Broccoli-Encrusted Cheese & Basil Pizza

I’ve not bought a pizza since I left my latest dead-end job, which used to feed us every college student’s favorite meal, despite the amount of money we collectively brought in. Yet, this recipe, using broccoli, cheese and spices as the crust was intriguing enough to prepare. I made a marinara sauce, using my blender, but I skipped boiling down the water since I figured it was thick enough for my purposes.Next, I pulsed the broccoli in the blender and skipped the step of squeezing out the excess water with a towel.  The broccoli didn’t seem overly moist and, truth be known, I wasn’t in the mood to deal with cleaning broccoli off one of my dish towels.  I mixed the broccoli with some Italian spices, cheese and an egg. Then, I spread the mixture onto parchment paper to bake.I could’ve happily eaten the baked broccoli and cheese crust!  Instead, I spread the sauce on top. Then, topped it off with parmesan, mozzarella, and fresh basil.

I returned it to the oven long enough to melt the cheese.  This was one of the best flourless pizzas I’ve ever eaten.  Plus, the crust wasn’t too much of a pain in the ass to make. Often times, the thing that discourages me from making gluten-free or vegan meals is the time-consuming preparation. I know, the grander scheme of things, there should be a nobler cause that dictates my diet.

Yet truth be told: I’m an omnivore who restricts her meat consumption. Overall, it seems that the people who live the longest, are nonsmokers, eat lots of fresh produce, very little meat or dairy, has the occasional drink, exercises regularly and socializes.

I’d like to add another to that: controls her own schedule.  I’m a much happier person and have even started cooking more often since I’ve had control over my own schedule, so it’s not this rushed chore I cannot wait to complete just to have sustenance. I like having leftovers, but now, I have a variety of meals and combinations throughout the week.

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Pockets

My rants about the fashion industry are legendary. One reoccurring theme is the absence of pockets in women’s clothing.  Then there’s the ire that fake decorative pockets on women’s clothing causes me. Whereas men’s clothing  has pockets on damn near everything, including their pajamas.

With this raging argument always brewing inside me, I went to the bank to rollover my 401k into an IRA. The banker who helped me had her cellphone lying on the desk. I noticed that the phone case included a double pocket where she kept her credit cards, driver’s license and perhaps her medical card. Seeing that phone case was all it took to wind me up.

As she typed up my application, we both confessed about how it was a pain in the ass to carry a purse in some situations and the general lack of pockets in women’s clothing. She even admitted that one of the reasons she’d bought the dress she happened to be wearing was because it had pockets stylishly sewn into its gentle folds.

Then she asked, “Why do men need so many pockets?”

“For porn!” I answered.  We both burst out laughing.  I’d never questioned why men needed lots of pockets, always focusing my rant on why we women often were shortchanged.

About a week later, I retold that male pockets/porn joke to a male friend and a woman before a filmmakers roundtable event began. She laughed. He didn’t. Instead he fast tracked that joke to its grave by asking me to explain why it was funny. I indirectly explained that the joke may only be funny to women. The other woman said, “Men are always watching porn.” He still didn’t see any humor in that.

Another guy joined us at the table. After we all introduced ourselves, in no time flat, that guy explained that his filmmaking genre was some niche porn I cannot recall because, as the other woman and I said, men are always watching porn.  Here was this guy who was producing it. I didn’t bother to count how many pockets he had.

During the 15-minute intermission in the middle of the roundtable event, the other woman and I made haste to the bathroom and were the first two in the two-stalled women’s bathroom. We both finished up around the same time and saw a line of women waiting–of course.  I seized the moment to test out my hypothesis and told the men’s pockets/porn joke to the women in line.  They all laughed.

Some weeks later, I female friend and I got together to catch up.  I couldn’t resist.  Even she laughed, agreeing that men view a lot of porn. At least that’s what we women think.

 

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How to De-Ice a Windshield: Austin, TX Style

For the third time in two months and since moving to Austin in 2009, Mother Nature snowed.  Par for the course in Austin, lots of ice rained down. I stayed in my apartment the entire day. I had a mental list of things to do, including working out in the morning and “going to work” in the afternoon, which was made possible since I telecommute.

