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2014/04/23

TMI Questions: Snack Time

I am kind of a snob when it comes to snacks.  Natural blue corn chips with homemade salsa is as casual as I go.

That said, I love appetizers.  If I am able to identify what is in them and they are not deep-fried, I’m so there.  
Bruschetta would be one of my faves.  Hummus or baba ganoush with pita is another.

I have also developed an affinity for those new Triscuits made with red beans or brown rice, though I don’t think they are healthy by any means.

But typical snacks, Doritos, Cheetos, and the like?  That’s not food. 

That’s building insulation.

If I want to eat something, I will cook something and eat real food.

TMI QUESTIONS:
Questions designed to reveal Too Much Information

Link: http://tmiquestions.blogspot.com/

TMI Questions: Snack Time

Do you prefer salty or sweet?

Salty.

Sweet does nothing for me, unless it’s something my boyfriend does for me.  Then sweet is cool.

That wasn’t always the case.  In high school I used to drink Canada Dry’s Tahitian Treat and eat Mounds and Almond Joy candy bars like crazy.  Then in college I switched to Sunkist Orange, thinking it had vitamin C and smoking cigarettes.

Apparently I consumed enough to satiate me for a lifetime, because all sweets – including baked goods and the like, do nothing for me.

In a way, I’m grateful, because who needs all those empty calories?

What was your favorite snack as a kid?

Styrofoam.  Tin foil.

I had a weird sense of what was edible.  Not sure where it came from, though I do remember always being hungry.  That hunger continues to this day, as I have a strange relationship with food. 

For me, food is entertainment and an emotional balm.  That’s not healthy, because it leads to overeating.  Fortunately, I typically eat well, as in healthy, so when I do overeat, at least it’s not junk.

What is your favorite snack now?

Water
LaCroix Carbonated Water mixed with 100% fruit juice
Oatmeal
Bananas
Raisin Bran
Mashed Potatoes
100% Whole Fruit Smoothies
Nuts
Natural Peanut Butter
Bread

Healthy snacks are....?

Not as bad tasting as you think.  Nor are they as healthy as one would hope.

Our taste buds become used to Natural Flavors (which is code for chemically enhanced flavor modifiers – Google it – it will astound you), so when we do eat something truly ‘natural’ or ‘healthy’, we find it wanting.

Also keep in mind that most snacks marketed as healthy are anything but; it is simply a way to fool the consumer into feeling good about their purchase.

I try to focus on eating whole foods, or simple foods.  That eliminates a lot of stupid sugar and salt. 

Milk and what kind of cookies?

It’s very, very rare that a cookie will capture my attention.  I like macaroons, but not with milk.

My relationship with milk is fairly tentative.  I use it when cooking and when eating breakfast cereal, which is one of my favorite sources of fiber and favorite junk food.

Do you dunk?

Only basketballs.

How do you eat Oreos?
                         
With my mouth, if at all.

The cookie part of the Oreo reminds me of insulation.

That white stuff… sweet wall putty.

What is your favorite movie snack?

Water
Popcorn – if ‘buttered’, it must be real butter

Movie candy nauseates me.

Cake or pie?

Typically, neither.

If forced to, due to an occasion where it would be rude not to partake, I will scrape all the frosting off the cake.

If I must eat pie, I prefer simple fruit.  I do like pie crust. I hate chocolate silk pie and pies of that type.  They are gross, with candy bits and crap all over it.  Ugh.

Ready Whip or Cool Whip"

Neither.

I love whipped cream, as in naturally made whipped cream.  The rest?  That’s whipped oil or dairy that has been modified.  Blech.

Potato Chips or Pretzels or Cheetos?

Pretzels are acceptable, provided they are baked and without salt.

Potato chips are greasy and gross, filled with ‘natural flavors’ to make them addictive.

Cheetos do not qualify as food.   

Yeah, pretty much hate that stuff. 

Favorite kind of ice-cream - flavor and brand?

None.

Unnecessary dairy is something I avoid.  Ice cream is nice in theory, but most commercial brands are filled with gums, dyes, and crap that should not be consumed by anyone.

Most unusual food you eat as a snack?

Mashed potatoes?

