When Mom Gets Old

I’m getting to be that age, you hear it often around the office almost on a weekly basis, someone’s parent is ill or has suddenly passed away.   I’m very blessed because my mom is still around, about to have her 81st birthday.    My mom isn’t in the best of health, and I often worry about her and how’s she feeling.     It’s difficult for her to catch her breath and she’s constantly connected to a variety of oxygen machines, concentrators they call them, and they sustain her life.    When she walks out the door, the gentle hum of the machine she’s carrying can be heard underneath her words.   She’s a talker like me, that’s where I get it from, and I often have to stop her and say “breathe through your nose” so she can get some O2.   You can probably guess I love my mom very much and I don’t know what I’d do without her.

Mother’s Day With My Mom

When I was a kid, my sister and I used to watch Family Affair, and I’m not sure exactly why.   It was probably the saddest of all shows…a young brother and sister, sent to live with their rich uncle when their parents tragically died.    We watched that show with complete fear, it might as well have been a horror movie, for we were terrified of the day we would no longer have our parents around, especially our mom.    This fear was so strong, that we would often approach her while sleeping, carefully watching to see if she was breathing.    It sounds bizarre, and it totally was, and I’m not exactly where this fear originated from.   Maybe it was from the exact show we were constantly watching, or maybe it was because we loved her immensely and couldn’t image life without her.

My mom is a super mom.    Yeah she’s made mistakes and yeah we’re paying therapists now to deal with them, but there is something very special about my mom.    Our childhood wasn’t the easiest, our father wasn’t around much and my mom often had to play the part.    This took a toll on her and we knew it did, but there was one thing she was super good at…giving us hope.    She gave us hope when things weren’t going our way, when we were down in the dumps, when life seemed like it was out to get us…she always gave us hope.    Arguably, hope is probably the best thing anyone can give or have, because no matter how bad it gets, if you have hope, there’s always the possibility of something better.     My mom was amazing at that.    That was her super power and it is to this day.

I’m 47 now and I often try to prepare myself for the day when my mom isn’t around anymore.    My spiritual views help a lot…in my heart I believe we are all pure energy that just transforms from one state into another, death being only a transition just like the little short lady said in the movie Poltergeist.   However it only takes but a shitty cold, a night of no sleep, the slightest feeling of loneliness,  to make me miss my mom immensely and absolutely fear the day when I can’t pick up the phone and call her.   You might think I’m a “momma’s boy” and I would respond “guilty as charged...” you just can’t ever replace your mom.

Now some folks out there don’t have their mom and are already experiencing what I fear the most.    Perhaps they never had one to begin with, and to that I offer my sincere condolences.    Maybe they have a mom but she’s just not “mom like.”  Maybe they are a mom to someone else, not even blood related, or for that matter, not the same species.    Maybe they don’t miss not having a mom if they never experienced one… I just can’t understand this reality.   Yet.

I know the day I dread will eventually arrive and because of that I cherish every moment I get with my mom.   I love our lunches, our dinners, our time together visiting her doctor… our little adventures like riding out  Hurricane Irma on the floor of my division director’s office.   I love them all.    Every time I leave her house I thank God for the time I had with her, life being what it is, you never know if your last visit will be just that, the last.   I love the phone calls, the voice mails, the little things that can annoy some people… but are evidence of her presence in my life.

If you have a mom give her a huge hug.    Like my bud Vox said the other day, “give her one for me too.”    If you’re a mom to someone then give yourself a hug and realize how important you are to another human being on this planet, even if you don’t realize it.    There’s a part of us that loves our mom no matter what, no matter how bad things get, no matter how distant we may be.    Hang onto to that part, no matter how small.  Just like mom, it will help you through some serious shit.   If your mom isn’t around anymore, know that everything about you is a reflection of her, good or bad, and so she’s more present than you might realize.   The next time someone says “you’ve turned into your mom.” say “thank you for the compliment!” 