The next day, I gathered my yoga gear, carefully maneuvered down the icy stairs and discovered a quarter inch of ice on my windshield.  My usual ice scrapers were an old plastic badge from my teaching days and a sturdier plastic flour spatula that I kept in the glove compartment. Yet, those things weren’t cracking the ice. To answer the obvious, YES, I’d turned on the defroster. The rear windshield defroster worked faster since the heating elements were embedded in the windshield itself, but that front windshield…

I also turned on my chemistry brain. I knew that isopropyl (rubbing) alcohol would’ve done the trick, but I only had hydrogen peroxide. One thought kept haunting me while I tried to make that flour spatula work.  As the minutes ticked by, I feared being late for yoga class; so I broke down and grabbed the vodka from my freezer.

Since vodka remains liquid in the freezer, it defrosts an icy windshield.  That’s all the chemistry anyone needs to know in this situation.

If I would have planned better, I would have poured the vodka onto a cloth, then applied it to the windshield.  Instead, I drizzled it on top of the windshield and scraped with a metal spatula.

After all that effort, I managed to get a peephole through the ice shield.  I figured the cops would stop me since I had to hunch over with my chin about an inch above the steering wheel in order to see.  I rooted every time the windshield wipers cleared a little more melted ice away.

By the time I pulled into the parking garage adjacent to the yoga studio, I was sitting upright like a normal driver, which was superb since the laws of civilization falter in parking lots/garages.

I hate arriving late to places, especially yoga, but I’d called ahead, so the instructor expected me. As luck would have it, I wore the brightest, loudest yoga pants I owned. A design called “disco dots.” Zero subtlety and absolutely no sneaking into that class already in progress. I set my mat up in the front row and joined in as if I’d been on time. Namaste!

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MLK Day: Hug a Black Person

In observance of the holiday, I texted some people, “Happy MLK Day” and even advised one white friend to hug a back person, to which he replied, “haha,” but I was serious.  I believe in the power of small actions leading to bigger things.

As a matter of fact, when I rolled up into the bikram yoga studio, the first thing I did as I signed in was bid the yoga teacher at the reception desk, “Happy MLK Day!”  He thought for a second and acknowledged, “Oh, yeah. That’s today.” Without missing a beat, I asked him, “Have you hugged a black person today?”  He burst out laughing and said he hadn’t.  I told him to come from behind the desk to do so.  In due time, I hugged everyone in the reception area.

I’m normally not that early for class, but fortunately, on this holiday, I was.  The female yogis from the previous class were still in the locker room when I entered.  I announced to the room, most of whom I knew either by face or name, “Happy MLK Day! If you haven’t hugged a black person today, then you can hug me, so you can say you did something in observation of the day.”

They all seemed amused by the idea.  I put down my things and hugged every woman there, no matter her state of undress.  One woman even asked for my name since I didn’t care who was known or a stranger to me.  All I really cared about was if the impending recipient welcomed the hug prior to embracing her.

I didn’t take a tally, but I’d guess I managed to hug around 20 people through that one trip to the yoga studio before and after class.  Who knows the ramifications of such a random act of kindness, but some mothers proudly boasted of teaching their kids about MLK in observance of the holiday.

What this day has come to mean to me is how I can walk through the front door of places where I shop.  I use the women’s facilities that exclude the adjective “colored.” I’m not hassled when I register to vote and I conveniently save time voting early where there’s no line. I graduated from a predominantly white university. The list goes on.

And yet, the struggle continues.  If anyone thought racism ended when Obama became president, I hope they can now acknowledge it’s back. One surefire way racism, or any “-ism” for that matter, becomes institutionalized is through taxpayer-funded laws.

