Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Last week, I listened online at work while testimony was presented to the Washington State House of Representatives prior to their vote on whether to legalize gay marriage in Washington State.

Now, I came out as a lesbian in 1991 and I’ve been in a domestic partnership for almost a decade.  I’ve heard it all:  that gay marriage will lead to people marrying dogs, for example.  Or that legalizing my relationship will result in the downfall of “traditional” marriage (see: Newt Gingrich, Liz Taylor, and my personal fave, Kim Kardashian’s possibly sham marriage to Kris Humphries). And I’ve heard that gays are an abomination, that our relationships are  “unnatural.”

But those complaints no longer cause any bitterness for me — just irritation.  Once you’ve watched the media attack the gays during the HIV/AIDS crisis, it takes an awful lot to get riled up.

HOWEVER.  During live testimony at the State House, I kept hearing how irresponsible it was for WA State to spend its time and resources on a polarizing social issue like gay marriage when so many people are out of work and hungry and losing health benefits.  In truth, I can’t argue with that too much, except to say that if it weren’t for the opposition and their testimonies, the vote could’ve happened pretty quickly and the legislature could get back to whatever important business is on the agenda in Olympia.

I felt like they had a valid point.  Until I watched the local news just 2 days later.  KREM.com reports:

“The Washington State Senate has approved a bill that would allow a new form of traction device for vehicle tires called tire socks.

KREM 2’s Othello Richards found out that not many people, including local tire stores, have ever heard of them.”

Are you friggin’ kidding me????  This is the IMPORTANT business that the WA legislature needed to back to instead of insuring legal protections for thousands of couples in WA State, and potentially boosting some portions of the local economy in the process?  SOCKS for tires??

Read Governor Chris Gregoire’s beautiful speech on why gay marriage is the right thing to do.  Why separate but equal isn’t really equal.  Why my family is as legitimate as yours.  Why protecting gay families is important.

In my opinion, gay marriage is a lot more important than being able to use socks on my tires instead of chains.

Now I’m pissed.

Yesterday, thanks to Twitter, I discovered an article in The Daily titled, Paula’s big fat secret.   The article claims the following:

  • Paula Deen, US Southern-style cook and cooking show host, has Type 2 diabetes.
  • Paula Deen hasn’t exactly shared that information with the public.  And she can’t eat her own meals anymore.
  • She is going to make millions as a spokesperson for a diabetes medication, probably for drugmaker Novartis. Novo Nordisk, according to the LATimes.

Here’s the thing that kills me:  Paula Deen’s cooking has always seemed, to me anyway, to be a lesson in how to give yourself diabetes! Or coronary disease.  Or other obesity-related illnesses, like colon cancer.

So she wins by teaching us to eat irresponsibly, and profits from it through her cookbooks and restaurant and Food Network show.  Now she’s going to profit by telling us to take a pill that treats the resulting illness.  Win-win for Paula.  And frankly, a smart move on Novartis’ part too.  Because most people aren’t going to care.  They think she’s nice.  They’re fans.  She makes food they enjoy eating.  And the poor woman was unfortunate enough to get diabetes, which really nobody can blame her for.  It’s an illness.

WRONG.

Paula Deen has long been criticized for irresponsibility when it comes to food.  Here are a few examples:

Normally, I wouldn’t criticize the woman so much myself.  Maybe she’s just ignorant about healthy diets and the implications of unhealthy ones.  But she responded to Mr. Bourdain’s criticism last year by saying,

“You know, not everybody can afford to pay $58 for prime rib or $650 for a bottle of wine. My friends and I cook for regular families who worry about feeding their kids and paying the bills … It wasn’t that long ago that I was struggling to feed my family, too.”

I’m calling bullshit here.  I grew up in the South, and I know how fond they are of their diets.  Fried mac and cheese, fried green beans, fried donuts, fried Twinkies, chicken fried steak, etc.  At no time have I ever thought that I couldn’t eat healthy because I couldn’t afford a $58 prime rib or a $650 bottle of wine.  This is a false argument, and she’s catering to those Southerners who don’t like the prissy, elitist, crunchy granola vegan intellectuals who criticize the Southern diet.

Ever heard of quinoa?  Or cous cous and grilled asparagus?  Black beans and brown rice with a little sour cream & salsa?   Or fish?  There are some fantastic ways to make fish yummy. Here are some of my favorite healthy recipes:

I’ll stop here.  You get the point.  Most of these meals can feed four folks for $20 or less.

I’m not saying you should never ever ever eat a pepperoni pizzza or a bacon cheeseburger.  I love both of those things, and had pizza just last night.  But I can minimize their negative health impacts by choosing slightly healthier options (grass feed beef, or less cheese, or turkey burger etc).  Or, you can go ahead and eat that really terrible-for-you comfort food… but rarely, instead of regularly.

