Podcast

Podcast: Riding the Subway Without Pants is a Thing? … Why??

This has been a week, hasn’t it? I had so much more to talk about but alas, I think listening to me for one hour is way too long as it is, I wouldn’t dream of  pushing my luck any further. I had a hard time articulating my thoughts about the censorship that is happening – it’s unbelievable to me that America has reached this point. Is this the beginning of the end for our Constitution? Book review is “Burden of Truth” by Robin James. Listen to the end for some interesting story ideas. Talk to you next week!

Mentioned in podcast:

CENSORSHIP: Facebook Deletes 1.7 Million Member Group ‘Joe Biden Is Not My President!’ With NO WARNING Or Explanation
Epidemic of Hysteria
NAUSEATING: Kamala’s Cry For “FWEEDOM” From Her Stroller – Plagiarizing MLK
LA public health officials: ‘Any activity outside your home is high-risk’
The biggest election fraud of all
“I’m Just In The Way”: Political Director Of ABC News Talks About ‘Cleansing’ America Of Trump Supporters
Monolith appears next to hiking trail at Wisconsin park
Michigan business installs ice shanties for outdoor dining
Plywood crashes through woman’s windshield on Florida highway
Nova Scotia kite-surfer finds message in a bottle with diamond ring
No Pants Subway Ride canceled for 2021 due to COVID-19

Intermission Music:
Thar by Pratzapp & sakura Hz | https://soundcloud.com/pratzapp
Music promoted by https://www.free-stock-music.com
Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License
https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/deed.en_US

Take me on the go! You can hear my podcast on the following platforms:

Anchor.fm

Apple Podcast

Spotify

Overcast

Google Podcasts

Breaker

Pocket Casts

Radio Public

RSS Feed

I upload a new podcast every week. Thanks for listening!

*TALK” to you soon!

Writing Mechanics

Class – How to Write a Short Story

It’s no secret that I love short stories. I like reading them and writing them. I like writing them because they are quick and relatively easy for me. I also lose interest in my story after about 5,000 words and am ready to move on to something else.

So when I saw this online class on Brandon Sanderson’s channel, I couldn’t resist posting it here for those that may be interested in writing short stories. I learned a lot from this class, I hope you do, too.

If you want to do the exercise in the comment section, feel free!

Class cliffnotes:

These elements help you determine where a story/stops and the kind of conflict your characters face.

MICE

Milieu begins when your character enters a new space and ends when your character exits the space. Conflict is the middle that stops your character from reaching his/her goal. The moment the goal has been reached is the moment the story ends.

Inquiry stories are driven by questions. It begins with the question a character has and ends when the question has been answered.

Character stories are driven by angst. Simplest form, story begins when they are unhappy with themselves and end when they are happy. But really these stories begin with an identity shift, a shift in how the character self-defines and they end when the character’s self-definition solidifies, when they have a new understanding of self – Example: coming-of-age stories, romances.

Event stories are driven by action. These begin when the status quo, or the sense of normal, is disrupted and they’re restored when there’s a new status quo. External threat.

Character event – internal conflict.
Event event – external conflict.

Milieu formula: <m> <i> </i> </m>
Start with milieu, incident, close incident, close milieu.

Wizard of Oz is a perfect example:

<c> character – Kansas girl
<e> event Tornado
<m>milieu Welcome to Oz
<i>inquiry Get back home
</i> close inquiry Go back home
</m> close milieu Dorothy leaves Oz
</e> close event Arrives back in Kansas
</c> close character Kansas girl didn’t need to look any further than my own backyard.

Honesty, this breakdown really helped me formulate the story structure in my head and I think it will prove really helpful in future stories.

Happy writing!

Politics

Oh Look! There Goes Our Freedom of Speech – Everyone Wave Goodbye!

Watch this:

Did you laugh? Crack a smile?

If not, I’ve got nothing more to offer you.

*sigh*

What a week, right? In a lot of ways, I feel like this actress in the above video – I keep circling back to the same place but I’m lost every time I get there. Nothing makes sense and yet, it all seems familiar.

I had no idea what was happening on Wednesday. I was at work and (thankfully) immersed and focused on clinic. It wasn’t until Kevin text me that I had an inkling of what was happening.

Huge crowds in Washington DC. Trump making speech.

Protestors storm the capital – people have been shot. 

At first, I was like, “cool! People showed up! I wonder if that will help at all.”

And then, “crap. People storming the capital will NOT help at all.”

After clinic was over, I started trolling (reliable) news sources. It looked bad but I reserved judgement.

When I came home, I watched (trusted) commentaries and I. GOT. FIRED. UP.

I sat down and pounded out a heated blog post. I got my frustrations off my chest and I felt satisfied with my words. I scheduled it to post the next day. I went to bed.

I got up the next morning and deleted my post.

It was too heated. It was too biased. And I didn’t want to be a typical Democrat and run off my emotions. I needed to take a minute to breathe and look at the BIG picture. Remember? I challenge myself to remain balance and look at all sides of an issue. It’s not always easy, but I think we all need to challenge ourselves to approach difficult times this way.

And now, here we are several days later and honestly, I think the violence at the capital is the least of our concerns at this point in time.