What I know to be true, both from reading historical-based books, and my own personal experience is that no matter which category of people are targeted to be discriminated against, we blacks always make the short list of hate.  We may not be at the very top of the list, but we’re on the list, nonetheless.  That’s why I’m always vigilant whenever asshole politicians start down some illogical path to legislate against someone who either isn’t breaking the law or, using illogical means to deal with illegal activity to persecute people of color.

After all, if the government truly wanted to crackdown on people who used illegal drugs, shouldn’t a whole slew of cocaine-snorting, prostitute-fucking hedge fund managers and bankers be serving time with extraordinarily long mandatory minimums?

The way I see it, if some version of a bathroom bill ever successfully barred transgender people from using a public restroom then expanding that bill to include blacks wouldn’t be too far down the line.  Not as incredulous as it may sound at first blush, given the fact that transgender people have been using public restrooms for quite a while now. If banning one group of people from public restrooms makes paranoid conservatives feel safe, then surely banning blacks will make them feel even safer.  Like the days of Jim Crow.

Speaking of the paranoid conservative good ol’ days, the time’s about ripe again for some racist organization to seriously suggest shipping blacks back to Africa. If ever the logistical nightmare and funding were ever figured out to deport the estimated 11 million undocumented Americans, you can best bet African Americans would be next.  Hell, they’d save money putting us on the same planes since most of us have no more cultural ties to any African country than we do to a Latino country.

[Sidebar: Thanks to my father serving in the Air Force, my family was living in Okinawa, Japan when I was born; so I may have some legal ground, if ever my rights as an American were ever dissolved, to be sent to Japan. I’ve never looked into it since I’m optimistic that my rights as a citizen of the US will remain intact, but as a fiction writer and poet, I exercise my imagination.]

A hundred years ago, the hated religions among paranoid Americans were Catholicism and Judaism, so this Muslim ban that keeps rearing its ugly head like a B-movie villain that’s damn-near impossible to kill doesn’t surprise me.  And yet, it didn’t take too long, in racist political time to make Africans and diaspora Africans living in “shithole” countries an honorary religion. Because, as I’ve previously stated, blacks, in this case, from other countries, always make the short list of American conservative paranoid’s people to hate.

It’s easier to hate people you don’t know.  The more sequestered from the targeted group, the easier it is to demonize them, hype their evil characteristics to the point that any far- fetched theory sounds plausible.  My latest favorite is the politician who said that blacks cannot handle the effects of marijuana.  Hell, that almost sounds benign compared to the pseudoscientific “facts” about how blacks are genetically inferior, which leads to our diminished intellectual capacity.  And how about the pseudo-religious conclusion that blacks don’t have souls, which justified enslaving us prior to 1865 even though slavery was forbidden in the slave masters’ Bible?

Yet, when someone experiences counterexamples to what they believe to be true, it’s a little harder to be so pious with one’s hate.  Even if the seed of doubt isn’t verbalized, it’s still been planted. Some will second guess that the targeted group aren’t ALL that bad.  Doubt shines like a ray of hope.  The sliver of truth piercing through the combined thick fog of ignorance and fear may be confusing initially, but if the seed of doubt is ever cultivated then fear and ignorance recede.

The “others” transform into human beings for whom empathy is given.  I’m not sure the best way to cultivate those empathy seeds, but an occasional hug cannot hurt.

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Set in Motion

As soon as Trump was elected, the resistance began. Trump supporters called us many names, including “snowflakes.” Throughout 2017, the snowflakes grew in number and energy, creating a blizzard. One of the most powerful storms: The Me Too Movement.

A spotlight has now been shined on the open-secret incubation of sexual predators across workplace environments. Coddled from legal and professional consequences because they were “high performers,” these powerful men indulged in flexing illegal power since they made money for their corporate pimps who protected them.

Yet, I’d love it, if, just for once, one of these powerful men, an open-secret sexual assaulter, would be as explicitly honest as he was when he explicitly trolled for his victims, and confess, “Well, in the past when I’d flash my penis, talk dirty, grope someone or act out any other of my deviant sexual machinations at the workplace, I was never blamed for my own actions.  My career never suffered because my victims were always blamed, never quite believed, and their careers were either diminished or ended as a result of my behavior; so I thought that occasionally paying for their silence and departure, although it wasn’t an admission of guilt on my part, was just the cost of doing business.

