It’s a Piece of Cake!

Photo by Rainier Ridao on Unsplash

To paraphrase that great American philosopher, William Claude Dukenfield (aka W. C. Fields),

Quitting smoking is easy. Why, I’ve done it hundreds of times!

And I have. And I keep coming back to it.

Coffin nails. The noxious weed. Cancer sticks. I’ve heard them all. Lung busters.

Hell, I’m even smoking one as I write this.

It’s an addition, a crutch. And a great way to kill boredom…if not myself.

It’s the stereotypical image of a writer: cigarette in one hand, glass of whisky in the other, starting at a blank piece of paper, deciding what to write. Or in Hemingway’s case, replacing the shot glass with a shotgun.

Except I’m not suicidal. Or am I? Smoking is, if nothing else, slow-motion suicide. Russian roulette with better odds. The depressive’s choice of poison.

And yet…

I like smoking. I like the first cigarette of the day, in conjunction with the first cup of tea of the day. I smoke and toke as I read Medium stories, looking for new works by my favorite writers. Finding new writers. Hell, it’s every bit as good as a public library — or it would be if I could smoke and drink there.

But I’m not ready to quit, not really, Not now. I’m pretty sure they time will come when the dollar cost outweighs the benefits. They always do.

Believe me, I know.

I’ve done it hundreds of times.

Photo by Stas Svechnikov on Unsplash

That’s Me in the Corner

Posted: 19 December, 2018 in Atheism, Gender, Rants, Religion
Tags:
That’s Me, Losing My Religion

Or to be more accurate, I didn’t lose my religion: it lost me.

Photo by Nathan Dumlao on Unsplash

Growing up as a PK (Preacher’s Kid) had is advantages and its drawbacks. On the negative side, I was always in the eyes of the community — especially a problem when the community is so small that when you sneeze at the east side of town, somebody on the west side says, “Bless you!”

I couldn’t get away with anything.

But there was also a positive side,which became quite useful when I hit high school. That was back in the day when parents wanted to know everything there was to know about the young man who wanted to date their Mary Lou.

But being a PK, I was spared the third degree simply because of what that label implied: a safe, high-minded, perfectly-behaved young man. Emphasis on safe.

Silly parents! If any one of the girls I dated had told their parents just a fraction of what went on in the back seat of my daddy’s car on those dates, I wouldn’t be here to write this today.

Leaving Lutherism

Just as my father rejected his parents’ Anglican (Church of England) heritage in order to become a Lutheran minister, so I moved on from mystery father’s faith into Hinduism, Buddhism, the Baha’i’ Faith,finally arriving where I am today: perhaps not quite an atheist, but definitely an agnostic: I don’t know, and neither do you.

The problem I have with most religions — or to look at it more honestly — they have with me, revolves around a basic point: who I am.

I am a 68-year-old transgender bisexual woman. It’s more complicated than that, but I’d like to keep things uncluttered.

As such, while many Abrahamic religions (Judaism, Christianity, Islam, etc.) may accept my existence, they still won’t extend to me or “my kind” the same benefits and acceptance they do for their heterosexual members.

Yes, I’m referring to sex.

I am forbidden from physically expressing my love for another person except by a hug or a handshake.

The reason? Sex is only for procreation. Therefore, same-sex or same-gender relations are forbidden. Sexual acts that are not done with the intention of producing offspring are prohibited…

…unless you’re a married couple who don’t want kids. Or you’re too old. Or maybe you already have as many as you want. Or one or both of you is sterile.

In that case, by all means, fuck away!

But if you’re gay, bi, trans, or anything other than straight, you’re fucked.

How I long to belong to a spiritual, non-denominational community where I can be free to worship my creator — however I may conceive her — as I see fit. Where I am accepted, rather than merely tolerated.

I am a human being, not a fart in a crowded elevator: I deserve more than merely being tolerated.

Conversing via Texting Sucks

Posted: 17 December, 2018 in Rants, Writing
Tags: ,

Why I Hate it

My ex communicates with me mostly by text. Her daughter is the same. I remember sitting across from them in a restaurant while they texted back and forth. To each other. Sitting side by side.

It used to drive me crazy. Well, crazier than I already was.

Communication is so much more than just words. It is facial expressions, tone of voice. Visual and audible cues mean so much more than mere words can express.
Those cues, those subtleties, are lost when texting. Even the ability to write a decent letter can convey more emotional content than can a text message.

Face-to-face conversations are rich with content, both spoken and unspoken. The smile that comes to your face when I say something that amuses you, or the arching of your eyebrows when I ask a probing question.

All of that is lost in texting.

Texting definitely is a great tool. It has its place. It’s perfect for reminding your spouse to pick up a dozen eggs on the way home from work. Asking Nana what time she’ll be arriving to visit the kids this Saturday morning.

And yes, there are grandparents who are technologically hip; I’m one of them.
But when it comes to meaningful communication, call me. After all, that’s why mobile phones were created in the first place.

Better yet, stop by for a cup of tea and a long conversation.

Photo by Aliis Sinisalu on Unsplash 

I’ll even spring for the cookies!

Apple iPhone 10X

A Brief History of Technology

It’s funny how succeeding generations take technology for granted. My Nana’s first electric refrigerator must have seemed to her to be a miracle. Nowadays the only time I consciously think about it is when I’m looking in it to make my grocery list.