It’s official, Biden/Harris will be in the White House for the next four years. Georgia elected their Democrat candidates (whether that was a fair election or not remains to be seen – isn’t it sad that we will continue to question the validity of elections from this point on? Even if the Republicans win, we’ll ask ourselves – was it fair??) and now we have a one-party rule. The Democrats are in power and there is NO telling what kind of damage they will inflict the next four years (hopefully two years if we can get more Republican candidates into the House or Senate). They have the power to pass anything. A.N.Y.T.H.I.N.G. Whose going to stop them?

NOBODY.

This fact alone makes me very uncomfortable. And a little scared, to be honest. Take notice, readers, who knows what our country will look like by 2024.

The attack on the capital was not cool. I don’t support it. Violence is never the answer. But I understand it. People were worked up into a frenzy these past two months. We had Trump yelling from the rooftops that the election was a fraud and he actually won. We had Sidney Powell yelling from the rooftops that “she was going to bring on the Kracken.” We had Rudy Guiliano touting his legal team and they were building evidence and were confident they could turn this around. These people gave us hope. They made us believe, though not easy, we had one last chance to turn this nightmare around.

And then … crickets. Nothing. All of the hoopla just sort of died down. Still. I was hopeful. Maybe they were keeping their cards close to their chest, I thought. They didn’t want to show their hand too soon. I could understand that. I was thankful they were doing that. I was hopeful they had an ace up their sleeve. And who knows, maybe they did? But when the courts came back and told them they didn’t have standing and then the Supreme Court refused to hear their case, I knew it was over. I just didn’t see how Trump would pull it off. Still. I had a bit of hope. He’s always managed to get things done in the past. Surely he would pull this off? And he continued to give people hope. He refused to concede. He made it seem like we had a chance at the January 6th Electoral Count. He encouraged people to show up to help support him. And he led people to believe if they would just show up in support on January 6th, we could turn this around.

Now maybe Trump didn’t come right out and say this, but he certainly implied it – I don’t think he ever flat out denied it. But it was enough to spur people into action and they showed up. By the thousands. Which was cool – it showed that people still cared what happened to our country and were worried a Democrat monopoly would ruin our country. But as is often the case when you have thousands of people show up to an event and emotions are running high and they are frustrated and tired of being ignored and/or labeled every time they express concerns or dare to ask a question, you have chaos.

Who knows what sparked the deluge on the capital. Emotions were running so high it wouldn’t have taken much to light that powder keg to begin with. It was a desperate attempt to try and take back control over something they didn’t have any control over for a very long time. Was it right? No. Of course not. But it was human.

And let’s be honest. The woman who got shot trying to climb into a window with a backpack on … it was the only thing that COULD happen. In the moment, in the middle of sheer chaos, those security guys had no idea what her intention was. They had no idea what was in the backpack. They did their jobs, they protected the capital. It was sad it turned out that way, but you can’t act aggressive in situations like that and not expect consequences.

When that happened, I knew it was over for Trump. And indeed, he has had people jumping ship ever since that incident. People are distancing themselves from him because they don’t want to go down with him. Trump is now toxic, politically speaking. It’s sad, but again, I understand the emotion behind it.

Did I think Trump wanted that to happen? Of course not. Do I think Trump encouraged people to show up and act like fools? No. But I think his rhetoric had that unintentional effect.

Biden had the perfect, PERFECT, opportunity to practice what he has been preaching from the beginning of his campaign – unity. Let’s all come together. That situation was the perfect backdrop – everyone agreed it was unacceptable. No one defended the attack on the capital. But Biden/Harris didn’t do that because they do what every Democrat is pre-programmed to do – they took advantage of the crisis and turned it political. Not only did they turn it political, but they further twisted that screw into the narrative to try and blame racial divide. If this is not positive proof that the Biden/Harris administration has NO DESIRE to bring people together, I honestly don’t know what further proof you need.

This is just a TASTE of the divisiveness heading our way. I hope you have a firm hold of something because it’s going to be a bumpy and ugly ride.

It absolutely sickened me the way Biden and Harris handled that situation. They were almost gleeful that they were able to use this as yet another hit on the wedge between sides. They want it their way, or no way. There is no compromise.

Which leads me to the issue I feel is the most serious – the way the social platforms are treating this. Facebook / Twitter have banned President Trump’s account. Facebook has been going through and deleting conservative groups consisting of a million people. These platforms are systematically “purging” any and all opinions that do not support their agenda. And remember the Section 230 hearing that I broke down for you? It’s been voted down. Approving Section 230 would have made Facebook and Twitter publishers, meaning they would not be able to censor people on their platform – they would, under law, have to allow dissenting viewpoints. But since it was not approved, they are not publishers, they remain private companies and they can do what they please. Which, to be fair, is right. They are private companies. People do not have to use them, but what are the alternatives? Facebook and Twitter have been successful in squashing every competitor. Their latest attempt has been to try and de-platform Parler, a site that is similar to Twitter. Apple Play Store and Google Play Store have already removed the ability to download the Parler app onto your phone. Their rationale? They don’t want to promote hate speech. They believe these platforms are what instigated and coordinated the attack on the capital. The real reason? They don’t want to give people a platform in which they dare to express opinions different than their own. They want to make it difficult for conservatives to have a place where they can voice their thoughts and opinions.

It’s 1984 come to life. It’s what Communist China does to their people. They are allowed to use tightly controlled programs that their government manages so they can ensure their message, and no opposing thoughts or opinions, gets to the people. It gives me goosebumps to think we’re heading in the same direction. And do you think Biden/Harris will stop it? NO. They want to do MORE. They don’t think we’ve done ENOUGH censoring.

