Monday, January 19, 2015

Home Run!

As someone who grew up with biscuits or cornbread at nearly every single supper, going without has been tough.  After a while, I finally gave up on biscuits but kept dogging for a cornbread that tasted like corn bread, and didnt go weird tasting within 24 hours.

Thanks to the wonderous product The Vegg I have finally climbed the hill that was Mount Impossible and turned out some kick ass corn bread!!! 

Finding 'store bought' crackers that I'm able to eat is nearly impossible.  One of the brands that I thought was safe, has turned out not to be, sigh.  So, today I made my first batch of crackers!  They are a wee bit to salty, and if they are not evenly rolled out the thinner ones burn before the thicker ones are done.  They are seriously tasty, and will work on perfecting them! 

See?  Don't they look good?  Imagine a cross between a Ritz cracker and pie dough baked blind. crispy, crunchy and just a tad buttery. 
Oh, and yeah, the quest for biscuits hasn't ended, I just had to give it a break due to sorta loosing my temper when ever they would turn out like lead weights and hard as a rock.  I used to crank out biscuits by the pan full, light and fluffy, sigh. 



Ok, ok that was a mite over the top, but hey!  Give a guy a break, I have moments of being dramatic!

Saturday, January 10, 2015

All The Little Things by Panti Bliss

We need more LGBT activists speaking out in this manner.  My only quibble?  Is when he said, "Gays, lesbians, and bisexuals" and left out the trans folks.



Wednesday, January 7, 2015

...and so it goes, and so it goes





Reality is beginning to sink into even the thickest heads that the battle to stop equal marriage is lost.  Yes, we will still have to suffer from more nonsense lawsuits, and the rhetoric won't die down for awhile, but its really all over but the waiting for SCOTUS to get off their wrinkled behinds and rule that denying anyone the ability to marry any adult is unconstitutional.

And so the culture wars are already shifting into their next phase.  Trying to pass laws legalizing discrimination for religious reasons, and thankfully so far, none of these has managed to pass.  The only way I can see these hideous laws stopped for good is yet another ruling from SCOTUS.  But as slow as they move on anything, this will be years and years if not decades into the future.

So, what minority will next wear the mantle of hate and bigotry? Why none other than my trans sisters and brothers.  The haters have found a whipping child in the sad tale of Leelah.  I read this article today, and was moved between tears of anguish and anger. 

Read it and weep.

Exploiting tragedy: Transgender teen’s suicide poses parenting puzzles


Hell hath no fury like a 17-year-old with a political cause: If the outcome weren’t so tragic, we might draw that conclusion from Ohio teen Leelah Alcorn’s suicide note.

Born a boy and named Joshua, Alcorn had come to identify as female — and been frustrated by her parents’ response when she came out to them as transgendered. Before walking into traffic on Sunday morning, she left this message on her Tumblr blog:

“The only way I will rest in peace is if one day transgender people aren’t treated the way I was, they’re treated like humans, with valid feelings and human rights.”
There’s more: “Gender needs to be taught about in schools, the earlier the better. My death needs to mean something. My death needs to be counted in the number of transgender people who commit suicide this year. I want someone to look at that number and say ‘that’s f - - ked up’ and fix it. Fix society.”
According to Alcorn, her parents reacted “extremely negatively” when she broke the news. She wrote that her mother told her that it was just a phase and “God doesn’t make mistakes.”

Alcorn’s parents are Christians; they initially banned their son from social-networking sites and decided to homeschool him, in order, they said, to help him get over his inclinations. They sent him to Christian therapists who tried to talk him out of his transgender feelings.

Yet they later relented and let Leelah go back to school and allowed access to social media.

Alcorn’s mother told CNN that her son was on medication for depression and that, while she and her husband didn’t support his choice to be a girl, “We told him that we loved him unconditionally. We loved him no matter what. I loved my son. People need to know that I loved him. He was a good kid, a good boy.”

The Alcorns have suffered a tremendous loss, but sex columnist Dan Savage thinks they have only themselves to blame. He wants them prosecuted for child abuse.

He tweeted: “We know that parental hostility rejection doubles a queer kid’s already quadrupled risk of suicide — rejecting your queer kid is abuse.”

He added, “Leelah Alcorn’s parents . . . should be ashamed — but 1st they need to be shamed. Charges should be brought.”
Dan Savage         @fakedansavage
We know that parental hostility & rejection doubles a queer kid's already quadrupled risk of suicide—rejecting your queer kid is abuse.

