Second Chances, the NFL, and Good Men

“NFL Announces New Zero-Tolerance Policy on Videotaped Domestic Violence” ~Post title on The Onion, September 9, 2014

Can we talk?

I’ve been reading the news and reading Facebook posts, which are not the same thing at all, but still the same topics are often aired in sound bites, captioned photos, and links to articles that sometimes we *like* but do not read.

Apparently, there are some who think Ray Rice should get another chance to play in the NFL. I don’t agree, but OJ Simpson probably does. Apparently, there are also some who think his now-wife is equally to blame. I don’t agree, but Chris Brown probably does.

Do married people fight at times? Provoke each other at times? Hurt one another at times? Yes, yes, and yes. But Janay Rice did not knock herself out. And nothing she has ever done or said caused her to get knocked unconscious by someone she loves. Ray Rice did it. We all saw it. He delivered a knockout punch to someone he says he loves.

And it is a damn shame that the NFL took a different stand only after a videotape of the knockout blow was released. Domestic violence typically takes place behind closed doors, with no independent witnesses, no video footage to tell the story. The elevator videotape allowed for a story to be told.  It moved a dark issue into the light, even as it was very hard to watch.

I saw a bright side this week, on Facebook of all places. I saw many people speaking up. But I’m thinking of a few men in particular who are Facebook friends of mine. These guys raised their voices and stood strong when some of the comments went places that decent people do not go. These men give me hope.

One of them wrote this:

It’s funny how, for weeks now, everybody KNEW Ray Rice punched his wife & dragged her unconscious body out of the elevator, but once the video of it happening surfaced yesterday: consequences.

It’s like, without the video, just knowing that it happened was somehow mitigated, like the Ravens (who immediately cut him today) watched the video and went “Oh! You mean he PUNCHED her! Our bad, totally misunderstood what that meant.” Or the NFL, which immediately suspended him indefinitely (today), somehow thought it was justifiable wife punching until the video came out.

Wait, did I say “funny” up above? I meant disgusting and shameful.

And another one wrote this:

There are people that deserve second chances, obviously. Men that knock their women unconscious with one punch, pedophiles, animal abusers, people that abuse the elderly, people who rape don’t. There you go. There are the new rules.

And someone else wrote this:

I [have seen] first hand how it is hard for a victim to leave and to get out. So, don’t question Ray Rice’s wife for marrying him. Just know that it goes deeper than what you may think. Pray for her.

I’m grateful for strong voices like those above. These guys are upstanders. I don’t care what anyone says about how hard it is to find a good man these days. I see them everywhere.

And now I have something to say to Janay, in response to this:

“To make us relive a moment in our lives that we regret every day is a horrible thing,” ~Janay Rice, in an Instagram post dated September 9, 2014.

I don’t want you to relive that moment, Janay.  But the odds are not in your favor. 

Below is a link to the open letter to Rihanna that I posted on this blog several years ago.  It applies to Janay.

Dear Rihanna

I don’t fault Janay Rice for staying, for saying what she has said, or for doing what she has done. I also know that she could have died in that elevator. Her baby girl could have lost her mama. But Janay Rice was spared, this time. When she woke up from that knockout punch in the elevator, she was given a second chance.

 

This is My Husband, Ile

This is my dessert husband, Ile Flottante.  We fell in love in Paris.
This is my dessert husband, Ile Flottante. We fell in love in Paris.

My dessert husband’s name is Ile Flottante, which is Foreign Language for “Floating Island.”  I first met Ile at Le Train Bleu in Paris.  It was love at first bite.  We immediately eloped and I never regretted it even though I soon found out that my dessert husband gets around. Just days after the wedding, I found him at other restaurants in Paris.

Here's Ile at Brasserie Bofinger in Paris. Bofinger is overrated.  Ile is not.
Here’s Ile at Brasserie Bofinger in Paris. Bofinger is overrated. Ile is not.

I don’t mind that Ile sees other people.  Share and share alike, I say.  I should stop right here to clarify that my spousal share-and-share-alike policy applies to everyone and everything I have ever married except for my actual husband because he is my favorite husband so far, that’s why.  So, I’m super-duper selfish about my actual husband.  And I have a taser app on my iPhone that I would use like a boss to enforce my selfishness in this regard.

tazeBut I digress.

If you’ve been around here for long, you already know that in addition to my long-suffering actual husband, Adam Lambert, and the Hot Toe Doctor, I have imaginarily (that should be a word) married several friends, certain edibles, and even a few inanimate objects like my Chanel sunglasses.  See?  It’s just what those anti-marriage equality people said would happen. If it is legal for two adults in love to get married, then the next thing you know people will start marrying floating islands and designer eyewear.

I digressed.  Again.

