Friday, August 30, 2013


This post is a meditation on turning 30 in less than a week. The big 3-0. An arbitrary number that has come to mean so much as a marker of how people view their lives, and achievements. I have vacillated between being joyous and upset at the rapid feeling passage of time.

10 Things I have Learned in 30 years

1. Most places I go out to (the movies, bars, theaters, restaurants) it's too dark to see grey hairs so why care as much? And makeup: the more you wear, the more you will have to wear. Good moisturizer and less sun is key in my beauty regime. I want my lovers to be hot for me without makeup so when I wear it it is an added bonus. I don't want to be someone who scares people who are used to seeing them with makeup, when I take it off.

2. Floss for goodness's sake. Cavities are expensive to take care of, floss is cheap.
3. You know more about your body than most doctors. Trust that. Fight for it. Don't say no when you feel you are right. You have one life, and one body.

4. Being able to do your own taxes makes you a superhero. It's also rather sensible Almost everyone I know who goes to a CPA ends up having to do amendments. No one REALLY understands the tax system so they really do cut you breaks if you goof, so give it a shot.

5. Learning how to cook great food is also a superhero skill. Double points for not spending more than an hour every night in the kitchen. Know the shortcuts to good food and use them. Soups and slow cookers are a busy person's best weapons to battle hunger and also create great leftovers. Even in summer I turn to soup often because it doesn't require an oven. Have a signature dish or two that you know you can make quickly and easily. The older you get the more pot lucks you will attend and be expected to bring a dish.

6. Eventually, it might take longer or shorter depending, you will get along with your siblings. Crazy, I know, but it does happen. And it's a great thing.

7. Don't rush. Don't rush in your car, don't rush your meals, don't rush down the aisle, don't rush into parenthood. Letting things unfold the way they were meant to is easier and less painful. Being quick and rushing are not the same things, remember, lest you confuse my meaning.

8. Enjoy hobbies that are easy to do alone, and hobbies that require you to meet new people. There's not many feelings better than learning something new and sharing it with the world. For my indoor hobbies I craft and play board games, and for outside hobbies I take offbeat fitness or dance classes. Some of the most frustrating and joyous moments of the past few years has been my experiences in taking tap dancing as an adult.

9. Read. Whenever you get the chance. Learn about what is going on in our world. Become an expert at something, anything. It will give you confidence. I feel armed in any situation thanks to my lifelong love of learning and reading.

10. After growing up as an introverted teenager, a loner, I had to opportunity to really learn who I was, unhurried by pressure from my peers. I was a celebrity in the online circles that I ran in, and that was enough. So when I got to college I was more prepared than many. There were no puppy eyed loverboys following me, no fragile friendships easily torn asunder that so many others had. I arrived as the person I was at that time, no apologies. And for the first time in my life, I found people coming to me in waves. At first it was just new friends, and as I got to connect with potential love interests, they too appeared and appeared, never one further than an IM or phone call away. I know that I am an average looking, overweight woman, like many others, but I also know that I am funny, kind, fierce, smart, confident, sensual, crafty, goofy, motherly and many other words. And those are the words that matter to me, not the ones that describe the shell that woman lives in.
Be yourself. Be utterly and apologetically you. Someone WILL love that person. It's cliche, and repeated constantly for a reason. There is nothing better than the feeling of being loved for who you are.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Orange Is the New Black- A Review (Spoilers inside)

I would like to branch out for a spell, for a few paragraphs, for a page and give my thoughts as a geeky, literary white woman, on the new Netflix Original Series, “Orange is the New Black.”

There has been much trash heaped upon it, as there has been much praise. Some of the negative comments were regarding the depiction of prison to be too clichĂ©, or too racially segregated. But former inmates ( pointed out that much of what is shown is true/accurate to what kind of experience they had. Does this surprise anyone? Props to the creators and writers from not shying away from depicting the prevalence of self inflicted segregation in (federal) prison. (I know many people were mad that it wasn’t the harshness of state prison being depicted, but the show is based on a true story and they were trying to stick to Piper Kerman’s account of her time in federal, not state.)

The other end of the negativity spectrum has to do with the Christian right backlash against it. On one hand, this is silly. If you don’t like the depictions, don’t watch it. But on the other I think that many Christians who have cried out against the depiction of Pensatucky as a meth & abortion addicted ignorant southern Christian , have decidedly ignored the quiet presence of Sister Ingalls, the nun who landed in jail for peaceful anti-nuclear protesting. (

I tend to think that those who voraciously point out what they don’t like about other people/shows/lifestyles is what they fear the most about their own selves. Myself included. To me this is a small scale version of the current battle between the moderate right and the extreme tea party right.

