Black Lives Matter

The subject pretty much says it all. Black Lives Matter. ALL Black Lives. Cis. Trans. Non-Binary.  Other identities that I may not be aware of; there’s so many more identity terms than when I came out as lesbian in the late ’90s. I may not have all the right terms. I’m always willing to learn. And whether I have all the terms or not, I mean it: ALL Black Lives means ALL Black Lives.

This is not the place for you to argue with me that all lives matter. All lives can’t matter until black lives matter.  Not to mention that most of the people I see saying all lives matter (or cops lives matter) are hypocrites when it comes to pretty much any lives than the ones that look just like them. I don’t believe that “all lives” really matter to these people; I think it became a rallying cry/point that they can say to feel good about themselves but not really have to mean.

Sort of like when people offer up “thoughts and prayers” but don’t want to actually DO anything that will make an actual difference (armchair activism, anyone?).

I am white. I have white privilege. I know enough to know that is not a judgement on my life; it simply means that the color of my skin isn’t one of the things that has made my life harder.  Things that do/can make my life harder: Being gay? Yes. Being a woman? Yes. Being autistic? Yes. Being disabled? Yes.  Not being Christian? Yes. But people who are any or all of those things and not white? Have it SO much harder. And that is completely unfair.

White people, stop getting mad when someone tells you that you have white privilege!  And while you’re at it, stop saying you’re colorblind too. The only people who should be saying they are colorblind are the ones who physically cannot see colors/most/some colors (true colorblindness where you only see shades of black & white is considered pretty rare) and is more aptly called poor or deficient color vision.

It’s not a compliment. It’s not a good thing. If you can’t “see” a person’s skin color, you are erasing a huge part of their identity! It invalidates their identity, invalidates any racist experiences a person has had, it equates color with something negative, which it isn’t and should never be seen as.

 


As a white person, I acknowledge that I won’t always get it right. I cannot ever know the experience any BIPOC has. What I can do is stand by and support BIPOC in any way I can, and always be willing to learn – first and foremost from BIPOC. But without expecting them to put loads of emotional labor into educating me, or any other white person. BIPOC people have been treated horribly for hundreds of years.  The onus is on us to do better, to learn more, to research on our time. And if any BIPOC are willing to take their time and energy to educate you? Let them. Listen without arguing.

Be willing to learn without judgement or assuming you’re being judged.


Here are some articles which say some of the above better than I’m sure I did. Note that many of these are not recent articles. This isn’t a new issue.


 

Photos of 3 of my themed cookbooks, against a backdrop of colorful place-mats and flowers.

Media & Cookbooks

Upon seeing the cookbooks I have which are based on novels, TV shows, or movies, my friend Katherine asked if there were a lot of cookbooks like that? And said it could be neat to have a collection of them. 

If you’re like me, you’ve come across plenty of meals in stories you’ve read or shows/movies you’ve watched, where you really, really wish could . . . . have what they’re having. *ahem*

The (short) list I own includes:

I may have others that I’m forgetting, but I still have a lot of books to unpack.

Photos of 3 of my themed cookbooks, against a backdrop of colorful place-mats and flowers.

As much as I like these, I hadn’t really ever wondered if there were more out there until that night. When I got a chance, I decided to look into it, and fell into a seemingly endless internet treasure trove of media-based cookbooks.

I decided to list some of my favorites (based on their descriptions and/or reviews) here for you, in no particular order. (All of the links in this post are clean links; I am not an Amazon affiliate. But if you would like to donate to a really good cause when you make a purchase, please consider going to http://smile.amazon.com and selecting the National Leiomyosarcoma Foundation (based out of East Lansing, MI, founded in 2004). Leiomyosarcoma is the rare, aggressive cancer that killed my beautiful wife. 

If you are gluten free like me, you’ll have to make some substitutions, but this is generally not difficult. I tried my best to avoid cookbooks where the recipes are completely unrelated to the story or the cast, but are just “cleverly” named recipes but that’s all (ex: Edward Caesar Hands).



And then I came across one that was by Vincent Price. How could I skip that one? So I looked into cookbooks written by actors, but where the recipes weren’t tied to any specific show/film, and, well … there’s a lot of those, too! So I decided to make a separate list for them.

Has anyone ever seen a cookbook either based on the show Dallas (i.e. Miss Ellie was in the kitchen a lot in the early years), or one written by any of the cast?


 

Do you have a favorite (or favorites) book which I haven’t included? Please list it in the comments (title and author or editor) so that I can check it out!

Snow Flower and the Secret Fan by Lisa See - book cover

Impactful Books; Bonus Book #1

This story is set in 19th century China, in a rural Hunan province, and tells the story of Snow Flower, and her laotong (friends for life, literally “old sames”), Lily.  Lily’s aunt describes a laotong match this way: “A laotong relationship is made by choice for the purpose of emotional companionship and eternal fidelity. A marriage is not made by choice and has only one purpose—to have sons.”

