Sunday, May 24, 2015

Stay Stay Stay

Dear Friend,

I heard a rumor that you're struggling.  That you're having a hard time hanging on and that you've been thinking that maybe we're all better off without you.

You're wrong.

Hearts heal, and our minds lie to even the best of us.  You need to give yourself the time to sort things out.  The only way to not let time work its magic is if you cut yourself short, so please don't.

The world is a brighter better place with you in it.  Your talent, your intelligence, they're things that need to be shared with the world, and if not the whole wide world, the tiny one here in our community.  Your loss would be greatly felt.  You might feel like an insignificant pebble on the beach sometimes, but if you drop that pebble into a pond it's ripples go on and on and on.

I know that life can feel impossibly hard sometimes, and that the light at the end of the tunnel is often tiny and flickering, but that doesn't mean it isn't there.  Not to sound trite, but things DO get better. It won't be easy, all the best things require work.  Life will never be absolutely perfect, but that only gives you the opportunity to find the beauty in it's imperfections.  There is no magic greater than our ability to adapt and grow, even in shadows.

I feel like we can learn more from failures than successes, we have to teach ourselves how to be better, and our only real competition is the person staring back at us in the mirrors.  You don't have to be better than the person next to you, you have to be better than you were yesterday.

Find an outlet that isn't self destructive, whether that be art, helping others, exploring the world around you, read a book, lose yourself in a movie you've never watched before, spend some time in the great outdoors just watching the world spin around you, look for shapes in the clouds, whatever it takes to calm the voices in your head.

I know you may not be ready to read this, or that it might sound like someone who has no idea what you're going through is just throwing a lot of cliches in your face, but I've treaded shark infested waters myself and was able to swim to shore.  I just want you to know you have someone on your side ready to throw you a life jacket when you feel like you're going under.

You are loved, you are important, the world needs you.

Please stay.

Lauren


Saturday, May 23, 2015

Meghan's Grandma's Stuffed Mushrooms

This is the dish that taught me to try foods that scare me.  No really... it's a true story.

Mushrooms have always squicked me out, they make me feel like the other creature in Green Eggs and Ham.. the one who says "I do not like them in a box, with a fox wearing socks."  But much like that creature, after trying them at the urging of my best friend, my palette exploded and I discovered that they aren't so bad, they might even be better with a fox wearing socks.

Ingredients:


  • 1.5 pounds of round white mushrooms (I used 2 14oz cartons of "white stuffer mushrooms)
  • 16 ounces of cream cheese
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 0.5 pound crispy fried bacon (made into small crumbs)
  • 0.5 cup of Italian Breadcrumbs
  • 3-4 stalks of green onions, chopped
  • Parmesan cheese
  • Salt/Pepper to taste
Directions:

  1. Wipe the mushrooms and remove the stems
  2. Put cream cheese (it mixes better if it's softened slightly), garlic, green onions, salt and pepper into a bowl and cream.
  3. Stuff the mixture that you just made into the mushrooms (I transferred the goop into a gallon sized ziploc bag, cut a tip off, and used it as a piping bag).
  4. Dip the mushroom (the goop end) into the breadcrumbs
  5. Place on a foiled cookie sheet and set the oven to 350 degrees
  6. Bake at temperature for at least 20 minutes (depending on the size of the mushrooms)
  7. Remove from the oven and top with Parmesan.

shared with permission from Meghan Field, for more of her tasty recipes check out her blog "Life of Two Fields"

Sunday, May 17, 2015

I don't want to be friends...

Early last week I felt like my head was going to explode from a rage aneurysm.

I learned that some people I considered to be decent human beings are racist scum and I learned that someone I've known my entire life puts more value on professional sports than human life. Real winners here folks, real winners.  The big reveal, however, is that I learned that I suffer no fools on social networks, and I feel no loyalty towards people who are toxic. These were mostly people that I don't have much contact with in real life (for good reasons apparently), but I decided history doesn't have to have a stronghold on my future.

For a moment I started drafting a status update to mass post across all my social networks, it went something like this:

  • If you are someone who considers yourself to be better than others because of your skin color, national origin, the income bracket you were born into, gender, sexual preference, or any other factor that you have ZERO CONTROL over, kindly get the fuck off my newsfeed.  I don't want to know you.
  • If you are someone who equates the Tom Brady/Patriots Super Bowl Scandal with what went on at Penn State and Joe Paterno looking the other way while a member of his coaching staff molested children for decades, see the above paragraph.  You are delusional, misguided, and I don't feel like being updated on your toxic views is something I'm interested in.
  • If you think your religion should give you more rights that other people, you're wrong, go away.  You have the freedom of religion, you can believe whatever you want, you don't have the right to force those beliefs on anyone else.
  • I'm not limiting your speech, I'm limiting your audience. Say anything you want, just don't expect me to listen to you anymore.
 