Here’s Ile dressed in dark chocolate curls for Valentine’s Day in 2012:

Get in my belly, dessert husband.
Get in my belly, Dessert Husband.

Here’s how you can make a dessert spouse of your own:

RECIPE FOR A DESSERT SPOUSE

I reviewed a number of recipes to find one closest to the process described to me by the matchmaking server at Le Train Bleu.  A lot of recipes call for baking the meringue, but that’s just not right.  At all.  I don’t even care if Martha Stewart says that’s how to do it (and she does).  She’s wrong.  The meringue has to be poached in milk. Duh. How else is it gonna get delicious?

I did not do the caramel sauce called for in the recipe, but I bet it would be epic.  Instead I used dark chocolate shavings to garnish.  Also, it’s not obvious from the recipe, but the poaching milk can be used to make the custard if you’re serving it the same day.  This is not to say that it can’t be served the next day. It can. I know this for sure.  So, you can make extra for breakfast because milk and eggs is part of a nutritious breakfast, that’s why.  Finally, I suggest cutting back on the sugar in the custard by about half because you will go into a diabetic coma otherwise, that’s why.

I don’t have the patience for complicated recipes, so you can believe it when I say this dessert spouse is easy to make.  And the ingredients are simple.  In other words, you don’t have to go to all the way to Paris to find a dessert spouse because he or she is probably waiting in your fridge right now, that’s why.

Profiter de votre conjoint dessert! This is Google French for “Enjoy your dessert spouse!”

Le Train Bleu

IMG_0822Le Train Bleu is a fancy restaurant located in the Gare de Lyon train station in Paris. It has been around since 1901, but was renamed Le Train Bleu in 1963 after the night train that once took rich folks between Calais and the French Rivera to escape those cold winters one ought not suffer if one has the options that come with wealth. The train was so named because it had dark blue sleeping cars. The restaurant has been the location of several films including La Femme Nikita and Mr. Bean’s Holiday.

Walking into the restaurant is walking straight into the Belle Epoque with everything intricately gilded, paneled, or upholstered from floor to ceiling. Coco Chanel and Salvador Dali were regulars, and you pretty much feel as though you’ll catch a glimpse of them as you amble to a rich leather booth with a table clothed in thick linen. As you know if you’ve looked around this blog, I am a below-average photographer (unless I take 27,573 shots of the same thing and get lucky with one), so here’s a link to Le Train Bleu’s photo gallery.

Le Train Bleu’s interior is certainly a feast for the eyes, but would it be one for the tummy? I also wondered if the service would be très snooty given the atmosphere and general hype. As it turned out, the food was good, but the service was better. Pretty much the opposite of what Americans expected in France, oui?

We began with pan-fried duck foie gras with baked fig, which was to die for. Next we had poached fish in a cream sauce so light that our entrees practically floated to our lips. Our server was personable and accommodating, readily available but never hovering. He made certain that our vegetarian daughter had something special whipped up back in the kitchen that pleased her, which pleased us. And that wonderful man introduced me to my third husband . . .

The best part of the meal was the dessert. I fell in love and married it. Our server told us that it is a favorite dessert in France, especially for young children because it can be made quickly and with simple ingredients. He said his mother used to make it for him as a child, and he took the time to explain to me how to prepare it. I ordered it at other restaurants in Paris after that, wondering how I lived so many years tragically unaware of its existence until then. I have prepared it 73,689 times since returning home.

I will tell you all about my dessert spouse in an upcoming post . . . with recipes and variations. You will marry it too.   It will be Big Love Desserts around here.

Until then, au revoir.


A long time ago on a continent far far away, I wrote some blog posts about Paris, and I promised to write more when I got back to the U.S., which I did, kinda, but never posted them because I forgot I had a blog for two and a half years, that’s why. This is one of the previously unpublished posts.


Kicks Like a Girl online book club update:  I have selected eight winners at random from the comments.  I will contact the winners this week with the book club date and time.  If you didn’t get a spot and someone who did is unable to attend, I will contact you next.  This is going to be fun and I will write a post about the book club after we do it!  A BIG THANK YOU to the author of Kicks Like a Girl, Melissa Westemeier!

kicks like a girl book club

 

Labor Day

Labor-DayLabor Day is celebrated annually in the US on the first Monday in September to pay tribute to the contributions and achievements of the work force.  The holiday first came into being in the late 1800s as labor unions organized to protest working conditions during the height of the Industrial Revolution.  On September 5, 1882, over 10,000 workers marched in New York from City Hall to Union Square, which was the first Labor Day parade in US history.  The idea of a worker’s holiday caught on around the country, but it wasn’t until twelve years later following a railroad strike organized by labor leader Eugene Debs that Congress passed legislation recognizing it as a federal holiday.