And it’s all fine and dandy to agree with this censorship when you agree with what is being pushed, how are you going to feel when YOU’RE censored? How would you feel right now if the conservatives were doing this to you and your opinions were left out to dry? I’m betting you wouldn’t be so supportive at that point. Who’s to say it won’t happen to you? What are you going to do? What can you do? Any and all people who might be able to help have already been silenced.

Was Trump annoying with his messages? Yes. Was he less than tactful at times and a bit of a bully? Unquestionably. Did he deserve to be censored? No. Our freedoms of speech are being seriously attacked here and if we don’t fight this it will disappear.

Even if you’re NOT a conservative, would you want that? Remember. As long as you are agreeing with the agenda and going along with the plan, you’re fine to speak up. What happens if you disagree? What happens when you’re no longer allowed to voice your concerns? What happens when your questions are twisted and distorted and you’re called a racist for simply ASKING A DAMN QUESTION?

*takes a breath*

Whew. I need to calm down. I’m getting heated again. But what is happening right now? SHOCKS AND SADDENS ME. And scares me, quite frankly.

I deleted my Twitter account today. My Facebook account has been deleted for quite some time. And not using those platforms does not bother me, they are free platforms free to do what they want. I figure as long as you’re using their product you have to play by their rules. Don’t like them apples? Them dump the basket. But the fact that they are a monopoly and SO big and virtually untouchable, that scares me. What’s the alterative? Right now, we don’t have one.

But then again, why does it really matter? We have certainly survived without these social platforms before, we shall survive without them again. We have the media to …

Oh wait.

We DON’T have the media. The big names, CNN, MSNBC, ABC, FOX  are just as bad as Facebook and Twitter. In fact, they are worse. Because they cherry pick news stories. They take things out of context and twist them into something that resembles THEIR truth. And people buy it, hook, line and sinker. They bend over and cough. They open their mouths and say, “spoon feed me more of your truth please because it hurts my brain too much to resist your crap.”

*sigh*

This is madness, people. Absolute madness. Where do we go from here? What’s next? I think President Trump has given us a hint:

This was posted on the POTUS Twitter account that Obama set up and will transfer to Biden. I think it’s still active, who knows. But the fact that Trump eludes to something coming gives me hope.

Look. This whole situation goes way beyond Trump. In fact, it’s not even about Trump anymore, it’s about Freedom of Speech. There are some people out there that think Trump should run in 2024. I disagree. I think he needs to be done with politics. I’m confident he will never win the presidency again. And if he ran, that would just prevent another Republican candidate of having any chance at all.

No. I think he should stay out of politics. What I think he should do is build a company, a network, a social media platform, that will give Facebook and Twitter a serious run for their money. I think he should build a platform where conservatives can voice their opinion and have a place to express their freedoms of speech. I think that is the only way we’re going to squelch this gross abuse of power from Facebook and Twitter. Trump has the money, he has the brains, and he has the business sense to get it done. And it would give him the ultimate revenge against these companies that tried to muzzle him, and his followers. I have no idea what he has up his sleeve, but I really hope this idea is on the table for him.

So now what? What do we do now? We stay alert and pay attention to what is going on around us. We take a stand and we do NOT allow anyone to silence us. We have gotten to a point where we can’t even ask questions. If you think the Democrats will be satisfied now that Trump is out of office? Think again friends. With Trump gone, who’s left? Conservatives. Us, the people who dare disagree with their radical agendas.

If this sounds dramatic it’s because it is. We’re reached that point. There are no more obstacles. The Democrats have nothing standing in their way. They can do whatever they want because they have complete control.

You asked for it. Here we go. Whatever happens? Is on the people who voted for Biden/Harris. Be careful what you wish for.

Since we started with something funny, let’s end on something funny. I’ve been a fan of JP’s for a while now. Enjoy.

Podcast

Podcast: Dr. Fauci Says Now is the Time to Do as You Are Told

This was published 11-5-20

Well, you asked for it and ready or not, here it is! Kevin and I promoted our podcast to video! (Actually, no one asked for it but this has now become our hobby so … you’re welcome! LOL) Let me just tell you .. Kevin was a reluctant participate at first but now that we’ve been doing this for several weeks, he’s way more into the recording part of our podcast than I am. And I don’t even do most of the work! I just show up and talk.

He purchased a license to Filmora 9 editing software and he’s been loving it! He learns something a little each time he uses it and now that we’ve been doing this for a bit, he’s getting really good at it.

I confess. I haven’t watched these all the way through. It’s not because I don’t support Kevin and all of his hard work putting these together (he spends HOURS lining up the audio with the video as we record on the microphone and record them on the camera) but because I can’t stand to watch myself. I’ll watch them back eventually but right now? It’s too soon.

Please be patient as we (and by we I mean Kevin) works through camera issues. He’s getting better and better and he learns a little more each time. He is playing around with transitions and I think he taught himself how to insert pictures/graphs.

Our channel is Right From Us on YouTube. I know at some point he’s going to make an account on Rumble simply because we can’t trust YouTube to eventually find us and censor us as we’re right leaning and obviously critical of radical left wing agendas. I’ll link that account when that happens.