After spending a few moments thinking about everything I was going to say, I decided that instead of telling to GTFO, I would let their words and deeds help me decide which weeds need to be pulled from my flower bed.  I'd much rather do the plucking and know exactly why I can't/won't be friends with someone anymore than wonder why someone disappeared off the face of the earth.

Saturday, May 16, 2015

Team You Do You

Right now my computer (at home) is down so blogging on any kind of regular basis is proving to be difficult (my job doesn't exactly want me writing non-work-related things on the clock... imagine that). 

My hope is to utilize some of the awesome journals I have lying around the house to gather my thoughts until I can find some time and internet access to post for the world to see.  I have so many ideas floating around my head, I don't want them to leak out while I'm technologically out of order.  All that being said, here's the latest:

Team You Do You

It seems like there is a lot of news/social media coverage on abortion rights lately.  You're expected to pick a side of the street to stand on and hold your "PRO-CHOICE" or "PRO-LIFE" signs and never find any middle ground.

Personally I tend to identify with the Pro Choice crowd, simply because I don't feel like it's my place to make other women's medical decisions for them, just like it isn't some stranger's place to make mine for me.  I believe that a woman should absolutely have a choice with what goes on with her own reproductive system and that her actual life trumps any potential life. 

I think her choice should be between her, her medical professionals, and whomever SHE decides to share it with.  If she choses to not notify her parents, the father/sperm donor, local news team, I think that she has her reasons and shouldn't be required to.  I do not think politicians, lobbyists, or random commenters on the internet should have a say in personal medical decisions.

I think that sex education should begin early in life, and be taught often.  It can start at home and lead to the classroom in age appropriate intervals.  People should be well informed about how their bodies work and all options for birth control and disease/infection prevention.  ALL OPTIONS.  Abstinence is something that should be taught along with condoms, hormonal birth control, and whatever else science may bring to the table, including abortions.  Abstinence only education simply doesn't work, and if you think talking to your kids about sex is scary and gross, imagine trying to help your child raise a child or having your kid have to deal with a preventable disease.  Birth control should be readily available at affordable prices, whether or not you have health insurance.  In my mind, an abortion should be a last ditch effort to stop an unwanted pregnancy, but life doesn't always go as planned. Abortions should be destigmatized, and should be looked at like any other medical procedure.

Let's face it.  Condoms break, The Pill sometimes fails, IUDs aren't compatible with everyone, sometimes a person gets caught up in the moment and has unprotected sex.  That doesn't even factor victims of sexual assault.  It only takes one sperm to collide with one egg and BOOM you could be pregnant even if you aren't prepared.  If you choose to continue the pregnancy, no matter the terms, that's your choice. I don't think anyone should be pressured into having an abortion that they don't want either. Your body, your choice. End of discussion.

Thankfully I've never been in a position where I've had to make that choice.  I have felt close once or twice though.  Shortly after college I found myself 30+ days late and I was terrified.  What would I tell my parents?  Would I be able to keep my job, or would my super religious bosses make things so uncomfortable that I would have to leave? I didn't have health insurance, how would I pay for anything?  Then the light bulb went off over my head and I did a Google search for the nearest Planned Parenthood and started looking at options.  A calmness washed over me, I wasn't stuck, there were choices. I wasn't going to have to face anything I wasn't emotionally or financially ready to deal with.  Luckily when I took (multiple) home pregnancy tests they were all negative and I was relieved of the decision making ordeal.  Not everyone gets that lucky, sometimes two pink lines show up at exactly the wrong time in someone's life and they're forced to come to terms with a new reality.

I think that if you call yourself "Pro-Life" you should hold yourself to that standard.  Support programs to help infants and children, instead of treating the young like punishments for their parents' reckless mistakes.  Make sure new mothers and fathers have all the tools they need to be good parents.  Encourage paid family leave for both parents after the arrival of their child.  Support prenatal care.  If you truly believe that life begins at conception make sure that you do what you can to make sure the child has the best chance at a future post-womb.  If you are not prepared for that kind of commitment to the life of all potential children, call yourself "anti-abortion" or "pro-birth" because if you aren't really interested in the life of the child once they take a breath outside of their mother's body, I don't see how you can call yourself "Pro-Life."

If you hate abortions, that's okay, that's your choice.  Don't get one, and don't encourage anyone your know or love to get one.  I know I'm making it all sound so simple.  I'm not including any statistics or antidotes beyond my own.  To me it all comes down to I'll do what's right for me in my life and my circumstances, and I won't judge you for doing what's right for you and yours.