Dan Savage         @fakedansavage
's parents threw her in front of that truck. They should be ashamed—but 1st they need to be shamed. Charges should be brought.
Others agree. A Change.org petition demanding that the headstone say “Leelah,” not “Joshua,” has 55,000 signatures.

The Princeton, NJ-based Transgender Human Rights Institute is pushing Leelah’s Law, a federal ban on “conversion therapy” of all kinds.

This is outrageous. First off, Carla Alcorn wasn’t wrong on the merits: For many transgender kids, it is a just a phase.

As Paul McHugh, the former psychiatrist-in-chief at Johns Hopkins Hospital, recently wrote in The Wall Street Journal, “When children who reported transgender feelings were tracked without medical or surgical treatment at both Vanderbilt University and London’s Portman Clinic, 70 percent-80 percent of them spontaneously lost those feelings.”

McHugh warns against the sex-reassignment surgery that Leelah demanded from her parents for just that reason. (After all, it’s no trivial step — the full course takes years, and key parts are irreversible.)

Second, as McHugh explains, just because you think you were born into the wrong body doesn’t mean that’s actually your medical diagnosis.

We don’t tell anorexics that they’re right about feeling they’re too fat, and need to work to get thinner.
But back to the Alcorns. Are parents now required to embrace everything their teens decide is part of their identity or be accused of child abuse?

What of all the 16-year-olds who think they’ve found love and want to consummate the relationship as often as possible?

Is this what Savage’s “It Gets Better” movement is really about? It was supposed to inspire young people who were being “bullied” or “harassed” to know that there are people out there who love and support them.

Yet the parental behavior Leelah Alcorn described doesn’t constitute abuse. They just didn’t accept her announcement with open arms.

Perhaps her suicide was a reaction to a recent conversation with her parents. Perhaps it was the result of a lot of emotional issues.

After all, she wrote, “I’m never going to have enough friends to satisfy me. I’m never going to have enough love to satisfy me. I’m never going to find a man who loves me. I’m never going to be happy.”

To judge by her final note, though, Leelah Alcorn saw her suicide as a political act. “Gender needs to be taught in school”; we need to “fix society”; transgender people need “human rights.”

She even wanted her possessions donated to a transgender “civil rights” group.

These are the words of a teen who thinks her own death is going to contribute to a cause.

If you think that finding a “community” online is always going to produce a positive outcome, think again.

Emotionally unstable teens may get some loving notes of support on their Facebook pages, but they may also absorb the rants of activists like Dan Savage.

And those impressionable teens may be inclined to believe that they’re engaged in some kind of larger struggle — one for which they should make the ultimate sacrifice.

*http://nypost.com/2015/01/05/exploiting-tragedy-transgender-teens-suicide-poses-parenting-puzzles/

If you are wondering about how valid the 80% is.  Here is an snippet of an article.
At last year’s Gender Odyssey conference, where families with kids like mine gather from all corners of the country, I attended a talk given by Dr. Johanna Olson. She works with transgender kids in Los Angeles. She’s a smart and outspoken advocate for these children, and she’s been featured on national TV talking about her work.
Here’s what she said: “The ‘80 percent’ statistic is based on a flawed 2008 study done in the Netherlands.” She then described the study, explaining that the researchers looked at young children who were initially identified as transgender. It then checked back on them after a year or so. But it lost track of a bunch of those kids. For some reason, these kids didn’t come back for the follow-up research. So the researchers made the assumption that these kids had reverted back to their original gender. These kids were simply assumed to be not transgender, and these kids created the “80 percent.”

Like all the stupid crap throughout the years written about lesbians, gays and bisexuals, the stupid is afoot in the hater world dealing with the transgender folk.

And then there is this, appropriately enough on Fox err Faux News.
Heyer also cited a Dutch study that said 61 percent of individuals who desire a gender change are found to have secondary psychiatric disorders, such as depression or dissociative disorder, which he suffered from.
Other critics asked whether Tommy’s same-sex parents may be unknowingly influencing his questions about his gender.
“Undue influence on the child simply has to be ruled out,” said psychiatrist Keith Ablow, a Fox News contributor. “It's the psychologically correct thing to do, the ethical thing to do and the moral thing to do."
"Obviously, when two females adopt a male child, then assert that the child is not actually male, but is, instead, actually a female -- like both of them. Everyone in the family should be psychologically evaluated in a comprehensive way before a step like gender reassignment is considered,” said Ablow.

This time, its blame the parents.  And these are such easy targets for the hater baters, two lesbians who of course must have confused their child into thinking men are an unwanted species and so their wee laddie decided that it would be better to be a girl.

What this article skirts around is that yes, trans children of all ages have issues with secondary psychiatric disorders, ie depression, and why would that be?  Hmm, could it be the fact that who they are isnt reflected in a mirror? 