“Then, something changed. I’ve heard that the election of our current president triggered it. Whatever the case, from one day to the next, I was held accountable for my own actions beyond paying hush money.

“Suddenly the same media and industry institutions that put me at the pinnacle of my field and looked the other way as I broke laws lesser men would have been imprisoned for, or at the very least fired, is now punishing me. I was untouchable, so to speak, but now I’ve lost my job. My career has imploded.”

Of course, I’m not holding my breath for such a great, revealing confession. They’re probably still swirling around thoughts about how the empires they built are collapsing, but really, every industry that these fallen titans have thrived in, still exist.  How humbling it must be for them to see their pillars, their solid connections to fame, fortune and power destroyed and the industry itself continue to thrive, new pillars created to strengthen the ever-changing cultural standards, absorbing the shock of a new generation of change makers.

Once the initial shock of the beginning of the end for these crumbled pillars settle, the long-lasting consequence of their wrong-doing lie not in how the collective battle cry of #metoo waged against them, but how swiftly they were replaced.  Reeling from the disillusion of their inflated self-worth, they’ve been tossed into a sexual predator tar pit and the vacuum created in their absence is being rapidly filled.

Nature abhors a vacuum.  Human nature roots for the underdog.  Twenty-eighteen is The Year of the Dog.

Time’s up.

 

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2017 NYE: Bikram Yoga

For the first time ever, ringing in the new year at a yoga class sounded like a good idea. Actually, I went out dancing on the eve of New Year’s Eve, which was fun until the next morning. If I were inclined to make new year’s resolutions, it may be to stop dancing salsa with younger men. They are a little too energetic for my left knee. A festive table greeted those of us who braved through the miraculous snowdrift. Had I known it would snow, I may have stayed home to watch it all unfold on TV. This was the second time snow had fallen in Austin in the eight years that I’ve lived here with the first time being a few weeks ago. Both times, I was caught by surprise out in it.I’d confirmed that we’d toast with sparkling apple cider and not champagne prior to class, but during class, I heard the yoga teacher ask her husband, “How’s the Korean barbecue going?” and for some stupid reason, I believed we were going to have that with the cider. Just goes to show how gullible I can be doing yoga that late at night.Most of the bright lights were outside the hot room in the reception area. The disco ball and mirrored walls reflected the disco lights and a speaker belted out a set list. The yoga teacher didn’t turn down the music as she guided us through class; so I missed some of her signals to go into a posture or change it. As a matter of fact, I was glad I had the habit of setting up in the front of the room or else I would not have been able to see myself in the mirror.

The class ended minutes before midnight and we toasted while in the yoga room. People cleared out rather quickly, which meant I could hop in the shower without having to wait in line. As I stood in the women’s locker room with a towel wrapped around my nakedness and applied deodorant, I heard a small crowd in the lobby yell, “Happy New Year!” Welp, that was just as good as any way to ring in a new year, I guess.

Fortunately, the snow had melted and the roads were clear. I only snapped this picture of a light dusting of snow on one of my neighbor’s car once I arrived home–before I got out of my car. I missed the opportunity to take a single picture of the first snowfall a few weeks ago, thinking it would stick around for a bit. So far, none of it has.

This had been the first Christmas to New Year’s vacation I’ve enjoyed in a long time. Not only did I ring in the New Year at a Bikram yoga studio, but I’m also participating in the yoga challenge by attending a class 6 days a week. That’s truly helping the ever-present rollercoaster ride of being an independent health insurance agent!

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Bah Humbug!