Anyway. I hope you enjoy two mature (ahem) people shoot the breeze about today’s politics. We are working on making our podcast more lighthearted and fun as we don’t want it to just become a bitch fest. And we’re also working really hard to challenge ourselves to think objectively and present ALL sides to an issue, not just OUR side.

Thanks for watching!

Books Read - Podcast/Transcript

Five-Star Books from 2020

Here are the books I rated five stars from 2020.

I read 90 books in all in 2020.

Most of the books I read were four stars, a few three stars and I think I gave one two stars.

I don’t give books five stars very often – there has to be a good twist, something that takes me by surprise or I just loved the characters for me to rate it five stars.

If you’re looking for something to read in 2020, I can recommend the below books. These are all on Kindle Unlimited if you’re a member. If you’re not, I HIGHLY recommend joining, if you have a Kindle, of course. I’m a huge e-book reader. I haven’t bought a real book in … wow, several years, in fact. I simply don’t have the room for them. And quite honestly, I absolutely love my Kindle – I can’t imagine my life without it.

(Looks like some of these are no longer on Kindle Unlimited. Bummer).

These are too small to see, but you can tell that the majority of books I read were four star books. I probably could have rated a few of them five stars but I felt I was a little harsher in my ratings this year. I think my expectations were higher since I had over 30 five-star books in 2019 and only 20 five-star books this year.

The four two-star books are: Everything My Mother Taught Me, Daughters of the Lake, Virgin River #1, Scorned, which might surprise some people but the reason I didn’t like Scorned is because a scorned woman had very little to do with the story so I felt deceived by the title cover and the title. You can see my stats in more detail here, if you’re interested.

My 2021 reading goal is 55. I lowered the number because I plan on devoting more of my time to writing this year. Again, you can always see what I’m currently reading in the Goodreads widget in the sidebar.

Stay tuned for some reading vlogs!

Work Stuff

Navigating an Escape Room – Did We Do It?

Hint: see picture.

From left to right: Me, our medical secretary, our doctor, our nurse, our physician’s assistant.

We’ve been a team now for … nearly four years (?). We are a close-knit group and I’m very blessed to be a part of this group. It’s so rare to find people that you genuinely like, let alone want to stick around for that long together. We all recognize how blessed we are to have one another and we don’t take advantage of that. We celebrate our birthdays, medical secretary, nurses, physician assistant and medical assistant weeks together. We all know our roles on our team and we work well together. We just click.

I figure I have about ten more years before I retire. That will closely coincide with my doctor’s plans as well. He’s younger than me but being a surgeon is hard on your body so doctors typically retire younger than the rest of us mortals.

I know him pretty well and he has come to trust me. I’m very loyal to my doctor because he had my back when I was dealing with his nightmare nurse. And I stuck it out. I put up with her for two years and it got so bad it started affecting my physically and I ended up in the ER with what I thought was a heart attack. Thank God it was only anxiety. Something I never had before in my life before that nightmare on legs waltzed into my life. (And she was a legit nightmare – she was one of those people who loved being called a nurse but didn’t really want to be A nurse. Don’t get me started). And when I say loyal, I mean, he chose me over his nurse. I will forever feel grateful for that. I don’t know that anyone has ever really stuck up for me like that.

Telemedicine has been super hard on all of us. It’s completely reshaped who we are as medical professionals and in how we approach our processes. And Dr. M has seen how it has affected us, his team, and he wanted to show his appreciation by taking us out for Christmas.

Last Wednesday, we had a short clinic and after clinic, we all went to an Asian-inspired sandwich shop. We were all a little nervous to eat there because we didn’t understand half of what was on the menu but it was fun to try something different. I played it safe and stuck to good ole chicken but DAYUM, the chicken I had was delicious! It was heavy on the breading but it melted in my mouth and was so good!

He bought all of us presents. He gave me a foot massager. It’s not one of those with water but you stick your feet into the machine and it massages your feet. I haven’t tried it yet, but with my plans on getting back to walking, I’m looking forward to using it.

After our gift opening, we headed to the Escape Room. We checked in and Dr. M was kind enough to reserve the room so we wouldn’t have to worry about sharing it with strangers. He knew we would have much more fun if it was just the five of us. The name of our mystery to solve was “Missing Musician.”

Your mentor, and one of the world’s premier musicians, has gone missing.  On the precipice of releasing his masterpiece that would put his name with the great musicians of the past.  He’s always been a bit of a strange fellow, to have that kind of talent requires some level of insanity.  Over the past few months he’s become paranoid and reclusive and now he’s vanished with the only clue being a letter directing you to his study.

You decide to investigate but once in his study the door has shut and locked behind you.  Was there foul play involved or has he simply run off to never be heard from again?  It’s up to you to find out what happened to him and figure out how to get out of his study.

After going over the rules, they locked us in the room and we had one hour to try and figure out how to get out. There was a sofa, a cabinet with a box inside, pictures on the walls, something in the wall we had to open, sort of like a safe, a piano, and a bookcase. There was also a suitcase with three locks on it. The piano bench also had a lock. The piano cover had a lock on it and there were a few keypads around the room. In essence, we had to figure out codes and combinations to open the locks and punch into keypads. There was a large, flat screen TV on the wall and it all started with a short video explaining what happened to give us some context. If, after about ten minutes, we didn’t discover and solve the first puzzle, a clue would appear on the TV. We did not discover the first puzzle but we were able to figure it out after the clue was given. It all started with a cassette case in a box on the bookcase. On that cassette tape was the order in which we would find clues. That was hugely helpful but it was still very challenging.