It’s not that hard to eat better.   Last year, I started making a few substitutions, stopped eating out as much, limited table salt, and added fresh fruits and veggies as sides or “dessert” to most meals.  That, and a little time at the gym, and I’m 35 pounds lighter.  My cholesterol is finally good.  I’m no longer “obese” and I’m about to fall out of the “overweight” category too.  My blood sugar and metabolism and blood pressure are “optimal”… and I feel great.

I hope Paula Deen can, too.

And I hope all of us can begin to support a new health care paradigm, one that focuses on creating wellness rather than treating disease.  But that’s another blog post for another time.

Photo: Stephen Samuel

While I was putting myself through college at the University of Texas at Austin, I lived for a while in a small apartment complex in the Clarksville neighborhood.  It would’ve been the mid- to late-nineties.  For a brief time, Marc Katz’s ex-wife, a realtor, lived across the street from me.  She gave me her card once:  “Katz Always Kloses.”

But I digress.

I was trying to figure out some things about my life, make sense of my past and figure out who I was going to be in the future.  It was a heady time.  I had trouble getting quiet in my mind, though.  Friends of Bill W. suggested I might benefit from long walks along the Town Lake, and I did.  Five miles from Clarksville to the bridge where North Lamar becomes South Lamar, up to Barton Springs, through Zilker Park, up to MoPac, back to North Lamar.  A wonderfully quiet, nature-filled 5 mile walk smack dab in the middle of a bustling city.

I have fond memories of those walks.  Feeling the perspiration evaporate off my sweaty arms when I rounded the northern, shaded edge of my route.  The sound of my footsteps on fine gravel.  Long leaps to avoid mud puddles.  Neighbors greeting one another as they passed walking in opposite directions — even Governor Ann Richards if it was early Sunday morning and you were lucky.

There was a spot along Barton Creek where I always stopped to watch the mallards and geese.  I can still envision the late afternoon sunshine lighting up thousands of bright green and yellow leaves.  A gentle breeze made the flowers and grasses sway ever so slightly.

The Sony Walkman had just become affordable enough that I’d managed to obtain one.  I bought cassette tapes at Waterloo Records or Tower.  One of my favorite accompaniments to those long meditative walks was Sarah McLachlan’s Surfacing.  Society was so high tech then; we could take actual recorded music in our pockets on a long trek.  Who would’ve imagined it possible?  These were good times. Sarah MacLachlan’s style was helping to usher in a new era of popular female vocals.

“Your love, is better than ice cream” the mezzo-soprano crooned as the newly out lesbian tried to figure out why she couldn’t get a date.

The very sound of Sarah McLachlan’s voice has brought fond memories to mind ever since.  Some of her nineties songs feel like audio hugs, lovely and comforting.  A walk down memory lane.  Warm fuzzy feelings pour over me every time I hear Sarah McLachlan’s voice… even today, right?

No!  Not anymore.  Not since she’s become a spokesperson for the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA).

From the ASPCA’s commercial, on YouTube:

“Every day thousands of dogs & cats are abandoned, left to suffer alone .”

And that’s just the beginning.  I can’t bring myself to tell you any more.  You’ll have to watch the video yourself.  Gawd, I’m getting teary-eyed just writing about it.  I’ve been playing the video so I can quote it accurately.  Gah.  It’s killing me.

Damn it, I hate you Sarah McLachlan.

Hate. You.

Because I can’t stand, omg the kitten face, the sad hound… oh (dabs eyes with kerchief).  Okay.  I feel soooo guilty.  It doesn’t matter that I already live with two cats who might’ve ended up on the streets otherwise.  One came from a house full of teenagers who needed to find homes for a litter of kittens, and the other lived in foster homes or shelters the entire first year of her life.  But I can’t take on any more.  Nobody would rent to me ever again, I can’t afford vet bills for a third pet, and our Alpha Cat would just eat another animal anyway.  And right, I could send money, but the budget is tight these days.  Tight.  Besides, by the time the commercial tells us what the ASPCA is actually asking me to do, I’ve tuned it out.  The guilt causes an involuntary reflex.  One I’m not proud of:  denial.

Chosen ignorance.  A closed heart.

Damn it.

I hate you, Sarah McLachlan.  I really do.

Willie Nelson, you’re on thin ice yourself, my friend.

(Ed. Note:  Sarah has helped raise at least $30 million for the ASPCA.  But there’s always more to be done.  Donate here:  ASPCA.)

Starbucks is planning to open a new location right across the street from my office.  To announce the upcoming store, they put up a big sign that reads, “Don’t Worry!  Expected Delivery Winter 2011.

But here’s the deal:  I wasn’t worried.  Seriously, this is Seattle and coffee is just not something I have to worry about.

Here is a list of adequate (if not favorite) coffee shops that I can get to easily each day, without even going more than a block or so off my normal pedestrian route:

And these are just the places I am willing to grab coffee.  There are other places, like Fremont Coffee Company and Caffe Ladro, which are more than 2 blocks from my pedestrian path & hence not on this list.  There are others I’ve left off because I don’t enjoy their product.