Admittedly, I approached this past Christmas with a Scroogy attitude. The real gift was reconnecting with my family; so when the actual day arrived, it seemed less spectacular. One of my nephews was wrapped up in a blanket in the living room as if Santa had left him along with the other gifts.One of my nieces and I immediately changed into our Christmas festive attire.  Whereas her Santa Dino sweater and Grinch leggings were manufactured, I’d sewn a stuffed animal, which I named “Bah Humbug,” onto the front of my sweater. Although I thought of it as a simple way to be Christmassy, I didn’t realize how having Bah Humbug sewn onto my sweater would amuse other people as much as it did. Everyone initially thought I was carrying a stuffed animal until I stood up.

Apparently my costuming idea was so impressive, my 17-year old nephew asked me to stand up and say a few words, so he could post it to his Instagram.  Now, there’s a vote for being unintentionally cool!

Yet, he’d showed up all of us on Christmas Eve by dressing up in his Winter Wonderland suit for church. The pastor was so distracted that he asked my nephew to stand up for the congregation just in case they hadn’t seen him. The pastor complimented how confident my nephew was, supported the idea he’d be a millionaire by age 25 and then delivered the sermon.

As in the past few years, we started off Christmas morning eating breakfast.  With the youngest child being 17, there was no over-the-top early morning anxiousness. Everyone had a chance to fully wake up, change out of their bed clothes, eat and then open gifts.

These three assumed their usual positions on the floor in front of the tree.One of my sisters miraculously hadn’t gone to bed on Christmas Eve since she had an impossible number of things she wanted to accomplish before our Christmas celebration. I appropriately gifted her Obama-decorated-as-saints candles.I didn’t think this nephew would stick around after receiving the burlesque dictionary I’d gifted him, but he stuck around until the gift-opening had ended.For the other nephew, I gifted him a small journal made from recycled panda poo since he always read and jotted down information in perpetual research mode. I told him there were no ideas too crappy to write down in a panda poo journal! Of course, he had to sniff it.

Later, I helped him assemble a preowned practice drum kit that he and his sisters had bought for their mom.  Truly a discovery learning process for us two Virgos since the box had no instructions nor diagram.  He found a picture of an assembled practice drum kit for us to follow.  There were a few missing pieces, but we assembled what we could and even had his mom to drum a little.

This had been the perfect visit in so many ways. There was only one awkward argument, which didn’t involve me, but I witnessed. I didn’t do a lick of work, unlike last Christmas, where my shitty job at the time didn’t give me many paid vacation days and I had to work half the time my parents were there. Plus, I’d established the tradition of sleeping in my nephew’s room, so I could close the door, blocking out much of the sound and light of the true night owls in the family who wanted to stay up later. We visited one family of cousins and another family showed up as well. And of course, I cannot forget about all the delicious food.

From the day I arrived, At least one person cooked something.  I helped one of my nieces, who is a vegan, make peanut butter cookies. We started the process after midnight.  Once the last batch had been laid out, I showered and went to bed, but my little niece kept going and made both chocolate chip and thumb print cookies, not going to bed until 4:30 AM.

My brother-in-law made three types of sweet potato pies: regular, vegan and sausage. Then he followed that up with many of the dishes, both regular and vegan, that we ate for Christmas Eve: mac and cheese, stuffing, string bean casserole and others. My sister made pecan pies. Mom made a cheesecake and potato salad. Dad made hash browns. My other sister brought a red velvet cake.

This was in addition to all the various fruit, nuts and processed snacks they normally buy in bulk. So, much food that I ate dessert after every meal. I limited myself to only one glass of wine a day, but still had eggnog nearly every day and a taste of moonshine at one point.

I did some yoga stretches every night, jogged on the treadmill once, and always agreed to go shopping just to get some walking in. I never have the new year’s resolution to lose weight–other than the temporary pounds I’ve gained with my holiday eating, coupled with my holiday reduction of exercise.

All in all, the nearest perfect Christmas visit as could be expected.

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Aunt Teresa’s Burlesque Dictionary

Last Christmas, when my immediate family got together, I had a few conversations with one of my nephews, who was 25 at the time. During our conversations, he asked me what certain words, like “ambiguous” and “prolonged,” meant since I’d peppered my conversations with such vocabulary. At one point, I told him that if he’d read more, he’d know the meaning of those words.