I’ll be honest, we had a lot of clues. At one point, we found a key that opened a drawer in the wall which had another key and a flashlight/black light. We used that key to open another door which started a disco ball thingie on the coffee table turning and loud music to play. It also threw the room into a black light setting which allowed us to use the flashlight to illuminate clues on the walls. (I neglected to mention there was graffiti on the walls). After unlocking the padlock on the piano bench, we pulled out a series of music sheets that we then had to use on the piano to unlock another puzzle. It’s all very complicated and hard to explain, especially since the whole experience was a bit of a frenzied blur, but suffice it to say, I did little more than offer ideas now and again leaving it up to our nurse and physician’s assistant to solve the harder stuff.

Oh. There was one part where we had to place an aux cord into a power board using the clues we gleaned from the black light clues on the wall but for whatever reason it wouldn’t work. We KNEW we had it right but nothing happened. After about five minutes, one of the Escape Room workers popped his head in to see what was happening and he said they had had a power surge the night before and the board wasn’t working. Obviously, he gave us the next clue so we could move on and gave us extra time which was greatly appreciated.

The next to last clue was trying to figure out some hieroglyphics on some sheet music and once we figured it out, one of the pictures on the wall dropped scaring the beejeebus out of all us. All of us girls actually screamed and it was pretty funny. That was our jump scare, I suppose.

The last step was a series of levers that we had to either lift up or down, depending on the clues that we had and that gave us the combination to put into the keypad to unlock the door.

WE WON! We had six minutes to spare though to be fair, if we hadn’t been given extra time because of the malfunction it would have been SUPER close. But damn, it was fun. I think Dr. M had a lot of fun, too.

After we took our picture, we all got back into Dr. M’s truck (yes, he drove us all – how nice!) and headed back to the hospital. The day wasn’t quite over so me, our medical secretary and our nurse all went back inside to finish the day.

That is an odd feeling – to go out, have loads of fun and then immediately go back to work. lol

Anyway. I think it would be fun to do something like that with the family. Maybe I can talk them into doing something like that, we’ll see.

It was a great Christmas gift and we were able to forget, just for a time, the COVID nightmare for a little while. Though we all wore our masks the whole time so we couldn’t completely forget about it.

Have you ever done an escape room?

Podcast

Podcast: If the Government Said They Would Give You $1500 to Get the COVID Vaccine – Would You?

Take me on the go! You can hear my podcast on the following platforms:

Anchor.fm

Apple Podcast

Spotify

Overcast

Google Podcasts

Breaker

Pocket Casts

Radio Public

RSS Feed

I upload a new podcast every week. Thanks for listening!

*TALK” to you soon!

(I’m curious – are you going to get the COVID-19 vaccine when available? Take my poll and we’ll talk about it!)

Book Corner

Book Review: Games We Played (ARC)

Buy the book on Amazon

When actress Rachel Goldberg shares her personal views on a local radio show, she becomes a target for online harassment. Things go too far when someone paints a swastika on her front door, not only terrifying her but also dredging up some painful childhood memories. Rachel escapes to her hometown of Carlsbad. To avoid upsetting her parents, she tells them she’s there to visit her Orthodox Jewish grandmother, even though that’s the last thing she wants to do. But trouble may have followed her.

Stephen Drescher is home from Iraq, but his dishonorable discharge contaminates his transition back to civilian life. His old skinhead friends, the ones who urged him to enlist so he could learn to make better bombs, have disappeared, and he can’t even afford to adopt a dog. Thinking to reconnect with his childhood friend, he googles Rachel’s name and is stunned to see the comments on her Facebook page. He summons the courage to contact her.

Rachel and Stephen, who have vastly different feelings about the games they played and what might come of their reunion, must come to terms with their pasts before they can work toward their futures.

 

 

 

Wow. There is so much to unpack here, I’m not really sure where to begin.

I initially gave this book three stars, then changed it to four stars. Here’s why: The subject matter is disturbing and the character is gay.

There, I said it. It bothered me. This is not something I usually pick up and read, nor have any desire to read, but I wanted to challenge myself. I based my rating on my personal beliefs and views and that’s not fair to the story, nor the author, so I changed it to four stars because the writing was well done, the story, though uncomfortable, was handled carefully and it’s a subject that should be talked about and analyzed, not swept under the rug.

Again. It’s about being fair, not about my personal beliefs concerning how the character lives her life nor the subject matter.

Rachel is an up-and-coming actress and though not famous, she is well-known enough in the area to be doing fairly well for herself. In an attempt to promote herself, her girlfriend makes a Facebook page and a Twitter account to promote her. Rachel’s best friend (whose name escapes me right now), writes a lot of the plays she stars in and they are controversial, her latest being about abortion. When Rachel participates in a radio interview she dares to offer her real opinions on the matter which stirs up the crazies and she effectively puts a target on her back. When these haters learn that she’s Jewish, that brings in the Antisemitism people and before long, they find out where she lives and puts that information on Facebook, maybe even Twitter.