Lunch with Mom and Eric

Instant Pot Whatever You Have Geek Stew

The first time I made this delicious and hardy beef stew recipe, I barely had any vegetables on hand.   I decided to go for it anyways, inspired by one of my favorite childhood stories Nail Broth.  So this recipe will vary slightly depending on what you have.    The basics are the same though… kind of like making vanilla ice cream.    Using organic veggies increasing the flavor exponentially.

Thanking the cow for its service to you is also and awesome thing to do.  🙂

Geek Stew!

Ingredients

1 lb of grass fed stew meat (because we want the cows to be happy)

2 cups water (if you add more veggies, reduce this slightly)

2 tablespoons olive oil (oil is a must to prevent foaming within Instapot)

1 package Lipton Onion Soup Mix (this is the secret ingredient)

2 cups chopped celery (include the leaves for intense flavor)

1 8 oz package of baby bella mushrooms

6 small potatoes – quartered

1 teaspoon baking soda (with one cup water)

2 tablespoons cornstarch (with two tablespoons water)

Salt and Pepper to taste

 

Soak the stew meat in a mixture of 1 cup water and 1 teaspoon baking soda for 20-30 minutes.  This will make the meat easier to brown.

Set the Instant Pot to saute and add the olive oil.    When oil is hot, add beef and stir to brown.   Add salt and pepper as desired.   Adding too much meat at same time may steam instead of brown, so try to add gradually if possible.

Once meat is nicely browned, add water then stir in the package of onion soup mix.  This adds the perfect ratio of onion flavor and creates a wonderful bouillon.   Add any veggies you’d like at this point and mix.

Cancel saute mode and set your Instapot valve to seal. Press the meat stew button.

 

Your Instant Pot will start cooking for 35 minutes after pressure is reached, which could take anywhere from 5-10 minutes,  maybe even longer.   After cooking time is finished, many folks recommend natural release for better flavor, it’s up to you.   I have tested this recipe twice with manual release.    Before opening the Instant Pot, make a cornstarch slurry by whisking 2 tablespoons of cornstarch with 2 tablespoons of water.    Mix the slurry into the pot to thicken stew.   Let cool and enjoy with your favorite book, person or Netflix show.   The flavor is wonderful and ever so comforting… just like my mom never made.    I always hated stew when I was a kid, so no happy memories there.

The lid is opened and wow!!! Add your slurry and mix well. The more moisture in your veggies, the less water you need to add. I would start with 2 cups minimum.

Let me know in the comments any variations you might have tried!

 

 

We Are More Than A Party

When I first realized I was gay I was 17 years old and terrified.   Although I was sexually attracted to other men, I was frightened to become a part of the stereotype I saw on television and magazines.    Of course times were different and what you saw on television was exactly that, a stereotype.    As I began to meet other gay people I realized we were a diverse crowd of Blacks, Whites, Asians, Hispanics and any other ethnic category you could find on a college application.   We celebrated our diversity because we needed to, our sites were set on fighting the AIDS epidemic, acceptance and equal rights.    I quickly realized the scary images I saw in my youth were no where near the Gays and Lesbians I had come to know.

As a young adult I began to explore the community, culture, and what it had to offer.   My first long term relationship of almost nine years ended in my late twenties and I was eager to experience a part of the gay world that was previously off limits… the club scene.  Still filled with enough crazy hormones to fuel lots of stupid mistakes, I was introduced to this sub-culture and its not so wonderful characteristics.    Only this seemed different because it felt somewhat threatening to me.   I was surrounded by groups of men that all wanted to fall in love, but didn’t seem to want any of the Ozzie and Harriet style of relationships their parents lived through.    In fact, I would say they completely rebelled against these established norms, I’m guessing because they experienced much judgement and hostility due to their sexuality from those that practiced them.  Fair enough.  If there’s any stereotype of the gay world that’s close to being true, it’s that we never do anything low key, so gay relationships became completely polar opposite to mom and dad’s.  However I really wanted that sense of normalcy, real or perceived, in my life. After all, that’s what I had told everyone around me…that I was normal and just like everyone else.