There is a fashion rule that is often broken, at least in California, that one should not wear white after Labor Day.  Originally, this rule applied to dresses and shoes, but at some point all white clothing was included.  “Winter white” was a debated exception.  The origins of the rule may have been practical given that white clothing would not hold up as well in harsh and wet weather.  Although many fashion experts these days say that this rule is outdated, some still follow it.  As I admired the white dress a friend of mine was wearing last Friday, she remarked, “I had to wear it one last time before Labor Day.”

white shoesLabor Day has come to be known as a day of rest and relaxation for most people.  Retailers typically offer Labor Day sales and summer closeouts.  It marks the end of the summer season and travel.  For some families, it means the school year is about to begin.  Labor Day is typically celebrated with outdoor events such as backyard barbeques, picnics, or parades.

My weekend was filled with visits with family, playing cars with my grandson, watching my niece and nephew swim, grilling, dining out, watching movies, making cinnamon ice cream to go on top of a Julian apple pie, and a trip to Legoland.  How will (or did) you celebrate Labor Day this year?  Will you wear white after Labor Day?


Note:  There’s still time!  You have until 11:59 PM PDT on September 3rd to enter to be one of eight lucky readers to participate in an online book club meeting on Skype with the author of Kicks Like a Girl, Melissa Westemeier!  Check it out!  CLICK RIGHT HERE!

kicks like a girl book club


Photo credit:   White shoes from Zappos.com

 

Selfies

I have a confession to make. I like selfies. If we were confessing things, I would also tell you that I like Blurred Lines by Robin Thicke. It’s got a good beat and you can dance to it.* But it’s a good thing that we aren’t confessing everything because just downloading Blurred Lines on iTunes got me a feminist lecture from my fourteen-year-old daughter, that’s why.  But I digress.

This is about selfies, and why I like them.  Not taking them, but looking at them.

I suppose, like anything else, selfies can be a snapshot, so to speak, of our human condition, good and bad. But mostly when I view selfies, I see joy, self-confidence, self-expression, participation, empowerment, and sharing.

Although the term selfie is relatively new, selfies themselves are not. Case in point:

Vincent_van_Gogh_-_Self-Portrait_-_Google_Art_Project_(454045)Selfies are so easy even a two-year-old can do it. This is my grandson’s selfie, with a photobomb by yours truly:

toddler selfieI think deep inside, we all like selfies.  Isn’t Google Earth really just a selfie of all of us after all?

Google_Earth_7_desktop

Question: What say you about selfies?

*Bonus question: Where did the line “It’s got a good beat and you can dance to it” originate?


There’s still time!  You have until 11:59 PM PDT on September 3rd to enter to be one of eight lucky readers to participate in an online book club on Skype with the author of Kicks Like a Girl, Melissa Westemeier!  Check it out!  CLICK RIGHT HERE!

kicks like a girl book club

Photo Credit:  Van Gogh and Google Earth images are from Wikipedia

Facebook Ticker: A Virtual Knothole in the Fence

fenceLet’s say a neighbor hosts a backyard BBQ, to which he invites a few other neighbors, but not his next-door neighbor, Scott. Why? Maybe it was because he doesn’t know Scott very well. Maybe because he thought Scott was cranky that third time someone’s ball went over his fence that one day. Maybe he doesn’t like Scott’s Obama bumper sticker. Who knows? And maybe it feels like a snub and Scott’s feelings are a little hurt. But where does Scott go with it?

Would he hang out by the back fence waiting for the BBQ to get underway, look over at what’s on the grill, and then call over to his neighbor to make a “friendly” comment about the food he’s serving? Not unless he’s a snoop and someone who wants (subconsciously? passive aggressively? flauntingly?) to let his neighbor to know that in spite of not being invited, he showed up anyway, if only by peering over the fence. That would be disrespectful and crossing a boundary, right?

The privacy controls in social media are like a backyard fence. A fence is meant to provide boundaries between good neighbors, but other people can peek over it or through a knothole if they can figure out how to get to the property line, which happens with the click of a mouse these days. On Facebook that might be as simple as watching the real-time Ticker to the right of one’s Newsfeed. All you have to do is hover your mouse over something one of your Facebook friends has “liked” on the post of someone who isn’t your Facebook friend, and you can see that non-friend’s post and all of the comments.

facebook tickerThink of the possibilities.

Suppose that Rose posted a photo of herself at the celebration of her recent job promotion and Annabeth “liked” it. Everyone who is Facebook friends with Annabeth, including Rose’s ex-boyfriend Tony, can see what Annabeth “likes” in their Tickers. EDITED:  Facebook puts her (and everyone’s) posts and photos in Ticker, which shows up to friends of friends if Rose’s friend likes or comments on it.

