A place for random thoughts, ideas, and fun!
What really goes on in Amy's brain? I'll use this space to share more about myself and my interests, journal some of the more exciting goings-on in my life, and work through some of the writing ideas and dilemmas I'm wrestling with. Enjoy!|
Movie Review Mondays . . . if you watch a film after reading a review, please come back and let me know what you thought!
|I am the consummate worrywart. I cannot do a thing to stop myself, other than take anti-anxiety medication. Sharing what I’m worrying about with my husband doesn’t help ease my worry, but it’s still important to do.
As soon as I settle down, my brain starts to go . . . sometimes it’s just a laundry list of things I need to accomplish, things I need to remember, etc. Other times my anxieties spill over into my thoughts, and I’ll spin utterly out of control, worrying myself into a frenzy about missing my flight, or being in a car accident, or someone I love being in a car accident, and on and on . . . and it keeps me from sleeping, it keeps me from relaxing, and sets me into panic attack mode.
What good does worrying do? I’ve heard people say “why worry about things you cannot control?” My reply – why would I worry about the things I CAN control? It’s the things I CANNOT control that I’m going to WORRY about!
So last night I ran the gamut of all my usual worry topics – what am I going to pack to keep myself warm on my trip? Will the kids know where to go after school while I’m gone? Will I get stuck in traffic on the way to the airport? Will the weather be crappy once I arrive? Will I get into an accident while I’m away? Will my husband get into an accident while I’m away? What will happen to the kids if he gets into an accident while I’m away? And on, and on, and on . . .
I finally got to sleep, after taking some anti-anxiety medication and waiting an hour.
|This afternoon, I received a text message from a friend, asking whether I would be willing to be interviewed by his 8th grade daughter, for a class project. I chatted with her briefly on the phone, and then she emailed me a list of questions. I thought it was a fascinating and tricky topic, and that it would make a great blog post:
These are some very interesting and difficult questions! I will do my best to answer them for you. From the very beginning, I will tell you that the answers to these questions make me sad - in my own personal advocacy I do my best to avoid disparaging anyone for their religious beliefs, but here's the truth of the matter:
1. What are some reasons that conservatives are not in favor of same- sex marriage?
Please understand that as an outsider (not a conservative) the answers I give here are what I have learned through years of reading and listening. I do not know for certain what is at the root of these hard-held beliefs.
One of the main reasons that conservatives are not in favor of same-sex marriage is because of religious beliefs. Focusing specifically on the United States, one of the main groups who are pushing so strongly against the idea of same-sex marriage are fundamentalist Christians. They have interpreted various bible quotes to say that homosexuality is a sin. Within fundamentalist Christianity, there is also the notion that each person must be saved. This is the reason for the need to prevent others from marrying someone of the same sex, despite the fact that same-sex marriage has no direct impact on their own lives or marriages.
This is not to say that there are not others who hold the same view, but the conservative view on homosexuality does tend to be guided by religion.
In addition, conservatives fear that gay marriage will diminish the sanctity of the term marriage. They also fear that children raised by same-sex couples will grow up to be gay, or that those children will somehow influence their own children.
2. Why do you think conservatives are so insistent on not changing their ways?
Faith is a fascinating subject, and I have so much respect for people with deep faith. But one of the things that happens as a result of such deep faith is that one is not able or willing to accept alternate viewpoints. If the bible says it is wrong, then nothing we say or do can sway them from that belief.
One of the truths of fundamentalist Christianity is the desire to keep things as they are. It is a difficult concept for me to put into words. We see the world around us changing, and many of us rejoice in it. For them, I believe it is akin to allowing Satan control over the world.
3. What do you think conservatives would do if these laws were changed?
I believe they would continue to fight to have the laws overturned, as well as shunning former friends and family members who come out as gay, those who have a same-sex marriage, and perhaps even those who come out simply in favor of same-sex marriage. I believe they would continue to do things such as refuse to provide services to gay couples (those providing wedding flowers or cakes have been in the news in recent months).
4. Why do you think this topic causes so many issues?
We are a country of extremes. The United States, despite the fact that it was founded by those who sought religious freedom, has always been a country with somewhat Puritan views in a lot of ways. Despite the separation of church and state, there are many who seek to use religious foundations as the basis for laws and political ideology. Our political system is set up in such a way that at times these extremes can be amplified along party lines.