They “doxy” her. Meaning, they publicize her personal information thereby making it easy for the haters to find her and terrorize her. This part bothered me because she could have reported the incident to Facebook and/or Twitter and they would have removed the post and most likely penalized the user as that goes against the terms of service. So Rachel’s argument of not deleting her accounts, only the posts, because she didn’t want them to win was a bit lame, in my opinion. Not reporting them only encouraged the haters to become more bold and obnoxious. And I got very impatient with Rachel for not deleting her accounts and instead, choosing to keep them and then torture herself by continuing to read the comments which only served to push her further down into her dark hole of self doubt and insecurities. You can’t have it both ways, either delete your accounts if it bothers you that much and/or, report the jerks and delete/block commenters. I realize haters multiple like weeds, but if you choose to put yourself online, you have to expect there will be people who don’t like you – it’s inevitable. So make a decision, don’t choose to continue to torture yourself and then feel sorry for yourself – I can’t stand characters that choose to wallow in a cesspool of their own making.

Number one rule if you have an online presences, don’t feed the trolls.

I actually couldn’t stand Rachel. Not because she was a Jew, and not because she was gay but because she was a whiner. Everything was about her, about the way she felt, about everything going wrong in her life. She is stuck in a relationship with Liz, who is married to a man and has two children that require a lot of her time. Rachel is stuck because she knows that Liz is stringing her along but she can’t cut her loose. Liz’s confusion is not Rachel’s problem. Cut. Her. Loose. The fact that Rachel wasn’t strong enough to accept the fact that Liz was using her and continued to use her, really grated on me. I know it easier said than done to tell someone to cut someone out of his/her life but if that person brings more grief than joy, then it’s best for everyone in the relationship to make the tough decision and get out.

And I lost a bit of respect for Rachel as well because she was, in essence, doing the same thing to Jo. Jo is a cop who drops everything to support Rachel when the threats against Rachel escalate. And Rachel takes advantage of that using Jo whenever she can because she can’t rely on Liz to be there for her.

So, Rachel’s clingy, insecure personality really turned me off.

As far as the Antisemitism aspect of the story, that was the most uncomfortable aspect of the story for me. I didn’t really care that Rachel was gay, though the way she handled her relationships really frustrated me, but the Antisemitism attacks was another story.

She has a complicated relationship with her faith, or lack thereof. That dissatisfaction stems largely from her grandmother who was a devout Jew and was militant in ensuring that Rachel grew up practicing Judaism. She was also made to be ashamed of her heritage because the boy who lived next to her continually called her “Jew girl” and they played games where he was a Nazi and she was his prisoner. The games they played soon turned sexual in nature and that further served to shake Rachel’s belief in her religion, and her sexuality.

I thought one of the more interesting aspects of the story was that the author made Stephen part of the story so the reader had a chance to see why Stephen believed he was a Nazi – because his grandfather was a racist bigot and going along with that belief gave him an excuse to get closer to his grandfather, who was the only person in his life who really cared or paid attention to him. Stephen really didn’t know, nor understand what being a Nazi was, he just wanted a place where he belonged and since his grandfather was the only person who paid attention to him, immersing himself in that belief was what he needed to do.

This is also evident later in life when Stephen goes looking for his Antisemitism friends after being discharged from the military – because again, he needed to find someplace where he felt like he belonged. Where he was a part of something.

I really appreciated the author putting Stephen into the story because it serves to demonstrate that people that belong to hate groups are people too and there is usually a series of unfortunate events that molds them into thinking, and living, that way. I’m not excusing these people, but I think it’s important that we remember that these haters are people who have likely been misdirected and that there is a misguided reason for them being the way they are. They are human, too.

I ended up feeling sorry for Stephen as he tries very hard to be something he’s really not but because he’s never been taught to believe anything else, he sticks to what he knows. He’s just looking for someone to love him.

Gladys’ story was an interesting element. Gladys’ family was captured by the Nazis and killed, at least, it’s presumed they are killed as Gladys never sees them again. But she ends up confessing her past to Stephen because Stephen reminds her of a Nazi soldier that her sister got quite close to. This was a way for Gladys to confess her past and perhaps make sense of it. This closeness confuse Stephen even more as she’s a Jew and he’s been taught to hate Jews but she’s also one of the few people in his young life to pay attention to him so he has a sort of love/hate relationship with Gladys.

Honestly, I ended up liking Stephen more than Rachel as I felt like Stephen’s character grew and evolved where Rachel just continued to feel sorry for herself. Rachel did end up growing a spine at the end and getting rid of Liz, but then she jumped right into another relationship with Jo. So, she learned something about herself but I didn’t get the feeling her character actually grew into something better.

The author does a nice job of handling a difficult and sensitive subject. She was successful in playing fair to all parties and in showing the reader that life choices and our upbringing are often the reason we believe what we believe and the choices we make in life. I think it’s a good reminder to all of us that we need to not judge so quickly, because everyone has a story to tell and often that story is what molds us in the people we become.

Life

The Obligatory Goals Post

It goes against blogging rules to start the new year WITHOUT posting goals. I can not break the blogging rules, there is no telling what sort of chaos would be unleashed and Lord knows, we don’t need more chaos right now.

Can I get an amen?