But: SPOILER ALERT [None of the reviews mentioned that Pensatucky was never religious until she got to jail. It was something she was roped into playing at by those who paid for her lawyer after she killed a nurse at an abortion clinic. I would imagine that Christians would have more of a problem with the way the religious people who manipulated her acted than her own actions at that point. It is unclear in the first season whether she does it to continue getting legal help from the right, (because that would be smart) or whether she starts to believe. Based on her conversation with her lawyer, I think she is a believer. Hard to say, they did make it look as if Piper killed her, which is one of the reasons I kept from reading the book. I already know what happens to Piper and Larry.] END SPOILER ALERT

And lastly, one of the things from my perspective that was so striking is the frightening understanding that THIS COULD BE ME. Not that I have ever run drugs intercontinental with my lesbian lover per see, but I am a young white woman who makes artisanal bath products and has a fiancĂ©. I tend to say the wrong thing often. I have done a few stupid things in my life, and it comes down to luck. Piper had the bad luck to be named by Alex, Pensatucky had the good luck to be supported by the anti-abortion coalition that saw her commit her crime. That is the core of Jenji’s message. We try to distance ourselves as people on the outside, from those on the inside. They are different, they are other. But they aren’t. I imagine making the same mistakes, preaching the same secular humanism and Robert Frost poetry.

Not only did I feel a great deal of empathy for Piper, I was also terrified during the finale because of it. SPOILER ALERT [Piper’s breakdown and subsequent ruthless beating of Pensatucky is something I admit to having fantasized about doing to certain people who push me too hard. It made me terrified that I could actually commit this kind of crime, because the scene exposed the ruthlessness of humans as caged animals, and that should make anyone uncomfortable and sick to their stomach, as it did to me. She was backed in to a corner, betrayed or abandoned by every one she loved. That place is not far away for any of us.] END SPOILER

Every minute of this show I was on the edge of my seat, willing Piper to make a smart decision and then holding my breath to see what the outcome of her choices would be. Good art should give you a physical reaction. It should punch you in the gut, rip your heart out, uplift your soul and send it spiraling down.

Monday, August 12, 2013

Star Trek Khannnnnnnnn!

We just came back from the Las Vegas Star Trek Convention. It was a fun weekend crammed with partying and nerdery. We made some new friends and got to be part of a costume contest and a world record! Not too shabby. Also took a party bus for the first time ever. We also got to meet our cat 7's namesake 7 of 9 aka Jeri Ryan, as well as Avery Brooks and the seemingly overwhelmed good sport Karl Urban.
Below are pictures of us in costume as Kira and Odo from Deep Space 9, from the episode with their first date.
The first date:
Our version of the costumes.
The world record card and a picture of Terry Farrell (Jadzia) helping us break it. Since we were finalists we had a great spot to enjoy it. What a powerful feeling of coming together to be part of it. People from all walks of life brought together over love for one thing.

We definitely didn't take into account the fact the costume contest and record contest would keep us busy from 3 pm to 9 pm and my costumes shoes were not broken in. Had to keep it together on stage while my feet were screaming. We really weren't prepared to get into the finalists because our costumes were not as detailed nor hard to do as many of the others, but I think the judges understood we were trying to capture the spirit of the Deep Space Nine theme. After having been in hundreds of photos I have a new respect for the actors and writers who get up there and manage to function and be funny while their eyes are being light bombed. If we did the costume contest again it would have to be something with comfortable shoes. But as runners up we got some cool mugs, which was nice.

This last one is me and a new friend, Tara, enjoying a beverage with Gary Graham, known to Enterprise watchers as the Vulvan Soval. He was a nice guy, and fun to boot.

To round out our kick ass experience we hung out with Ira Stephen Behr one of my favorite nerdy writers while Josh, Crystal and him enjoyed some cigarettes. Looking forward to next year!

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Geek Tattoos

So last night I got a new tattoo. It's one I have been thinking about for awhile. A Harry Potter/ Hunger Games mashup, inspired by ones I found online and brought to life by the awesome Christina Harris at Donovan's Autumn Moon Tattoo in Anaheim.

I have been a Harry Potter fan since the get go, enjoying the midnight book releases as well as the midnight movie screenings (though I am getting old for those!) And since it is now our wedding theme it seemed doubly important to add it to my Buffy, Lord of the Rings, Celtic and spiritual tattoos I already have. Hermione was always an inspiration to me. A brainy girl with buck teeth who gets to be a heroine? Awesome.

The Hunger Games part is more specific in that I picked up Hunger Games after my fiance lost his job and I was feeling helpless and sad. Katniss reminded me of myself as a teenager I immediately felt for her. Buffy has been my love for the past 15 years, and this will never change, but Katniss brought out empathy and acknowledgement of my life in a way I didn't know possible.

Katniss and I both lost a parent at a young age and took it upon ourselves to keep our families together, even at the cost to our own life, and connection to others. We both shut down our emotions and found it hard to admit love. We both had sweet, blond, kind, and loving younger sisters, little ducks, to take care of. There are even male cats named Buttercup in both our lives. (Ours is from Princess Bride, another matter.) We were both alienated from our peers as a result of this disconnect because of the burden we both felt we needed to bear. (Oh, those boys who love you from afar that you can't see!)

But, as I have been learning since reading these books there are ways to find a path to reconnect and feel love and share it loudly with your family. It's okay to say it, even when you are afraid of losing them, that is when it matters the most. People die, but withholding your words of love isn't going to change that.

And that is my story of my most recent tattoo. You never know the story behind a tattoo until you ask.