But the world is changing, and our country has been slow to adopt the liberal views of nations such as Norway, Sweden, and even our close neighbor - Canada.
5. Have you done anything to try and change these laws?
I have been an advocate for gay rights and gay marriage for many years. My advocacy does not extend into law itself, but I am a vocal proponent of equality. Each voice can make a difference. I have attended gay pride marches, posted and commented on social media extensively, and engaged in conversation with those who hold differing views. I do not let homophobic comments go, but use polite confrontation to try and make a difference. The largest way in which I have tried to make a difference is through the Young Adult series I've written. They are as yet unpublished, but a strong theme within the series is equality, and marriage equality is explored extensively. I intend to make a difference.
6. How have these laws affected you or people you know?
I have several friends and family members who have been unable to marry as a result of the laws preventing same-sex marriage. It has affected me personally in that it has pushed me to be an advocate.
7. In what way do you think these laws could be changed?
The laws ARE changing. Right now! As I type this, there are 17 states (plus the District of Columbia) that now have marriage equality, and several others either recognize same-sex marriages performed in other states, or have some sort of protections for same-sex couples. Here is a breakdown for you: http://www.freedomtomarry.org/pages/where-state-laws-stand
I think we are living in an amazing time, and that we will continue to see the breakdown of discrimination against gay couples.
|I find that the topics I really need to work out via writing are the ones I just do not feel comfortable posting in my blog. I sat down to blog this morning, and just deleted half a page of writing because I could not bear to post it.
So what’s the difference between journaling and blogging? For some people, there isn’t a difference – they blog about what they want/need to blog about, and put it out there for the world to see. Journaling is private, I think. Anything goes. Blogging is meant to be seen, and I feel like the things I need most to write are not things I want others to read. But at the same time, I could use feedback on the issues I’m struggling with. So I’m caught.
And it goes right back to the topic on which I’d started blogging earlier – self esteem, and how much I base it on the opinions of others.
Maybe I can do this, but in a different way, without going into personal detail.
If I somehow feel that the opinion that someone else has of me is not high, I spin it – I take it and spend so much time in my head worrying about WHY that’s the case, that I come up with a reason. Whether or not the person’s opinion of me actually matches my vision of it, and whether or not they even notice that self-perceived deficit that I’ve turned into a looming nightmare in my head, my brain has the whole scenario worked out. Does that HELP me in any way? No, not in the slightest, because I continue to worry about it, obsess about it, and beat myself up over it.
So how do I break through lifelong patterns of behavior? How do I release the negative impressions I have of myself and live in peace with who I am? I’ve tried talking to myself about it over and over . . . sort of like the daily battle between dieting and being happy with who I am. Over and over in my head, I try to convince myself to let it all go. But it keeps coming back.
|I read a wonderful article on self-image by Crys-not really here , last week. It really brought home the fact that women of all sizes need to be able to be happy with themselves, first and foremost.
I think it makes a tremendous difference in the way one is able to present to the world, if one is able to be self confident.
And yet . . . every day, every single day I wage hours long battles in my brain, wherein I chastise myself, cajole myself, convince myself to make a change because I’m not happy with where I am. And then I remember Crys’ article, and want to just be happy with myself.
I’ve got genetics at work – my dad has had a belly for as long as I can remember. My mom gave me the addictive personality that just wants to eat the yummy food. My intertia . . . I think that’s all my own, though. Nah, I think I got that from my mom, as well. Conservation of energy – I’ve always been about minimum effort.
It stinks. It’s not how I want to be, but here I am. Remembering where I used to be. Trying to talk myself down from the knowledge that I can wear whatever I want to my cousin’s daughter’s Bat Mitzvah next month, but I will NEVER be cocktail party chic.
So then I think – “why bother? Just keep doing what you’re doing. You won’t make difference in a month.” “But you’ve had MONTHS to make a difference, and here you are.” “Well yes, here I am. And in a month it’s not going to change.” “But it CAN, if you try.” “No, it can’t. You’ve tried. Remember how hard you worked last spring, and saw ZERO results? Why go through that again? Why couldn’t the weight you lost in Greece have stayed off?” Why? Why? Why? But! But! But!
