly disappears... but she is even more upset when Sarah's daughter Laura and her husband Josh invade her home, pack up all the Sarah-things and then transplant everything, Prudence included, to a new home across the city.

While trying to come to terms with her new life and roommates, Prudence deals with the grief of a lost loved one with surprising depth. Interwoven in her memories of Sarah and her adventures with Laura and Josh is a back story of a complicated mother-daughter relationship.

There were laugh at loud moments as well as some profound messages of love and hope... and of course, a happy ending.

But there were also a few things I didn't like about the novel.

While most of the narration comes from Prudence (and is done in the first "cat" perspective), a few chapters focus on Laura... and jarringly are told in the third person.  As if that wasn't complicated enough, there are a couple of Sarah chapters too... which are not only in the first person, Sara, but are conversational in tone... as if she is telling her story (to whom we don't know) from beyond the grave.

Chapters 1 - 4: Prudence
Chapter 5: Laura
Chapter 6: Prudence
Chapter 7: Sarah
Chapter 8 and 9: Prudence
Chapter 10: Laura
Chapter 11 and 12: Prudence
Chapter 12: Sarah
Chapter 13: Prudence
Chapter 14: Laura
Chapter 15 and 16: Prudence

The reason for the narration change seems to be to give the readers more information so that the plot movement makes more sense. While this is accomplished, it is still awkwardly done. Sarah's chapters are full blown flashbacks that fill in a lot of missing facts, but are unsettling because she didn't share these facts with either of the other characters while she was alive, and yet they are essential in our understanding of Sarah as a person.

I just think that either the shared narration should have started earlier (four chapters in is a long time to suddenly change anything) or have been handled differently.

Regardless of the narration, the other thing that was slightly cumbersome was the "sticky point", the thing which all the negativity and family drama between Laura and her mother Sara hinged upon. There is an awful lot of lead up to this traumatic moment where their lives took this horrible turn and nothing was ever the same and Laura just couldn't get over it even years and years later because oh my god it was so big and so nasty and... And then we read it, and it is somewhat of a let down. (And we read about it from Sarah who isn't the one still dwelling on it!)

And then another character, who had been referenced but had yet to show up,does in fact show up, and she solves Laura's problem with a direct "get over yourself" sort of moment... and then... the problem is pretty much solved.

... /raised eye brow/ ...

Of course, as happens in most animal point of view books, the animal has a near death experience but since we all know that there is going to be a happy ending, the drama isn't really there, even if the writing is particularly strong in this section.

So.  All in all, I enjoyed the story this book told. I loved Prudence as a character and enjoyed her cat-itude about things like food and The Monster (vacuum cleaner). The book was a fairly quick read and did have some universal truths to point out in terms of loss and communication. In short, it was a good book and I am glad I read it even if I am picky and easily bugged by things that probably wouldn't even phase a more casual reader.




New title, new gig, new phase!

I'm starting off the New Year with a bang....

First, I am pleased to share that over the holidays my dear Maifan-San and I officially tied the knot.


Yep. I'm a married woman! (I'm a Mrs!)

The day could not have gone better... the weather was lovely, the guests were wonderful, the baby even made it most of the day without an epic meltdown of any sort!



More photos coming soon, of course.

Also this year I am pleased to announce a new writing gig!
I will be joining the contributors of the Pride PAC blog in the coming weeks.

The blog will be relaunching soon and yours truly will have a weekly column to talk about LGBT issues in terms of family, youth, transgender, politics, entertainment.... In short, whatever news and noteworthy thing I wish!

I am very excited to expand my regular "gigs" in this way... and I will link to my first article once it has gone live.

Thank you to all of you who have been reading me over the years! 

And lastly, we are apparently going to start potty training Ella (who is 15 months old and showing all the "signs" of being ready. While I anticipate this next phase in her journey to be a long one (we won't be pushing her or anything), it is an exciting thing to be starting in the new year.



I hope the beginning of 2014 has been as full of promise and excitement for you!


News! New Writing Gig!

I am excited to announce that I will be joining the contributors of the Pride PAC blog in the coming weeks.

The blog will be relaunching soon and yours truly will have a weekly column to talk about LGBT issues in terms of family, youth, transgender, politics, entertainment.... In short, whatever news and noteworthy thing I wish! 

I am very excited to expand my regular "gigs" in this way... and I will link to my first article once it has gone live.

Thank you to all of you who have been reading me over the years! 

The Road to Equality, Full of Potholes

January article in the Fresno Community Alliance:


The Road to Equality, Full of Potholes

June was six months ago.

The Supreme Court struck down DOMA (Defense of Marriage Act) and paved the way for full equality for same sex couples—but that equality is sometimes slow in coming.

In late December, late December, the 
Obama administration announced that it would start processing Social Security claims in terms of retirement and survivor’s benefits for same-sex couples. Of course, like all programs and procedures, the rollout is slow in coming with vague promises on the program’s Web sites about more information coming soon.

But that’s the government, and we don’t expect it to do anything quickly. At least, it is not actively trying to circumvent the law the way several states did in terms of military spousal benefits...