And even that is more about food and shopping than it is about the refrigerator itself.

June 29, 2007

Not exactly a Day of Infamy.

I sat at the Apple iPhone help desk on the evening of its release. Even though we had just completed 2 weeks of intensive training on the operation and capabilities of the device, that evening was the first time any of us had actually seen one, much less had an opportunity to work with it.

One iPhone between 8 techs. No wonder callers were frustrated.

Now my grandchildren all carry iPhones. And while I still look at mine with an occasional sense of wonder, to them it ain’t no big thang.

During those weeks of training, I had an epiphany: this was no mere mobile phone! No. What Apple had done was figure out how to fit an entire computer in the palm of your hand!

It’s 11 and a half years later as I write this. Cell phone (or if you’re British, mobile) usage has exploded. The phones themselves have evolved into various flavors of smartphone, and whereas they were once considered a luxury, they have become for many of us an essential part of life.

Hell, I wouldn’t be surprised if a few people I know don’t even go into their own bathrooms without it!

But Here’s the Thing…

I love my iPhone X, which I once swore I would never own. My next upgrade was to be to the 8S or Plus or Z or whatever was the top of the line 8 at the time.

But my carrier had a special offer: buy one iPhone X and get a second one free! And so I decided on the X, not realizing that it was about to be replaced by a few newer, more improved models.

But that’s on me. My iPhone X still runs circles around my old 6S Plus.

Writing and Publishing

I’ve written before on how I love writing on my iPhone. How it’s become my main writing tool for whatever site I’m writing: Medium, letters to the editor, blog posts—you name it, I’ve written to it on my iPhone!

And on Medium and WordPress, at least, published as well.

That’s About to Change

Ever have an improvement that really wasn’t? When I bought my new laptop 3 years ago, a Windows 10 machine, it booted blindingly fast. Now, after a long series of updates, upgrades, and “improvements,” I can turn it on and almost have time to get dressed, go downstairs, eat breakfast, and wash the dishes before heading back upstairs in time to see the damn machine is ready—finally—for use.

With the release of iOS 12.1.1, my iPhone is still blindingly fast—compared to my original Motorola flip-phone.

And there are far more things that are easier and faster to do on my laptop than on my iPhone. Things specifically related to publishing what I write.

Even Medium’s own mobile app isn’t designed to publish straight to Medium; more and more often I find I need my laptop to prepare my stories for final publication.

The Solution

So here’s what I’ve decided.

(What? Did you seriously think I was going to invest all this time bitching about things without offering a solution? You obviously don’t know me very well.)

I’m still doing the bulk of my writing on my iPhone, with an occasional detour to the iPad.

But rather than publishing (in Medium’s case, posting) what I write directly to the web or wherever, I’ll save my drafts. Then I’ll move to the laptop to massage them, add images and links, make them pretty, and then publish them.

And Apple? I’m sorry, my old friend, but I was wrong: you still haven’t managed to put a computer in the palm of my hand.

And as we techies like to say in our own inimical, technobabbly way, “Close, but no cigar.”

Plasencia Cigars

 

Today’s Tea

Posted: 25 November, 2018 in Tea
Tags: ,

It’s 10 a.m. My tea has gone cold. Reheating it in the microwave is quick and convenient, but it just doesn’t taste the same as when it was first brewed. I guess that’s the price I have to pay for ignoring it for so long.

My schedule has been off for a couple of weeks. It used to be

– wake up
– check my glucose levels
– take my morning meds
– head down to the kitchen
– brew the first tea of the day
– sit and enjoy it whilst reading the latest posts on Medium

But lately I’ve lost my mojo. Instead of enjoying my tea and Medium, I let myself get distracted. Crossword puzzles. Let the dog out. Feed the cat.

I could tell myself it’s because my roommate’s schedule is to blame, but I’d be lying to myself. Maybe I just needed a break, or I need to come up with a new routine.

I’ve always been my own worst enemy. Yes, I know: it’s a cliché. But let me explain: I am the goddess of procrastination. And the biggest thing I put off every night is going to bed at a decent hour. I’m often up past midnight, and then my alarm wakes me to take my morning medications.

And it’s finally caught up with me.

It’s worse with Daylight Savings Time

No matter if we go on or go off DST: it always screws me up. I realize that at one time it kinda made sense. But let’s face it: farmers no longer operate by daylight hours. Rather, they operate by GPS as they drive huge pieces of machinery with electric lights powerful enough to illuminate entire city blocks.

Meanwhile, their children go to and come home from school in the dark.

Finding the perfect balance

I’m not going to bore you with a long philosophical discussion about work and play; rather, when I talk of “balance” I mean the perfect blend of tea, sweetener, creamer, and spices to replicate the Indian tea served at my favorite Indian restaurant.

Based on this morning’s attempt, I think I’ve finally got it:
– 2 tea bags (I always use PG Tips)


– 16 ounces of water
– 4 packets artificial sweetener (Splenda, etc.)
– 1/2 teaspoon of Tea Masala


– about an ounce or so of milk or your favorite creamer

I steep my tea for a minimum of 5 minutes, as I prefer it strong. Once that’s done, I remove the tea bags and add the spice, sweetener, and creamer.

Finally, I take my first sip. Perfection!