I love pigging out on them.  They just need the tiniest bit of sea salt and some pepper.  A little butter and milk when mashing when possible.

By the way, I don’t eat tinfoil or Styrofoam anymore.


Somewhere along the way I lost my taste for it. 


















2014/04/22

Nietzsche Was Right

Friedrich Nietzsche was right.

Growing up, going to church was simply something one did, like breathing and pooping.  You didn’t think to question it; you just did it because everyone you knew did.  The ‘why’ of it all was never questioned.

Of course, when I became an adolescent, I did begin to question.  Those mandatory Wednesday night catechism classes became opportunities to torture all those poor believers who volunteered to teach.  It was at that time that I began to fall in love with and perfect playing the devil’s advocate. As inarticulate as I was, debate became my ‘thing’.  That ‘deer in the headlights’ look on the teachers’ faces fueled my love of pointed banter.

And then, once away at college, church became an afterthought.  Theatre became my new religion.  I didn’t have time for anything else. 

After that, a variety of religions, religious expressions, thoughts of mind, and philosophies became my norm.  I tried them on like hats.  I was impressionable, to say the least.  My naiveté would lead me down one dead end after another.  The journey was as entertaining as it was disheartening.

Five years ago I returned to Catholicism and began to attend church regularly, singing in the choir and serving as cantor.  I did so, out of a need to please my mother.  She and my father had recently moved into my neighborhood at my insistence.  My father, as you may know, has Alzheimer’s, and as his illness has progressed it had become more difficult for my mother to manage.  The house across the street from me came up for sale. My business partners and I purchased it, renovated it, and moved them in.  

In order for my mother to acclimate, I took her around to various churches.  She chose one and it became part of my routine to accompany her.  It went well for the first three years.  I got swept up in the music and the sense of community the church provided. 

Unfortunately, I also became all too aware of the church’s attempts to prevent gay marriage from coming to Minnesota, as well as the on-going sexual scandals involving children, adolescents, and young adults.  Oddly troubling, too, was my discovery that a good percentage of the active clergy are gay – troubling, only in the sense that these men must live their lives in a way that supports the very thing that condemns them for who they are. 

Since returning to the fold, I’ve listened to countless sermons that plead for accepting others as they are, sermons delivered in a kind of code, skirting around the political reality that is the Catholic Church.  But until the church as a whole openly embraces gay people, I’m afraid those words, while truly meant by the individuals speaking, will continue to ring rather hollow and false.

Two years ago, during the Easter season, I began to wrestle with my conflicting thoughts and feelings.  I quit the choir and cantoring that Easter morning, though I continued to attend mass regularly until about three months ago.  By that time I couldn’t rationalize attending anymore.  Not that I didn’t feel welcome, I always did.  No, it was because I could not reconcile the life I was being told to lead and the world I live in.  When I looked at the world around me and the evil things men and women do in the name of God, the whole concept of God became something that made no sense. 

Yes, people like Michele Bachmann and Archbishop Nienstedt had robbed me of my ability to believe.  Their irrational world views and the fact that the world had given them and their ilk a means of spreading their fears, hatred, and harmful rhetoric defied common decency and common sense.  The fact that we live in a world where people actively reiterate garbage theology and support political platforms that work against their own self-interest appalls and amazes me - to say nothing of the everyday violence that is allowed to go unchecked; violence committed through some delusional sense of superiority, violence committed against one another, animals, and our planet - to say nothing of disease, illness, deformity, cruelty, homicide, genocide, hypocrisy, segregation, ignorance and greed.

And so, if one is to remain logical and place events and people within some type of context, one can come to but one conclusion: there is no God.

God is a construct upon which we place our hopes and desires.  God is a wishing well.  God is a comfort for mind and body.  God is a means of controlling ourselves and others.

But we made him up. 

This planet is really populated with nothing more than a bunch of animals trying to gain advantage over one another by any means possible.

It has left me heartsick.

And, of course, when my mother asks why I’m not going to church anymore, I can’t tell her any of that.   Her concept of God is all she has.  It’s the pillar of her whole life.  It would be cruel on my part to start ripping away at the fabric that is her life.

So, when she asks… I say nothing.