Scenarios from the “Blue Oyster Bar” depicted in the hit movie “Police Academy.” Examples of the extremely limited and often stereotypical views of the gay world I had access to as a teen.

Years went by and I started to become fairly bitter with the gay world.    The level of shallowness and self centered behavior I was seeing just seemed to be getting worse.  There were even websites that sprung up with the immense popularity of the Internet, which re-enforced these qualities.   We were now posting profiles on websites like bigmuscle.com, which contained statements like “looking only for other good looking muscled men to make friends and hang out with.”   Wow!  Seriously?  I didn’t want any part of that!

Until I did.

I started going on “all gay cruises” back in 2001 during a short lived relationship with someone that grew up surrounded by the party and gay scene.   The experience was utterly miserable for me and I swore I would never do it again.   I was completely immersed in gay music, gay television, campy gay comedy… gay everything for seven very long days.    I was force-fed gayness and I wanted to puke.   But then, a couple of years later, I was convinced to try it again by my partner that I would share almost 10 years of my life with.  Even my therapist thought it was a good idea.  It actually turned out completely different in every way and I enjoyed the solidarity immensely.    Gay rights was starting to be a huge deal, the Constitution of the United States was about to be modified to define marriage between a man and a woman, for the sole purpose of denying us rights and recognition.   We so needed the support of each other as a community!   What better way than to pack three thousand of us on a boat for a week!  Yay!  Not to mention that I was starting to bulk up with some serious muscle, and although we were monogamous at the time, I was getting lots of attention.   This was really fun!   Why didn’t I do this sooner?    It was even time for me to get my own profile on bigmuscle.com!   In retrospect, it’s very clear to me that I started to become assimilated into the very lifestyle I had such a distaste for… by the looming presence and fear of a shared threat.  I wanted to belong because I was scared.

Every day, twice a day,!! Atlantis passengers gather on deck, or below, to participate in one or more dance parties.

As years passed and more gay cruises came and went, the climate of the country completely changed.    Gays were only years away from being allowed to be married, many companies and local governments started enacting domestic partnership benefits, and there was this cool show on television called Glee.  Gay youth and teens now had a place in society and role models to look up to.    It was a pretty amazing time for Gays and Lesbians, but something else started to happen.    The cruises I loved so much started becoming less and less about community and more about the “party.”    With technology becoming more advanced and cruises becoming more and more popular, the ships got bigger and so did the on-board dances. As anything that keeps growing in size, there comes a time where critical mass comes into play and a good thing becomes unsustainable.  Gay cruises aren’t any exception and in 2011, on the largest gay cruise on the largest cruise ship in the world, the Allure of the Seas was raided by US Customs and passengers were arrested.   I remember seeing all the dogs and agents on-board and thinking something very serious was up.    A member of the Atlantis staff, the charter company that booked the cruise, lied completely and told a group of us that it was a case of mistaken identity with one of our fellow passengers.    We didn’t know the entire story until we got back home and saw the coverage on CNN and other media outlets.     It wasn’t really a surprise since multiple times a night we’d hear the call go out on the ship’s speakers, “alpha, alpha, alpha,” the maritime signal for a medical emergency.    For Atlantis passengers, it was code for drug overdose.    The stories of passengers collapsing and defecating on themselves during dances didn’t seem so far fetched after all.

Accelerated by the events on that last voyage, my love affair with gay cruises and the gay scene began to diminish rather quickly.  The sense of community I had once witnessed had become a complete mess and practically non-existent.   I went on a couple more cruises, even tried different brands like RSVP, but they weren’t much different.  The drugs weren’t as prevalent, but the campy gay comedy and stupid jokes every time the automated elevator voice with a British accent announced “deck 8″ were getting old.  I was tired of eating breakfast and hearing men discuss their conquests from the night before.  I guess that’s called “growing up.”

Today, I still enjoy cruising with my partner Eric, celebrating diversity once again, albeit with straight and fellow gay passengers alike.  Who knew that in all those prior years I had put myself into a social box, doing exactly what conservatives and the religious right wanted,  and at the same time fighting so hard against.