So as you can see Starbucks, I wasn’t terribly worried.  But I appreciate your thoughtfulness and your concern for my mental health. In a day and age when companies don’t often consider their customers’ needs, your consideration of my mental state is refreshing.  As refreshing as a hot, steamy espresso drink on a cold, rainy day in the Pacific Northwest.

Now, when does the new store open exactly?  I’ve got a hankering for a caramel macchiato.

There are still many many things that are wrong.  Which is why it’s been so nice lately to see a few things that are right.  Here’s this month’s list:

  • Moving Planet, a day to move about without the use of fossil fuels.  Here’s hoping it grows every year!
  • Elizabeth Warren’s screed against the Republican Right’s claims that increasing taxes on the rich (and cutting some of the Bush-era tax breaks) is “class warfare.”  Thank you, Elizabeth Warren.  We need more brave souls like you in politics.
  • Fall Recipes.  Like ginger carrot soup.  NOM!
  • The Fremont Troll’s 40th birthday cake.  This photo is 2 years old, but new to me, so check it out here.
  • Last year’s proposed change to the Washington State Seal.  Oh wow, this is awesome.  When I found it, I thought it was a hijacked Wikipedia page, but no.  True story.  Check out the section titled, “Proposed Change.”

What else is Right these days?  Drop us a Comment!

The Nike Killer

What the hell people?  Why aren’t we running around screaming “serial killer!  serial killer!?”  How come people across Seattle are still leaving their houses in the early mornings to jog, alone, in tennis shoes?

THERE’S GOT TO BE A SERIAL KILLER NEARBY, FOLKS!

  • August 20. 2007:  a man’s right foot, in a size 12  running shoe was found in the Salish Sea between Canada and Washington State.
  • Six days later: a man’s right foot; size 12 white Reebok was found on Gabriola Island in BC.
  • February 8, 2008:  a man’s right foot was found in a size 11 Nike in Canada.  Do you see a pattern here…?
  • May 22, 2008:  a woman’s right foot was found in a non-Nike sneaker, in BC..
  • June 16, 2008:  a man’s left foot, in BC.
  • August 1, 2008:  a man’s right foot inside a black size 11 shoe was found in Washington State.  Which borders Canada.
  • November 11. 2008:  awoman’s left foot, in Canada.
  • October 27th, 2009: a man’s right foot in a size 8 1/2 Nike shoe was found, also in Canada.
  • August 27, 2010:  a juvenile or woman’s right foot was found on Whidbey Island, WA.
  • December 10, 2010: a juvenile or a small adult’s right foot was found inside a boy’s size 6 Ozark Trail hiking boot near Tacoma, WA which sits along Puget Sound.
  • August 30, 2011:  a human foot was found in a man’s size 9 running shoe in BC.  Gender not determined.

Eleven feet.  We now know that 2 of those feet belonged to the same person, so we’re talking nine people here.  In the Seattle papers and newsrooms, you read that experts haven’t found any evidence that the feet were manually detached from the bodies. That ankles and wrists naturally detach in the water.  That the waters are surely full of missing people.  That running shoes make feet float.  Blah blah blah.  Sometimes they say one of the people died of “natural causes” or that the person was “depressed.”  Aren’t the sad and ill the weakest among us?  They are.  Blah blah blah.

There has to be a serial killer.  This is too weird.  Has somebody called Ann Rule yet?

Also, there have been hoaxes and copycats.  See Wikipedia for some detail on that.

Here’s what I think.  Have you seen the tv show Dexter? If you haven’t, you should. Dexter is a serial killer who owns a boat in Miami.  He chops bodies up, puts them in garbage sacks & tosses them into the ocean.  What if one of those bags came open after a year or two or three?  What is he chopped people at the knee but did bother with ankles?  Guess what you’d have then? A floating foot.  Or eleven floating feet.

Or more.

Congratulations, Caster!

Photo: Ryan Babel

In August 2009, it damn near broke my heart to see all the controversy surrounding South Africa’s young track star, Caster Semenya.  People thought she looked like a man and shouldn’t be allowed to compete against women.  Bah!

A lot has happened in Caster’s world since 2009:

  • Semenya won gold in the women’s 800 metres at the 2009 World Championships with a time of 1:55.45.
  • Elisa Cusma of Italy, who placed sixth, told the press: “These kind of people should not run with us. For me, she’s not a woman. She’s a man.”
  • Semenya was forced to take a gender test following her success in the 2009 World Championships.
  • Semenya got a makeover, so she’d look more like everyone expected her to.
  • Semenya was withdrawn from international competition until 6 July 2010 when the IAAF cleared her to return to competition (as a woman).
  • In December 2009 Track and Field News voted Semenya the Number One Women’s 800 metre runner of the year.
  • In 2010, the New Statesman included Semenya in its list “The World’s 50 Most Influential Figures 2010″ (take that, Elisa Cusma… bet you didn’t make the list, did you??)

And just this past week, Semenya won a silver medal in the 800 metre race at the 2011 World Championships.  She still runs like the wind.  Congratulations, Caster!

Ed.note:  Cusma did not compete.  Looks like her career is over. 

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.