Like usual, Faux Newz takes a dash of actual statistics and stirs it well into their "articles" so that the unwary think they are getting an actual hard news piece.  Yes, yes, they are watching/reading Faux Newz, but those who dont have their minds already closed to transgender children and adults how many would still have an open mind on this issue after finishing this article?  Few to none I would imagine.

In 1973 the APA declassified being homosexual as a mental disorder, which helped immensely to win civil rights.  That's what needs to happen for transgender/transsexuals now. 


DSM-IV and DSM-IV-TR

Gender Identity Disorder in Adolescents and Adults replaced the term transsexualism. In the DSM-IV-TR, GID is placed in the category of Sexual Disorders, with the subcategory of Gender Identity Disorders. The names were changed in DSM-IV to "Gender Identity Disorder in Children", "Gender Identity Disorder in Adolescents or Adults", and "Gender Identity Disorder Not Otherwise Specified".
As long as we are listed in a mental health guide book, we will be painted as mentally ill.  While I do think its important for people to talk things through with an therapist before having reassignment surgery, I think its utter hogwash to make those wanting to transition to see a therapist before starting hormones. 

The straw man arguments about men in dresses raping ladies and children in the bathrooms.  The teenaged boys in school who just want to peek at naked girls and possibly sexually molest them in locker rooms and bathrooms canard.  It all boils down to the same damned worn out shit that gay men have been painted with for years and years.....




Monday, January 5, 2015

Again?

I slept thru New Years Eve to the tune of 14 hours!  I wondered what was up, but just decided it was the cold and dark coupled with the tummy flu a week before. 

Turns out, that now I have some sort of chest/head thing flu going. 

And while it totally sucks to be ill again, on the one hand its actually good news.  No, really it is.  That means my immune system has finally healed enough to allow me to catch germs instead of working overtime eating my joints and muscles.  Not ever eating anything that I'm not supposed to seems to be working.  w00t!

Now, back to bed again, sleep 'tis my new best friend.

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Not off to a great start

Had a great flight, it was SO nice to get a zillion hugs from TH!  He was missing me badly enough to let down enough in public to give me a two armed bear hug!!!

To say I was shocked when I came in the door, would be putting it mildly.  TH moved us into a smaller cheaper apartment, and told me that he put the furniture (what we didnt store) into place, dropped the boxes and bags and whatnots where ever there was room and quit.  I thought he as joking, turns out he wasn't. 


Tuesday morning he took his sister to her doctors appointment, she has been having trouble walking and standing.  When the doctor saw her weakened condition, off to the emergency room!  Where after a load of x-rays and yet another MRI and an IV with some steroids, was given the bad news.  They had to operate on her ASAP or she could be in a wheel chair for the rest of her life. 

This is where living in a state with a very low population has extreme drawbacks.  There is only one surgeon in the entire state who can do this tricky neurosurgery, and he was on vacation.  So, to the tune of $180,000 dollars they medevaced her to Seattle.  She is scheduled for surgery on Tuesday, and has been spending her time since with yet more MRI's, more x-rays and a procedure to install a marker for her surgery.

Wednesday feeling a big overwhelmed by what is occurring with his sister, it was a pure pleasure to have grandson come and spend the day.  He was a mite fussypants, but still a joy to be around. 

By 3:30 my insides didnt feel so well, I had caught some sort of intestinal flu thingy.  Today, I'm on the mend, finally!  But TH came home from work feeling puny, and the poor dear he now is suffering.

Hopefully the rest of our time together will be better!

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Christmas in Arizona

It rarely snows in the great Phoenix area, yeah that shocked ya back a bit didn't it!  Last year we did have a brief snowstorm, but it was in late January, not around Christmas.  Every year the Tempe Marketplace Mall has a snowstorm from daily from 7-8 pm. The kids run around trying to catch the flakes, it really is festive.  Its really amazing, to watch it snow at 60F!  I tried to capture a picture of it, but some how I just couldnt get the snow to show up with the camera in my iphone, so here's a snap I found on the webby.
These next two are my photos, snapped at the Tempe Marketplace on a Meetup movie night.
There are festive Christmas lights everywhere, but the malls really go all out with their decorations.  So, even if it doesn't have that Christmas card look of glistening snow laying around and about, it does lift ones spirits.

Tomorrow, the 15th, I fly back to Alaska for 2 weeks to celebrate with the family.  Without a doubt I am going to die of cold.  Today while doing laundry, which is on the patio, the cold was biting into me quite firmly.  Convinced that the temps had to be hovering around freezing, I did a quick check on my phone to find out it was all of 53......sigh.  I have turned into a weather wimp!  The high today at my Alaskan home was 7. 