I look back at my journey in and out of the gay scene and realize it was a real learning experience, one that I shouldn’t regret or even deny.   The gay world is continually evolving, but I’m not sure in the right direction at the moment.   Pride events are becoming less of a celebration of unity, and more of a promoter’s opportunity to pull another all night party.   At least in the old days, I’m old enough to say that now, we had something we were focused on…a goal, a mission, which helped ground us and provided a type of social lighthouse when we went astray.    Much of the binding properties of the gay community are gone for the first time in our history.    Our friends aren’t dying of AIDS and we basically have the rights and recognition we wanted for generations.   Where we will go without the guiding principles that glued us all together?    What we will do with this new found freedom which carries with it new responsibility?

There’s a new sub-culture I see emerging with young gay men and it’s not a healthy one.   Unlike so many negative stereotypes, this one is very much encourage in pop culture and social media.    It’s evolving into a mindset, one of no-consequence and “go fuck yourself if you don’t like me.”  We’re being encouraged as a community to be as loud and as crazy as we want to be, since we’ve been restricted for so long and it obviously still makes straight people laugh.    The balance part of the equation seems to be left out though, and we’re not checking ourselves to see if we’re going too far.    Our community used to be so much more than a party, and now it seems so many gay men just live for it…or die.   I think it’s time to take inventory of what’s truly important, especially with recent events in our nation’s political climate.   Perhaps another shared threat is exactly what we need, a common cause to keep us focused on the individual lights in our community, and not the ones on the dance floor.

 

 

 

Good Nutrition Is An Uphill Climb

Each day, consumers are offered more and more ways to make better choices and eat healthier, which will hopefully lead to a longer life with less visits to the doctor. Organic versions of our favorite foods are increasingly popular and available, even foods that you didn’t even think could be organic are showing up on supermarket shelves.   While walking through the beautiful pristine isles of Target recently, I spotted an organic version of Capri Sun fruit drink.  Yes, the sugar and chemical mix of yesteryear is now organic.  But is it any better for you?  Healthy labels may sound great, but more choices actually means more research for the person trying to do the right thing.   As it’s often noted, food has a story and you should know the characters involved and the journey its made, before it ends up in your stomach.

Lets start with the ever popular “organic” label that’s increasingly making its way onto every edible product there is.  Many might automatically assume that seeing this indicator of strict standards means you’re doing something good… the prices certainly allude to this.  However, choosing organic simply means you’re getting something that was created, raised or processed in a certain way, it doesn’t mean you should be putting it your body.   Using our first example as a start, most would agree that sugar is the mother of all evil, especially when it comes to kids.   It’s no secret that childhood obesity is a huge problem in the United States.  If the thought of spoon feeding your kid 4 teaspoons of sugar makes you cringe, that’s exactly what your doing when you give your kid a single pouch of this “organic” Capri Sun juice (16 grams is roughly 4 teaspoons).   Not so great anymore is it?  Hey at least it inspired me to write this little blog post.

For dinner, you might decide that some organic chicken might be great for your family since the label clearly says “no hormones or antibiotics used.”  First of all, half that label is redundant since by law hormones aren’t allowed to begin with.   They might as well say “no razor blades” also.   Secondly, while an organic chicken may be antibiotic free, or even “cage free,” unless it’s actually “free range,” as in running around in the sunshine, you’re eating an animal that was probably grown indoors within a ventilated aluminum tube, somewhat like an airplane fuselage.   Consuming this creature means you’re also “downloading” any stress related bio-toxins produced as a result of living such a miserable existence.  We all know that stress is one of the leading contributors to cancer and other illnesses, and this is a great way to experience it chemically.  At least you didn’t have to actually get in a car accident or juggle a family and a career to produce it yourself.   Remember that organic doesn’t necessarily mean humane.  The same goes for beef and pork.