So I come up with excuse after excuse for not visiting the gym, but I try to do some sort of meager exercise every day. It’s not going to do the trick. Have I already convinced myself that I’m going to fail? Probably.
|What do you do when you lack inspiration? My blog has sat stagnant for over a week, as I wonder what to write about. Sometimes the topics come easily, and sometimes they do not. Often when I’m inspired, it’s because there is something happening in my life that speaks to me and makes me want to explore ideas in writing. Other times . . . well, quite frankly, life is so darn boring that there’s nothing to spark inspiration.
Of course, my brain loves to think of things when I’m in the least likely position to do anything about them. In the shower, for example. Or when I’m driving. Or like last night, when I was trying to fall asleep.
Ideas! All sorts of ideas for my current writing project, as well as my next writing project! No, no . . . don’t go with that “I’m getting sleepy and could possibly fall asleep easily if I just let myself” feeling! Get up and write them down! No! Sleep . . . we need sleep. Shaddap, we need to remember stuff! No, sleep! We’ll just lay here for a few hours and think about the story ideas, and then they’ll stay with us. Yeah, that’s the ticket. Meanwhile . . . guess who’s not falling asleep. The good news is . . . I think I remember what I wanted to take notes on.
|Last night I went into the city with a friend of mine, to see the ballet. We were looking for a reasonably priced place to eat dinner beforehand, and although A La Turca’s online menu does not have prices, we decided to give it a try.
Boy, were we not disappointed! We arrived just at 6 PM, as on street parking becomes available. The place was nearly empty at that time, although it had filled up almost completely by the time we finished our meal.
The waiter who greeted us was friendly, and spent quite a bit of time chatting with us about his favorite dishes, and helping us decide what to order.
We ended up deciding to share a few items. Our meal began with the dolmas – stuffed grape leaves. They were tender and lemony, with just the right amount of seasoning. We also received a basket of pide – fluffy bread with just a light sprinkle of sesame and black nigella seeds for interest.
When our entrees arrived, we decided to eat half from the plate in front of us, and switch. I thought my friend was going to change her mind, after taking a bite of her chicken Iskender. Unbelievably tender chicken from a spit, in a lovely spiced tomato and yogurt sauce, on top of cubes of pide, which soaked up the sauce and became delightfully soft and chewy. The Iskender was served with cacik, a yogurt sauce that complemented it perfectly.
My own dish was the chicken shish kebap, and I was not disappointed either. Fluffy white rice, flavorful in that wonderfully buttery way that rice can be. Beautifully seasoned and grilled cubes of chicken breast, along with a side of yogurt sauce that again complemented the chicken. And a light salad of lettuce and red cabbage that added some crunch and refreshment to the dish.
The only complaint I have is that our waiter did not take a drink order for us. We had to ask for water from another server. He made up for it, however, by bringing us complimentary glasses of tea with sugar lumps on the side, as we were finishing our meal.
Again for dessert, we decided to share. I ordered the sutlac, a rich and creamy baked rice pudding that was topped with crushed pistachios. Not too sweet, and absolutely delightful. My friend ordered the burma, a pinwheel of phyllo dough with honey and pistachios that was absolutely out of this world.
A La Turca is definitely worth a try – it’s even worth a drive into the city from wherever you reside. I’ll definitely be returning.
|I just finished red penning "Sir Georgie and the Dragon" [ASR] ! I’m fairly proud of myself, as it took me several months to even pick up "Nell's Journey" [13+] and get started, last year.
Not too bad . . . I’m afraid parts of it may be a bit too preachy, and I’ll need some feedback on that before I get deep into editing. There’s also a storyline that needs to be added . . . assuming I can figure out what it is. I just need something to help Alex prove himself, without relying on his friends to prove his right to rule as king. I can DO this! There’s quite a bit in the story that I like, and I cried more than once while reading through it.
On the other hand, there were a handful of things that just did not make sense. I just wonder . . . what was I meaning to write, when I said “upswing fists”??? *shrugs* The world may never know.