Unlike other members of my immediate family, I’m not induced into thinking that just because this particular nephew is on the autism spectrum that he can’t do better. I’ve witnessed him manipulate other people, especially my parents, into doing things for him. He ‘d mastered that behavior at age three. Since I’ve lived out of town for most of his life, I have always seen through the learned helplessness charade. Not every struggle can be written off as intellectual disability, especially with someone smart enough to scheme.

For that Christmas, I’d gifted him a nonfiction book and two literary magazines. I knew he liked history and the novel was about a married autistic man’s journey to being a better father and husband by learning how to be more empathetic–lessons I thought my nephew needed to learn as well.

Just on a fluke, I told him for next year’s Christmas gift (2017), I’d get him a dictionary to help build his vocabulary. Then I added that I’d probably had to decorate it with pictures to get him to read it. I asked him with which kind of pictures he’d like me to decorate the dictionary.

“Big titties and Kim Kardashian!” he answered without the slightest hesitation.

I told him I wasn’t going to buy any porn, but I still kept the request in mind as I flew back to Texas. The more I thought about it, the more I was intrigued with the challenge of modifying a dictionary to the point that a 25 year old man would actually look at every page.

So, on January 2nd, I went to Half Price Books and checked out the reference section. I wanted a dictionary that had around 300 or fewer pages, medium-to-large print, hardbound, and thickish pages. I loved the irony of the small print at the top of my dictionary choice: “A vocabulary book for people who don’t need one.” Oh, my nephew definitely needed one!

While at the checkout counter, I told the guy my intentions for buying the dictionary. Then I asked him what Half Price Books did with their old magazines, emphasizing that I didn’t want porn. He directed me to the recycling center in the back of store, telling me that perhaps there were some gentlemen’s magazines that hadn’t been recycled them yet.So, I explained my project to one of the women who worked in the recycling center. As fortune would have it, she had a shopping cart full of vintage Maxims and similar magazines. She handed me a heavy stack of 12 magazines. I’d originally thought I’d have to go through a lot of junk mail to get such pictures from racy ads. The universe conspired for me!

Then, I went to one of my favorite craft stores, told the story behind the dictionary project and asked for a recommendation for a pen I could use to write on the pages. Again, the cashier was more than happy to direct me to the scrapbooking section where I found gel pens that were chemically neutral and wouldn’t bleed. My intention was to write a comprehensive sentence at the top of each page, using the framed vocabulary word.

When I say “framed,” I mean just that. For each page, I planned to paste, using the acid-free glue sticks I bought at the craft store, an eye-catching picture, which will cover up some of the other words.  With colored pencils, I’d create a colorful scenic/decorative background to make all the other words on the page recede, leaving one vocabulary word and its definition(s) uncolored; so he’ll be able to see the definition of vocabulary word I write at the top of the page.

In about six weeks time, I’d decorated every page with, what one woman had referred to as “cheesecake shots.” Regardless of whether the page had text on it or not, I made use of all the available space.The overall plan was to add inspirational quotes from famous women on those pages where no vocabulary word was highlighted. Since my nephew is a history buff, I wanted to make sure he’d read the words of a variety of successful and influential women.Based on which word I chose to highlight, I glued an appropriate-sized picture for that page.
After all the pictures were placed, I then boxed in the highlighted word, using a gel pen. For certain pages, such as the index, I wanted my nephew to still be able to use them, yet I decorated those pages as well and added the inspirational quotes later.

The next step involved writing sentences for each highlighted word. Ever the perfectionist, I knew I’d edit them later. Yet the sentences guided me on how to decorate the dictionary with colored pencils and stencils. Having the handwritten sentences were much easier to reference and saved ink and paper of printing out typed up sentences.

I thumbed through the book to see which pages needed inspirational quotes from famous, successful women. Those identified pages were the ones that had no highlighted vocabulary word. So, I knocked out getting quotes for those pages in one setting.