Of course there’s also the subliminal type of misleading information simply associated with a brand itself.  You might automatically assume that shopping at a particular grocery chain means you’re eating organic and healthy, because that’s the image they want popping into your head.  Assumptions are the mother of all fuck-ups and in the food industry they are counting on it.  Take for example a little survey I did on my own.  I asked my friends and family what’s the first thing they thought of when I mentioned the Publix Supermarket product line Greenwise.   Almost all of them replied “organic” immediately.   This is actually far from the case, as the supermarket chain states on their own website:

Publix website page which states the requirements for Greenwise branding. Note that colors from “natural” sources are acceptable and that a vegetarian diet in no way means “grass fed” since grains are also plant based. A product only needs to meet one requirement to receive the Greenwise label.

While these sound like pretty good requirements at first,  giving it more thought one might realize according to their own definition, foods colored from crushed bugs is perfectly acceptable… because it’s natural.  And yes, this is actually a thing, it’s called cochineal.   Natural doesn’t mean healthy or even safe, ask anyone that’s ever had lead or mercury poisoning, which are very natural elements found on our planet.  Also, notice that Greenwise products need to adhere to only one of those requirments, not all of them.   One, in particular, is rather disturbing to me because it uses the word “claim.”  In other words, anything they want to say but it may not be true in the least.

A great example of all this confusion can be found with the very pricey Greenwise Raw Shrimp, which besides containing sodium sulfite, a “natural” preservative, is not organic, is from Indonesia, and is “sustainably” raised.   What does that even mean overseas?   Consumer Reports did some kick ass research regarding shrimp safety and the issues surrounding imports, and it wasn’t pretty.  The lesson here is to not assume anything, regardless of the brand, and read the ingredients even when you think there’s only shrimp in that bag.   Save your money and buy the regular Publix brand shrimp instead, which doesn’t have sodium sulfite… uh, well, they use trisodium phosphate instead, an ingredient commonly found in laundry detergent, stain remover and degreasers.  It makes the shrimp look shiny and causes them to absorb more water, which is helpful when you’re selling them by weight.  And the best part is you can buy it at Home Depot.   Yeah these are the same people that sell Greenwise products.

Kind of feels weird that you have to pay almost double NOT to have this put on your shrimp by Publix Supermarkets.

These are just a quick few examples of how a consumer needs to do their homework and know what they’re putting into their facial orifice.    Don’t let your assumptions get the best of you and don’t trust others to do the research.  I repeat, don’t trust anyone.  I love doing research (can you tell?) but even I get overwhelmed at times.   You’re not going to get it right a hundred percent of the time, but you’ll at least have a fighting chance to mitigate the effects of all the other crap we’re exposed to.  Know how to spot bullshit by reading between the lines, especially with generalizations that mean little or nothing.   Become your own “food attorney” while reading lists of ingredients and keep in mind that when push comes to shove, everyone is trying to make a buck. Don’t let it be at the expense of your health or the ones you love.

 

 

Wake Up – Your Thumbs Won’t Save The Planet

 

It’s a rainy day and you’re sitting comfortably on your couch, wrapped up in a snugly blanket you bought from an ad on your Facebook feed… a nice cup of chai tea latte is right by your side.   All is well in your world.   Suddenly and without warning, your eyes magnetically focus and zoom in on the horrible video displaying on your screen, your heart begins to palpitate as you rush to un-follow or block the person that posted this gruesome message regarding animal abuse in a land far far away.    They have succeeded in not only invading your cozy little space and destroying your perfect zen moment, but they have also damaged you temporarily as you struggle to get these images out of your head.    Their reasoning?    You should sign on an online petition and stop what you just witnessed!  Yes!  How dare you take one more sip of that chai tea latte, while animals suffer needlessly, before your thumbs do all the work of filling out that digital roll call of those with moral and just values.    Jumping into action might also help erase what you just saw, and you can return to your kindle, tea, and life of ignorance…yes this thought actually crosses your mind.  But did you ever realize what’s actually occurring behind the scenes of these online petitions?    Do you think someone actually manages servers and technical infrastructure for free?  Of course not. Hang onto your chai tea latte because online petitions are actually a multi-million dollar business and those ugly videos are helping people to make some serious money.