So I’m excited! I’ve written an entire trilogy, and the threads that run from beginning to end make sense. I’ve completed the story, and just need to tie up some loose ends.
|It’s been a frustrating couple of months for me, as far as concentration. I can’t focus on anything for more than a few minutes (somehow I managed to get through an edit, but everything needed to be just so for me to get it done). I can’t read, can’t write, can’t even play a silly game on the computer for more than a few minutes. Oh, I said that, didn’t I? See? Pay attention!
Last night I was feeling horribly restless. In addition to the restlessness, I haven’t been comfortable using the computer or my phone for the past several days. My thumbs ache . . . just ACHE. Yeah, I’m getting old. Meh. But why so suddenly?
It occurred to me that the restlessness and inability to focus started when I started a new med a few months ago. And the aching started when I upped the dosage last week. Huh, what do you know? Both side effects of this particular medication.
Argh! Since it does not seem to be doing for me what I need it to do, I think it’s time to say goodbye to another med. *sigh* Another one bites the dust. One of these years I’ll find something that WORKS, and doesn’t cause more problems than it fixes.
Now then . . . I wonder if I can use that as an excuse for not finishing my book club book?
|Since my hubby is home right now, we decided to take some time and do a few home improvement projects – inexpensive ones. Ha!
We decided the first thing we were going to undertake was going to be painting the hallway bathroom. It needs FAR more than a paint job, but not being in a position to renovate, I thought we might perk it up a bit, buying us another year or so before we really need to get serious about remodeling. Well, our little paint job turned into something bigger. The cabinets (original to the 1970 house) are warped and don’t close properly. What should we do? Probably we’re going to get some boards cut to size (the original cabinet faces being little more than cut boards – very cheaply made products). I’d painted them with a coat of primer when we moved in 3 years ago, with the intention of then painting them a fun color, but that never happened.
So we picked FUN colors! Lilac for the cabinets, and a light green for the walls. I figure we’ll only have it for a year or so, but it’ll be cheerful.
Next came the mirror. The entire wall over the double sink was a HUGE, UGLY mirror. Pulling it down, we managed to break off a piece. And then spent the next hour debating whether to break the rest of it into pieces, in order to get it out of the darn room! That’s what we ended up doing. Oy! Huge shards of mirror glass. Once we got the mirror off the wall, we saw what was underneath. *gag* Visions of Barton Fink, with the oozing, drippy walls. Yeah, we scrubbed that clean.
While hubby was working on shattering the mirror, I was painting the frames of 2 new hanging mirrors, using the lilac paint we bought for the cabinets.
Then hubby decided . . . what would happen if I tried to take the shower doors off? Hey, look at that! They’re barely hanging on! And the frame, too! So off came the shower doors and frame, and hubby is diligently scraping away at the glue that was holding it (barely) in place. The shower is going to look SO much better! AND I’ll be able to actually get into it to clean properly (the door only slid in 1 direction, making it impossible to access the back of the shower without climbing in).
So while he was scraping away, I ran off to look for a shower curtain and rod. Found a rod and liner, but no pretty shower curtain that would match the colors we chose. Oh well! There’s always Bed, Bath, and Beyond.
Meanwhile, the only actual painting that’s gotten done is the mirror frames!
|Just one of those days when the best of plans go awry. I promised Goldilocks that I’d bake her cupcakes to take to school tomorrow for her birthday. No problem. Bought cake mix, fun frosting, and planned to make them today.
So I assembled my ingredients, softened my butter, and got to work. The batter felt weird as I was beating it, and looked more like frosting than cake batter. Nonetheless, I put it into the cupcake tins, and into the oven it went. When I checked a little while later . . . oh my goodness! Stop expanding! What are you doing!?!? Thankfully they didn’t spill over the sides of the muffin tin. But when they came out of the oven, oh dear. It looked like cookie topped muffins. Flat and crinkly. Getting them out of the tins was impossible, and they just didn’t taste right.
So of course that put me in an irritable mood. Do I buy more cake mix and try again? Or just buy cupcakes at the store? Guess which option I chose. I was NOT in the mood to try again.
Of course, now I have guilt. Goldilocks is happy, since I bought cute cupcakes to send to school. But I consider it a Mom fail. *sigh*