I’ll start believing in God when the likes of Michele Bachmann and Archbishop Nienstedt do the same.




2014/04/16

TMI Questions: Tax Time 2014

People are so weird about money.   I have two business partners that react very badly whenever I want to talk about it.  They get defensive and angry and I don’t get it.  My former partner used to, also.  It was one of the many things we used to argue about .

People weird out about taxes, too.  Big babies.  Grow up.  Pay your share.  You’re a part of a bigger picture – you owe your community, and paying your fair share is the only way to keep the whole ball of wax from melting. 

And it’s always the ones that either have nothing or have way too much that whine.  The former are merely parroting what greedy conservatives tell them about the world via the likes of Fox News, and the latter are just greedy creeps who give humanity a bad name.

Shame on both; those that have nothing for being ignorant, gullible, and out of touch with reality (you have nothing!) and those that have too much for being such a bunch of over-privileged, whiny, greedy bastards.

TMI QUESTIONS:
Questions designed to reveal Too Much Information

Link: http://tmiquestions.blogspot.com/

TMI Questions: Tax Time 2014

Have you finished your taxes or are you just getting started?

Finished two weeks ago and already got my return.

It’s a complicated process that I start putting together (along with my accountant and business partners) starting in January.  I say that and it makes it sound like I am an integral part of this process, when nothing could be further from the truth.  I provide what is needed and wait… and wait.

Do you do your taxes yourself or do you use a service?

For the business, we have an accountant who does everything.  Once he is done with his stuff, then I get to file my personal taxes. 

In the past, I have had someone keep track of my personal stuff, but I think that all changes for 2014.  I’m not sure.  It depends on what happens with the business. 

We’ve been discussing some major changes.  Whether any of it comes to pass remains to be seen. 

As for my personal taxes, that definitely changes in 2014, though I will continue to have someone else do my taxes. I get more back that way.

How are you at keeping records and receipts?

I guess we’ll find out. 

When it came to my theatre company I was a disaster.  The woman who inherited the company wags a finger at me every time I see her.  I can’t blame her; I was reckless and absent-minded. 

I think I’m better about such stuff now, but then I’ve always had someone looking over my shoulder when it comes to my personal stuff.  That will be an adjustment, but I’m up to the task.

How ‘creative’ do you get?

Not at all. 

I have read and heard (first hand) horror stories regarding dealing with the IRS in an audit situation.  There’s good reason to toe the line, here, folks. 

If you want to read a particularly harrowing case of IRS misconduct, I suggest you check out singer Janis Ian’s autobiography.  If her story is to be believed, then take heed, as certain agents are allowed to take out their personal issues on citizens caught in arrears. 

My luck is not good, so I know better than risk an audit.  It would not go well.  In such cases, I now do my best to not invite trouble; trouble has a way of finding me all on its own.

What do you think about the amount of taxes you pay?

More than fair. 

I don’t care, really, as long as my world continues to function within certain guidelines.  I don’t see the government as some evil entity taking money that doesn’t belong to them.  We live in a democracy and as part of the community I am more than happy to contribute my fair share. 

But I’m not stupid, either.  I take advantage of the benefits available, maxing out my contributions to my 401 K, stock options, and the like.  That’s about ensuring some kind of retirement, if I should choose to retire.   

What do you plan to do with your refund?

The bulk of it goes to pay down my credit card (I only use one). 

I am also getting an expensive, brand new bike – my first since the mountain bike accident where I broke my neck in two places.  Yep, I’m ready to face that demon. 

And I’m getting my piano tuned, because I’m tired of it sounding like a honky tonk.  It also detracts from my ability to play, because my ear keeps getting hung up on things that are ‘not quite right’. 

Bonus
Have you ever paid an IRS agent personally?

Ummm… is this a sexual question?  Bonus questions typically are, right Sean?

I have never met an IRS agent, let alone gotten naked with one. 

You see, in my world, these phantom people do not really exist.  They are like the boogieman or the concept of hell.  In other words, they exist in name only to scare the crap out of you and get you to do the right thing.  By doing the right thing, you ensure that you will never come face to face with one of these foreboding creatures. 

So, again… take heed.  Do the right thing.

Now, pay your taxes, bitch!