Let’s start with my goals from last year. Which I didn’t post. WHICH IS PROBABLY WHY 2020 WAS SO CRAPPY. It’s my fault! Well that explains it. I’m truly sorry for that. Let’s right the world and move on … *ahem*

My 2020 goals were:

  1. Learn calligraphy
  2. Clean out my closet
  3. Write 1st draft
  4. Buy new kitchen table
  5. Complete 1st Bujo project
  6. Complete paint-by-number
  7. Settle finances i.e, living trust
  8. Paint exterior house
  9. Buy/Learn new board games
  10. Buy a new Garmin
  11. Find a PCP (primary care physician)
  12. Make vacation books
  13. Make back bedroom into my office
  14. Buy a new cell phone
  15. Start a writing journal

Let’s see how I did …

  1. I did not learn calligraphy. I bought books and pens, but I haven’t actually practiced. No. That’s not true. I learned a few letters but only enough to do a spread in my bullet journal. I can not, in good conscience, cross this off my list.
  2. Check. I got rid of five bags full of clothes that I’ve been hanging on to for 20 years. My closet is still full, but it’s not overflowing like it was.
  3. Bwhahahaha – we all KNOW this didn’t happen.
  4. Not yet, but we’re on the hunt for one. We currently have a kitchen table with “tiles” and I hate it. Primarily because it gets food/crap in the cracks and we all know I’m not going to take the time to clean them out, unless someone is coming over and then I do it because it’s too embarrassing not to. However, with the boys no longer living with us, and since Kevin and I rarely cook anymore, let alone eat at the kitchen table since our schedules conflict, we don’t use it. (It’s still dirty though).
  5. I did complete a full year of bullet journaling. I’m pretty proud of  myself and I’m totally and completely hooked on bullet journaling now.
  6. I haven’t even started my paint-by-number. This may seem like an odd goal but I bought a Paris scene that I really like and I want to paint it and then hang in my office. I can’t explain why I want to do this, only that I feel compelled to do this.
  7. Check. Kevin and I met with a lawyer last February and put everything in a living trust. We wanted to make sure the boys got everything and the government got nothing. BOOM.
  8. Check. Kevin and I painted the exterior of the house this past October. We lucked out. It took us about three days to paint it and the weather was perfect for those three days. I painted the windows and Kevin did the majority of the work. It was hard work and hopefully we don’t have to do that odious task again for ten years but it looks good!
  9. Check. Sort of. I did buy a new board game, Dead of Winter. I watched videos on how to play it, (of course), but we haven’t actually figured out and/or played it yet. But we will.
  10. I did buy a new Garmin fitness tracker. It’s exactly like my old one, but I did buy a new one. I’ve had the one I’m currently wearing for about five years now and it’s looking pretty worn but I really like it and I really like that I can buy replacement bands for it. It looks like the newer fitness trackers you can’t buy replacement bands for and that irks me. I like choices. I don’t want to buy a new fitness tracker simply because the band has worn out. So I’m sticking to this one because I have replacement bands out the wazoo. I wear a Garmin Vivosmart HR, in case you were curious. We earn health points at work if you walk at least 6000 steps a day, that’s the primary reason why I wear one.
  11. I have not signed up for a PCP yet. Yes. I know. I’m old(ish), I need a PCP. Don’t judge.
  12. We have vacation pictures galore so I want to make vacation books. I want something physical that people can look at if they choose.
  13. Check. We converted Blake’s old bedroom into my office and I’M SO HAPPY WITH IT!
  14. Check. I bought a new cell phone. My last phone was five plus years old and I had gotten to the point that I couldn’t do much with it because it wasn’t supported anymore. I now have a Samsung A51, if you’re curious.
  15. I have not started a writing journal. And I’m not sure I really need one – wouldn’t this blog count as a writing journal?

So I accomplished seven out of 15 goals. Not bad. Better than I thought I would do.

Which brings us to my 2021 goals …

  1. Learn calligraphy – but not just calligraphy, but handwriting in general. I bought “The Ultimate Guide to Modern Calligraphy and Hand Lettering for Beginners” and I’ve been watching The Happy Ever Crafter YouTube channel. I really want to get to a point where I am actually decent at this. I have always hated my handwriting, which is basically printed block letters, and I would like to learn some more fun “fonts” just to spice things up a bit. To learn cute hand lettering techniques, I bought “Cute Hand Lettering for Journals, Planners and More” by Cindy Guentert-Baldo. She also has a fun YouTube channel if you’re a hard-core journaler.
  2. Write 1st draft of novel. I plan on taking advantage of CampNaNoWriMo in both April and July to work on that. Maybe. I plan on participating, I’m just not sure what project I will work on at this point.
  3. Write three short stories and post on my blog per month.
  4. Blog consistently. I have a schedule. Can I stick to it?
  5. Complete that damn paint-by-number.
  6. Find a PCP. *sigh*
  7. Make vacation books
  8. Consistently walk. I really want to tone back up.
  9. Take two long weekends and go to Montana, (I’m sort of obsessed with Montana right now, who knows why), and Florida. We would like to take our annual cruise but who knows if that will happen this year. If the world gods allow, then we will.

And that’s all I can think of for right now. I’m sure I’ll be adding more as I think about them.

Kevin and I are having a debate – is my list a goals list or more like a to-do list? For instance, I was going to put buying a kitchen table back on my list again, we still need one, but Kevin thinks that’s more of a to-do, not a goal.

Let’s look this up:

– A goal is ultimately the outcome you want to achieve. – An objective breaks each goal down into smaller steps, and identifies the specific actions that must be completed in order to achieve the goal. – A task is a specific set of steps taken to achieve the stated objective

So. Buying a kitchen table is a goal. Shopping for one is the task necessary to achieve that goal.

I’m not sure, but I think I made my point?