Lily narrates, looking back on her life and her friendship with Snow Flower.

The two girls, who become dear friends, go through many of life’s tribulations at the same time — such as the practice of foot binding. They write letters to one another on a fan with Nü Shu, a secret phonetic form of ‘women’s writing which Lily’s aunt taught them.

Lily comes from a relatively poor family, but her bound feet are considered beautiful, and this aids her in marrying into the most powerful family in the area. She becomes very influential, and a mother to 4 children. Snow Flower’s family was well-to-do, but marries a butcher (considered a low class profession), and has a miserable life – both with the loss of children, and an abusive husband.

Snow Flower and the Secret Fan shows us human suffering through foot binding, the suffering of women of the time (women were seen as property — and treated as such), journeying up the mountains to escape the Taiping Rebellion, the return back to find so many dead. (It is estimated the number of people killed was approximately 20 million!)

A big part of this story is the laotong relationship shared between Snow Flower and Lily. It is a major aspect of the book. Lily has a strong need for love — and an inability to forgive anything she sees as betrayal leads her to hurt many, especially her closest friend.

Yet Snow Flower still calls Lily to her side, and Lily goes, when Snow Flower needs her late in life.


The book was adapted into a film in 2011. I haven’t seen it yet, but hope to soon.

A Week of Impactful Books, #7

As mentioned previously, in seventh grade, I was reading an unusual combination of book genres. The Babysitter’s Club and the like because my handful of friends read them, and then I had at least something in common . . . and medical thrillers. Horror novels. And an assortment of other “adult” novels (not to be confused with Adult novels (*ahem*).

One of my favorite discoveries of that year continues to be one of my favorite books. It is high on my lists of books I cannot wait to have access to again, once all of my books are unpacked!

Steven Spruill‘s Painkiller.

I wrote a review for it on Amazon in 2007 (it’s still there) where I called it “intense and riveting!”. I stand by that description!

One thing I really enjoy about reading, is that I’ve come across very few books where I don’t find something new each time I read it. Oh, it was always there, but in my experience, each time I re-read a book, I do so with better understanding, more knowledge — this is especially true of books I read as a kid/teen, and then again as an adult with a better understanding of the world.

As a teen, I could appreciate the three-dimensional characters, written with much depth. You feel like you know them before you’re very far into the book. You can really empathize with the main character, Sharon.  I could appreciate how the story kept me on the edge of my seat, waiting to see what happened next. And the medical wonders of what one character is trying to achieve . . . despite the darkness of how he tries to achieve it.

And I can (and do) still appreciate all of those elements as an adult. But, as an adult, especially after I worked for two health insurance companies, and after dealing with hard to diagnosis (and hard to treat) problems of my own, it makes more of the actual medical parts of a medical thriller come to life for me. As a teen reading it, not having had a lot of experience in the medical world, it was interesting, but I lacked awareness and understanding I have as an adult. (Given, if you’ve had to grow up in hospitals, you may see things in the story that I missed the first few times around.)

I see more and more research articles from people trying to solve the unsolvable illnesses, and sometimes I wonder . . . who was inspired by medical thrillers but went about their research the ethical way?

In 2007, on Amazon, I said that this was a book not to be missed.

In 2019, here, I’ll tell you, this is a book not to be missed.

(And read Spruill’s other books too, if you can find copies – he’s a great author!)

The Power of One by Bryce Courtenay - book cover

A Week of Impactful Books, #6

Courtenay’s novel is in South Africa during the 1930s and 1940s, and tells the story of a boy who, overtime, acquires the nickname of Peekay. Adult Peekay narrates his story, looking back on his life. It was adapted into a film in 1992, but I don’t think I’ve ever made it all the way through the film. The book, however, I’ve read numerous times.

Peekay’s story begins when his mother has a nervous breakdown, and he is then raised by a Zulu wet nurse. She eventually becomes his nanny. He is sent to boarding school while still a young child, and suffers abuse at the hands of the older students. Some because of his age, some because of race. There are Nazi sympathizers at the school, which Peekay must learn to deal with to survive (especially emotionally) schooling.

He deals with much humiliation, loneliness, and abandonment in childhood, yet finds the determination and drive to survive, and dreams of what his life could be. He begins to be able to realize his dreams when he meets a boxing champion on a train ride. Peekay is inspired to be the welterweight champion of the world.


Knowledge about history during the time the book takes place will help you make more sense out of a lot of the background events in Peekay’s story.  (Especially the Boer War and WWII in South Africa.)

Here is a helpful Reader’s Guide in case you’re not as familiar with the events as you’d like to be, or if you need a quick brush up: https://www.penguinrandomhouse.com/books/32534/the-power-of-one-by-bryce-courtenay/9780345410054/readers-guide/

From 2012: http://www.abc.net.au/news/2012-11-23/bryce-courtenay-dead-at-79/4388010