So the situation could be this: While Rose is still at the dinner party celebrating her promotion, she gets a congratulatory text from Tony, who isn’t her friend on Facebook. She is baffled at how he found out. Because of Ticker, Rose’s ex-boyfriend found out about her promotion before many of Rose’s own Facebook friends happened to see the photo in their own Newsfeed or on Rose’s Timeline.

Of course, Tony took it up a notch. He read Rose’s news, knew it wasn’t intended for him, and sent a message to Rose under the guise of congratulations that let her know he knew.

Creepy, right?

So, what does Rose do to prevent Tony from seeing her posts? Ask Annabel not to comment or like her posts? Deactivate Facebook? Unfriend Annabel? Absent that, Ticker gives Tony a virtual peephole into Rose’s life at the tip of his fingertips every time one of their mutual friends likes something Rose posted on Facebook.  EDITED TO ADD: The only way that Rose can keep her posts out of friends of friends’ Tickers is to set her posts to “Friends Only.”

This post isn’t to bash Facebook, a place I like to connect with my friends and family. Although it is a post meant to scrutinize Ticker, and to consider generally that the social graces we practice (or ought to) in face-to-face interactions translate to our virtual ones.

We can’t have our privacy and share our lives online too. It’s the price of being active on social media, something many of us enjoy quite a bit even as we are sometimes bedeviled and baffled by it. We can do our very best to carefully set and monitor our privacy controls, but even without active participation in social media, it’s almost impossible to stem the tide of an online presence and the information flow that comes from it. And some of us, especially those who work at home or are behind computers a lot, really like the social interactions and connections that happen online.

One would hope that good people, like good neighbors with fences, would respect social media boundaries. If we aren’t Facebook friends with someone, and that person has posted something that is not set to “Public,” we might endeavor to resist the temptation to snoop—even if Facebook gives us access to a peek via that real-time stalking assistant known as Ticker.

Of course, we are not saints and sometimes curiosity gets the best of us, myself included. However, should we find ourselves lurking where we haven’t been welcomed, whether in places such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or looking over the fence into our neighbor’s yard, perhaps the best thing we may have going for us is common courtesy. Because calling over the fence, “Hey, it’s time to flip those burgers!” probably won’t get Scott invited to the next BBQ either.


For an interesting read on the “like” feature, check out Schmutzie’s article on Medium, “I Quit Liking Things on Facebook for Two Weeks.  Here’s How It Changed My View of Humanity.


PrintThere’s still time!  You have until 11:59 PM PDT on September 3rd to enter to be one of eight lucky readers to participate in an online book club on Skype with the author of Kicks Like a Girl, Melissa Westemeier!  Check it out!  CLICK RIGHT HERE!

 

Twitter is Like Siri

I may or may not have mentioned that I am registered to participate in the Disneyland Star Wars Half Marathon in January with two of my daughters.  I may or may not have also mentioned that “registered to participate” means that my daughters will take turns pushing me 13.1 miles in my grandson’s stroller while I eat a Gibson Girl Sundae.  That way, my legs won’t be tired when I collect my Commemorative Finisher’s Medal at the end.  After writing about Monika Allen’s Wonder Woman tutu I did some serious thinking.  I thought a lot about right speech followed by right action, spiritual and enlightened stuff.  I also thought about what to wear.  And then I wondered out loud on Twitter whether Glam Runner makes a Wookiee tutu.  Because this is my thinking:  If I wear a Wookiee tutu, I won’t have to shave my legs.  Here’s the cool thing about Twitter:  It’s like Siri.  If you ask it a question, it answers you!

wookiee tutuYes!  Exactly like that.

I don’t know the folks at Glam Runner personally, but can’t you just tell they have a lot of heart?  And cool tutus?

If I were to get this Wookiee tutu, I would have to come up with an improved race day strategy, one that involves some sort of bib or drop cloth situation so I don’t get hot fudge on my tutu during the half marathon.  How many runners do you know whose race day strategy involves keeping hot fudge from dripping on his or her Wookiee tutu?  Well, you know one now.  #WINNING!


Speaking of winning, guess what?  Claudia from Idiot’s Kitchen has won an autographed copy of Melissa Westemeier’s book, Kicks Like A Girl.  Congratulations!  But this isn’t over!  We’re still kicking like girls around here.  There’s still time to enter to get a spot in the Kicks Like a Girl online book club.  In September, Melissa Westemeier will participate in an online book club meeting.  Eight lucky people will join us on Skype!  CLICK HERE for details.

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NOTE from Blog This Mom!®:  The links to Glam Runners and Kicks Like a Girl are totally unsolicited and unpaid.  I do not receive any compensation if you purchase a tutu or a book.  Side note:  If you purchase a tutu from Glam Runner, you will be supporting Girls on the Run, which is really cool.  In any event, I have policies about reviews, you know, because this joint is a serious operation with policies and official legal language.

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