Yulin is a city in China with a population of almost seven million people according to Wikipedia.     Tourists flock there to bathe in hot mineral springs and the city is rich in natural resources.    Part of their economy is agricultural based, growing everything from tea, bananas, oranges, mangoes, pigs, chickens and dogs.   No that wasn’t a typo, yes, they raise dogs for food.    Relax, there will be no gut wrenching photos or vivid descriptions in this article, in fact, the exact opposite.   What you need to know is that there’s a business model here for people to react, and when they do, money is exchanged.    Yes, your emotional response is generating income for a company that has little or no control over anything that happens in China.   If you can get past the gruesome video to change.org, or any other petition based website, the advertisements you see, and subsequently click on, generate revenue for the company.  This sort of model is pretty universal on the Internet, everyone uses it because it works. But it doesn’t stop there.

According to the Direct Marketing Association, your email address has an ROI (return on investment) of %4,300.    That means for every dollar spent on email marketing, you will potentially earn $40 in return as described by the marketing website justuno.com.   Yeah, that’s a really nice return!   When you’re emailing the right people about the right things, it’s a cash cow.    I bet you didn’t realize how much money crazygirl30513@aolbiz.com was worth, did you Cathy?

So in general here’s how it works.    A charity or cause pays a petition website to show gruesome videos or imagery on FaceBook in the hope someone will respond.   Many of these sites, including change.org, are for profit companies (as explained in the change.org FAQ), yeah no 501c there people.  They treat these “promoted petitions”  just like advertisements.  Same deal as promoted tweets on twitter…. it’s free unless you want mass exposure.   As part of their contract, the charities are “given” your information.  Makes sense right?   You’d want to know the name, address and email of every person that supports your cause.    Only now the charities or organizations can also sell your contact information and make more money, something you’d should feel comfortable about… right?   After all, it’s for charity.   Think of the dogs folks… works doesn’t it?

Okay so now you now that dogs in Yulin help make people rich in the United States.    Who cares right?    As long as your petition can effect change!!! But where does that petition go?  We hope some huge official in Yulin will see that petition sent to his inox and won’t delete it.    Perhaps it’s actually mailed in a big box?  I bet he’ll take that stack of paper out to the streets and shut down the entire dog eating thing right then and there.   Or maybe he won’t.    Maybe he eats dogs himself and thinks it’s pretty yummy, especially with some American BBQ Sauce (don’t tell his parents, they always made fun of him for eating KC Masterpiece).  At the very least I’m sure they’ll stop killing chickens, pigeons and goats in “religious” sacrifice…oh sorry that’s Miami… you know in Florida?  Yeah there’s hundreds of “Botanicas” that sell these animals for that very purpose, Google it for the one nearest you.    Bet you didn’t know that either.  Where’s the petition to make that stop?  Take a sip of your chai tea latte, you’ll feel much better… or maybe you won’t.

The simple fact is that signing these petitions usually does little unless there’s plenty of national or international exposure to go along with it.    It’s icing on the cake of something big, it’s not the ignition switch to effect change.  What it is doing, is making a whole lot of people lots of money.  And then there’s those decrepit humans on Facebook that are actually getting a rise from spreading these videos, knowing that your chai tea latte is gonna lose all the attention it worked so hard to deserve.   They don’t care about the dogs, the cats, the whatever… they only care about ruining your day.   It’s masochistic and your reaction fuels their desire to do it even more.

The way to effect change is to hit people where it hurts the most, their wallet.    So you go to Wikipedia like I just did and you research the country that’s known for their dog eating and you don’t go visit their fabulous springs.   You send a receipt of all the money you just spent in the neighboring prefecture to their head of tourism and explain why.   Yeah you actually have to write a letter and mail it as opposed to taking 4 seconds to auto-fill a petition.  You tell your friends and neighbors about it, you knock on doors.  Yeah you actually have to get off that couch, stop drinking your chai tea latte and do something!  Imagine that? Eventually, someone there in Yulin might notice they’re not getting as many visitors, losing lots of cash and do something about it.   Do your part.  Your thumbs aren’t going to help dogs in a country half way around the world, with folks firmly grounded in their culturally accepted practice… which is actually a huge festival.   This is like someone trying to shut down the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade because they love their pet turkeys over in you know where Egypt.    I’m not saying give up the good fight.  Just fight in smarter ways, that actually make a difference, and stop creating a market for what you hate.   That’s how you really help your furry friends.