Anyhoo – vision boards.

Are you into those?

I don’t know. I have mixed feelings about vision boards. I mean, they’re great if you’re a visual person and you look at your vision board and obtain inspiration from it, but I look at vision boards and think they are a pretty collage. But to play along and be a team player, I made one on Canva:

Breaking this down: Blog, write, handlettering/calligraphy, walk and travel. (That’s a picture from Montana – do you see why I’m obsessed with it??)

I don’t know how useful a vision board is to me, but I’m going to print this off at Staples and put it in my bullet journal because I’M A TEAM PLAYER. (Also, I print colored stuff at Staples because it’s too expensive to own a color printer – pro tip for you).

Okay. Enough with the goals.

Comments are open – what are your top three goals you want to achieve in 2021?

Go.

At the Moment

What Does Your Bedroom Say About You?

First of all, this video really doesn’t tell you squat about your bedroom, but hey, I thought you might be interested in my bedroom so here we go – let’s psychoanalyze me.

Yes. This is my bedroom. No. It’s not Kevin’s bedroom. Yes, you are correct, we are married and we do not share a bedroom.

Psychoanalyze away.

Actually, I’ll help you. We don’t share a bedroom because I’m a fish and he’s Darth Vader. Let me explain. I am constantly flipping/flopping around in my sleep. I don’t know if I’m dreaming or the bed is just uncomfortable. Probably both. Also, I snore. Yes. I just freely admitted that. And it’s not a cute little woman snore either. It’s a deep, chain saw snore and no one can sleep through that, let alone my poor husband. And yes, I know this for a fact because Kevin has recorded me snoring before. Because I INSISTED, for YEARS, I did not snore.

Alas, I snore.

Kevin is Darth Vader. Meaning, he uses a C-Pap machine at night. He has to. He has sleep apnea. He did a sleep study and they said he stopped breathing about 80 times that night. I actually MADE him do a sleep study because there would be nights he would stop breathing and I would nudge him just to kick start him again. It was scary enough I insisted he get tested.

And I was right. (Of course *snicker).

Now. He uses a C-Pap and he sleeps way better at night, however, he sounds like Darth Vader and I can’t handle it. In fact, there were nights I wanted to take a pillow and ……. well, never mind.

So we don’t sleep together. We can’t. Because we don’t sleep. And we wake up tired and cranky not only with each other, but at the world at large and that’s no way to start your day, every day. It got so bad, we were becoming zombies and we decided we had had enough – we couldn’t do it anymore. Now, I have my bedroom, Kevin has his bedroom, we get much better sleep and we’re both happier people.

(And we’re still married).

Anyway. This is where I sleep. Let’s analyze …

  1. See those clothes on the rocking chair? And the shoes/slippers next to the rocking chair? Yeah, those clothes are there every day. I don’t even bother putting them away and here’s why, because I’m just going to get them back out again and frankly, I just don’t care. The clothes that are on the chair are as follows: Sweatpants, t-shirt (2), sweatshirt, shorts, bras. I wear sweatpants, t-shirt and sweatshirt to bed and the second t-shirt and shorts after my showers in the morning because mama is hot and has to cool down before dressing for work. The bras are there because again, why put them away when I’m going to put it back on less than 12 hours later? The khaki capris on the back of the chair? Yeah, those have been there for a few months because I’m too lazy to put them away. But hey! They will be ready to wear when spring hits. Yes, I’m one of those lazy people who kick my shoes off and leave them where I kicked them. However, I HAVE gotten better about moving them out of the middle of the room because I’ve tripped over them before and nearly broke a tooth landing on something so … erhm, lesson learned.
  2. I bought a new comforter set for my bed but if you notice, the bedskirt does not match in any way. It’s because I keep forgetting to look for a brown bedskirt when I go shopping and frankly I don’t care enough to make an effort to remember. It’s a bedskirt, who cares. (Yes, those are scrub pants on the bed – I’ll hang them up! Sheesh)
  3. This is where I literally throw all my jewelry and scarves. (And yes, more clothes). Do I have a place for all of my jewelry? Actually, yes. On top of my vanity. That’s the place I have designated for my jewelry. Judge away.
  4. My dirty-ass fan. I have no idea where the front part of that fan is and I don’t care. It still runs though I’ve had it for about five years and I run it every night because it gives me white noise so I can sleep (I’m a super light sleeper and I need something in the background so I don’t jerk away at the slightest creak, groan, or damn dog). It’s also dirty. Judge away.

The master bathroom is off to the left and our dirty clothes hamper is off to the right. Not pictured, the treadmill is in front of the curtain on the right and Blake’s shorts and t-shirt is hanging off the treadmill because he often comes over during the day to watch the TV that is on a shelf on the wall in front of the treadmill. I have no idea why he hangs his clothes on the treadmill.

*ahem*

So according to the video, I’m a slob. Well, it doesn’t say that but I think we can all agree it’s true. Or, we could say I’m “bigger-picture oriented” as the video says and I would agree with that. Mama ain’t got time to put things away; I’m already thinking about what I need to do for the next day. And again, I’m just going to drag that stuff out again, why put it away? I like to conserve my energy, I seem to have less and less every day.

If I had to sum my bedroom up in three words? Self-contained organized chaos. (Hyphenated words count as one!)

What three words would you use to describe your bedroom?

Oh, and HAPPY NEW YEAR!