This will be me on the way to the grocery store!  Gotta watch out for those polar bears, dontcha know.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Book Review: Two views of Military life under DADT

I have a tendency to binge on one topic, and I some how got off on the lives of men in the military under DADT.  Most likely it was a suggestion from Amazon based upon the topics I enjoy reading. 

While these two books are an enjoyable read, they come at the topic of how DADT affected their lives from two totally different directions.  The main focus of the books aren't from the same vantage point either, something that I found interesting and really rounded out the experience of serving under this stupid policy.

Brett Jones 
PRIDE:The Story Of The First Openly Gay Navy Seal




                                                                            PROLOGUE
                                                                                In Danger

"I hung up the payphone with my head hanging towards the ground.  "Fuck. Fuck, Fuck! How could they possibly have found out that I am gay?  I am always so careful.  I am always really careful.  Somebody must have informed on me...but who?  Who do I know that would do such a thing?  Take a breath, Brett, and just breathe.  Just. Breathe. Dammit."  I thought to myself while exhaling deeply.  I looked over to the gate and saw that my flight had already started boarding."

This is how his book begins and it takes the majority of the book to cycle back around to this point in time.  What fills the rest of his book is his journey to become a Seal.  And while I knew it was an arduous ordeal where most of the men who start the training wash out, I literally had no idea just how grueling the training actually is.  He is open and candid about his flaws and his weaknesses. 

When his parents found out he was gay, they had his older brother drive him to a cheap hotel, gave him $300 and told him never return.  He was a senior in High School, yup a good "christian" woman and his Air Force father thought it was acceptable to toss out their son.  He finished school and at some point between his being tossed out and joining the Navy his parents let him move back home. 

The primary focus of this book is Brett's fight to excel in the Navy and become the end all and be all to him, a Seal.  His relationship with the man which caused him to be released from the Navy is only touched on.  He is open about being gay and different hookups but this portion of who he is really takes a back seat to Brett Jones, Seal.  He has an epilogue letting you know how his life after the Seals has been.

This book was a page turner for me.  I was engrossed from the the first paragraph to the last word.  I will admit that I wish he would have included more about the relationship with the fella he was living with while a Seal, but then again, maybe he didnt want to invade his privacy. 


Stephan Snyder-Hill  
Soldier of Change: From the Closet to the Forefront of the Gay Rights Movement
Forward by George Takei

You might remember this video from the Republican Debate September 22, 2011, where a serving soldier on active duty in Iraq was booed by the audience.



                                                 1 A Leap of Faith

"We boarded the plane.  I sat down and closed by eyes.  I looked down at my watch, December 4, 2010, 22:16.  Could this be happening again?  My mind was like a film projector, flickering backa nd forthe between thought - my first deployment to Iraq twenty years ago for Desert Storm, my boyfriend Josh, my parents, my brother, my pets- then back to Josh.  We had been dating only a few months, but I knew this ws the person I wanted to spend my life with.  We'd had to say goodbye underneath an escalator, where no one could see us.  Knowing I was leaving for war,  knowing I might not ever see him again, I held him tighter than I'd ever held anyone.  All around us husbands and wives, boyfriends and girlfriends, hugged and kissed each other in plain sight, without sexrecy, without shame.  Josh and I wiped our tear dry and left our hideout in opposite directions so people didn't notice.  This is the real fact of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell."

Stephan's book while talking a great deal about his life in the Army focuses more upon how restrictive his life was while serving under DADT.  How he would race around to remove photos of him and his boyfriend.  How he made sure never to be overheard on the phone while talking with Josh.  The whole game of changing Josh's gender by using feminine pronouns when talking about his love life.  How he hated having to field questions about why he isnt married, or has pictures of his "girlfriend", until he finally had a female friend pose for pictures with him to hush up the whispers.

The last part of the book was talking about his lawsuit and the advocacy work him and his husband Josh have been a part of.

There were times I felt this book lagged a bit, but was a solid read.  When the book was finished, you know who Stephan Synder-Hill is, and he is a very likeable chap.  What I found the most interesting how life under DADT was miles worse than before it took effect.  After DADT it became a witch hunt for gays and lesbians in the military, and people were prying constantly for personal information,  checking for facts that didn't match up with previous telling of the same story.  It was hard for Stephan to come out, and he wasn't planning on showing his face on camera, even after DADT was repealed.  How his company reacted to his coming out was a very strong portion of the story, and at times surprising to me as a reader.