 

Taking A FaceBook Vacation

Sunset in the Florida Everglades

When’s the last time you had a vacation?  Before you start describing your most recent trip to a far off place dotted with palm trees or ancient buildings, let me be more specific… when’s the last time you vacationed from FaceBook?  You know, that wonderful destination you hold in your hand that you escape to while on the train, laying on the couch or even dare I say in the bathroom?  When’s the last time you dared to disconnect from all the noise, the pictures of friends enjoying dinner without you, the cat videos, the ads for things you’ll never use, the secret data miners collecting analytics designed as clever surveys, and the people you didn’t realize were Trump supporters?   Have you ever even thought of it?

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The Piscean Prison

Being a Pisces can be a bitch.   Plain and simple.    As I get older it seems it just gets harder and harder to deal with the outside world and all of the horrors available to us through social media and news outlets.   Pisces are idealistic lovers, we quite literally love love.    We love everything about love and everything about being in love.    We love people we don’t even know and we can smother those we do with so much love that they run away.   And it doesn’t stop there.    Since we love to spread love so much we become paranoid when we may have not spread the love inadvertently.    I can’t tell you how many times I’ve lost sleep thinking I said or did something to someone that hurt their feelings or pissed them off.     The idea of intentionally hurting someone, or stepping outside of the “love” zone really turns our world upside down.

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Experiencing Homophobia Overseas

Living in the United States can and will make you pretty spoiled.    You become accustomed to life as you know it, and take everyday occurrences completely for granted.    Many of us here in Miami are reminded of our abundance as a nation when we share the experience of someone that recently immigrated from Cuba, and see their reactions to to a well stocked produce section at the local grocery store.     It’s an all out emotional meltdown at times, something neither person is prepared for.    While economic prosperity is something that’s relatively easy to appreciate and witness, individual freedoms are not.    Most people vacation in areas of the world where they are welcomed with open arms, but even in the most beautiful and serene locations, the gay tourist has to be mindful of their destination in a different capacity… their personal safety.  There are many parts of the world where being homosexual is against the law, and I’m not referring to some distant land on the other side of the planet, I’m talking about enjoying the beauty and splendor of the Caribbean.   It was there that my partner Eric and I became very appreciative of the security and liberties we now enjoy in the United States.

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Instant Pot Spaghetti with Mushrooms

I’m a huge lover of Italian Food and the man in my life recently gave me an Instant Pot pressure cooker for my birthday.    So I figured what could taste better than spaghetti infused with its own sauce?   Turns out nothing much, it’s freaking delicious.   I searched online for some recipes, and found one, but I tweaked it so much I decided to create my own version and publish it on my blog.    So here it is, the most delicious and fast Instant Pot Spaghetti recipe in the world.  It feeds four easily (even more if you portion like a human)  and will run you about $50 if you follow recipe exactly.

It’s a computer controlled pressure cooker and so much more!

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Activism and the Lightworker

Many of us that identify as lightworkers often feel as though they are tasked with a very important mission in life.   This mission, sometimes still not understood or realized fully, is at the core of their being and perhaps even led them to the discovery that they are lightworkers themselves.    The term lightworker, usually refers to someone that’s of high vibration, uplifting, and has a desire to spread this sense of well being around the globe.    What happens though when a lightworker’s mission in life contradicts with this practice of spreading light, and literally does the opposite?   What if in the process of activism, a lightworker brings “to light” acts of humans which are disturbing to others,  in effect, lowering their vibration?   Can a lightworker successfully fulfill their destiny and at the same time make others feel a sense of love and worthiness?    I often struggle with these questions myself and present them to you for your feedback and point of view.   Perhaps we can both learn a thing or two and help each other out at the same time.

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