The most intense labor of love had to be designing the background for all the pages with highlighted words. I spared my sanity by searching for image outlines online to print and trace rather than drawing them freehand. This saved time and helped make the illustrations look better. Just think: mastering cutting paper and coloring in kindergarten still served me so well much later in life.October 7th marked a significant day in the making of the burlesqued dictionary: all the hand-illustrated backgrounds were completed! Months of reading the sentences; looking up a black and white outline to copy and paste into a word document; printing out the outlines to use as stencils; finally tracing and coloring the resulting backgrounds.

The penultimate stage has begun. I’m now writing in the inspirational quotes on the pages that lack vocabulary. I’m not sure that I can take the project out to other places and complete this stage like I could when tracing and coloring the backgrounds. I could still follow conversation while doing those things, but I’d like to have no conversational obligation when copying sentences. I need more concentration. At least I have white out.

I figured this last stage would zip by. Compared to designing the backgrounds by hand, this last step in dictionary design was a breeze. The only things that slowed me down was when I inevitably edited the sentence or had to white out something that was sloppily or erroneously written. Nonetheless, what a pleasure to revisit the example sentences I’d written just months ago.

Once I completed writing the sentences by mid-October, the only thing left was to scan all the pages for prosperity’s sake. Thank goodness I finished relatively early since I needed to practice the scanning technique. Most importantly, with all the choices I could save the images to, I initially had no idea which format worked best for which platform.  I’ve since learned that TIFF is the best for an overall record; PDF is best for book publishing; and JPEG is best for this blog! I’ve no idea what PNG is good for. I’m sure I’ll find out after I’ve gifted the dictionary to my nephew!

I forewent the normal Christmas card and wrote out my thoughts on an index card instead. Even so, I don’t think I tricked him into thinking it was a normal study guide.Speaking of whom, here’s the satisfied gift recipient.

And just as I’d hoped, he’s now reading in bed! Now, all that remains is how many words he’ll actually learn. At least other people can build their vocabulary as well, reading Aunt Teresa’s Burlesque Dictionary.

Categories: Creative Projects, Holidays, Writing | 1 Comment

Burlesque Dictionary

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Holiday Celebration 2017

Who would have thought that nearly a year ago at the holiday party sponsored by the company we all worked for, where we all shared the same round table, would turn out to be prophetic? During the course of 2017, we all grew tired of having our talent squandered, and being under paid and over managed. By the end of September, we all worked for the same company as independent health insurance agents.

I’ve told everyone who’d listen that I started living my “happily ever after” when I had control of my schedule and earned enough money to pay my expenses, pay down my debt, while still working fewer than 40 hours a week.  I’d previously thought that the first thing I’d buy myself once I got out of debt would be a more comfortable office chair. When that great day arrives, I’ll buy a new phone instead.

What I discovered was that I didn’t need a more comfortable chair, I needed a more comfortable job! Now that my work doesn’t require me to sit on my ass 40 hours a week, I spend far more time living life than earning a living. That in and of itself is more than enough reason to celebrate.

Nonetheless, I enjoyed getting together with coworkers, dressing up, and having very lively conversations, which cleared all of the other tables around us, as we ate delicious Colombian food after doing a shot of aguadiente (fire water).  I sipped mine since I rarely do shots.  I want to enjoy my alcohol.

We have supported one another through this health insurance agent journey for over a year now. The other ladies bought gifts. I chose to make everyone cards. Tears welled up in two of my coworkers’ eyes. How sad it is that we have so many means of communication and yet, we hardly ever tell one another the qualities we admire in each other. Or truly thank someone for good advice they gave us or the impact they made when they took the time to help us.  Even the small gestures that turned out to have a significant, life-altering result. I’m just happy I took the opportunity to tell them all the positive things that I see in them and how they have helped me become a better agent and person.

We plan to get together once a month since we no longer have regularly scheduled meetings. I love not only the shared experience we have, but the informal professional development we provide for one another. It’s terrific to have a support group to count on, which we use to improve. One thing’s for sure, we’re all visualizing ourselves making six figures for 2018. The best part about that is that we will hold one another accountable throughout the year.

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