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Warm Spinach Salad Dressing

Originally published at Misangela.com. Please leave any comments there.

Recipe for the dressing since, uh, there’s no prep to spinach in a bag! LOL I bought the pecans toasted/salted or a sweet candied pecan would be awesome, too.

Warm Spinach Salad Dressing
olive oil
2 Tbl diced pancetta
1 small shallot, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
5-6 medium creminis, halved then sliced (small pieces)
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
juice of one orange
2 Tbl sherry vinegar
1 Tbl honey
1 tsp sugar
prewashed spinach
toasted/salted pecans (or candied would be good)

In a small skillet, put a couple of turns of olive oil and pancetta, then turn on med low heat. Render the pancetta for about 8-10 minutes until it starts to crisp. When it’s crisped, add in the shallot and garlic – keep an eye on the heat so as not to burn your aromatics. When the shallot and garlic have softened, add in the creminis and cook for 2-3 minutes. When mushrooms have given off their juice and have gotten soft, add S/P. Then add the juice of one orange, vinegar and honey. Stir and taste for sweetness. My orange wasn’t very sweet, so I added the extra sugar. Let this cook down for another 2-3 minutes then kill the heat and let it stand for 2-3 minutes.

I always cut up and removed the stems of my spinach before I plate it. I hate big pieces. Put the prepped spinach in bowls and top with a few pecans. Pour warm dressing over the salad. I also dressed the spinach with just a turn of olive oil.

This is enough for 3 small salads or two large ones.

Angela’s Cabbage Rolls

Originally published at Misangela.com. Please leave any comments there.

This is my spin on the traditional cabbage roll. I suppose it’s more Mediterranean since I added lamb, but this is generally a standard recipe. I did not get pix for this one, sorry! They look like any other cabbage roll! These are low calorie and very tasty. We had just one roll and potatoes for dinner and were satisfied for around 300 calories.

Lamb and Beef Cabbage Rolls

WRAP:
8 leaves of savoy (or regular) cabbage, blanched
FILLING:
1/2 lb ground beef, 90/10
1/2 lb ground lamb
olive oil
1 shallot, diced
1/4 red onion, diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp fresh thyme, minced
1 tsp fresh rosemary, minced
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp each salt & pepper
1 tsp red pepper flakes
1 Tbl Sherry vinegar (or red wine vinegar)
1 egg
SAUCE:
1 small can tomato sauce
1 14.5oz can of diced tomatoes (I like fire roasted)
1 Tbl Sherry vinegar (or red wine vinegar)
1 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp pepper
1 Tbl brown sugar
1/4 cup beef or chicken stock

Preheat oven to 375F. Put a 4qt pot of water on to boil with 2 tsp salt.

Put some olive oil in a skillet and sweat the shallot, onion and garlic over med low until translucent, about 5 mins. Set aside in a bowl. In the same pan, put tomato sauce and tomatoes with sherry vinegar, paprika, pepper, red pepper flakes, brown sugar and 1 Tbl of aromatics over low heat.

Pull off 8 leaves of cabbage and remove the thick part of the stem. When water boils, turn to simmer and toss in the leaves for about 1-2 minutes, until they become very green and translucent. Pour into colander and rinse with cold water. Hold.

Mix together meats, herbs, spices, vinegar and egg. Add cooled aromatics. Mix until combined, but don’t overmix or the meat will be dense.

Spray 9×12 baking dish with nonstick spray. Put about 1/2 of the sauce on the bottom of the baking dish. Add stock to remaining sauce in skillet and turn off heat.

Roll each cabbage leaf with about 1/4 cup meat mixture. Start at the stem end and roll like a burrito, folding sides in. Place in baking dish, seam side down. Don’t overfill these or they’ll pop. You should have just enough filling for 8 rolls.

Pour remaining sauce over rolls. Cover tightly with foil and bake for an hour.

I served this with roasted baby potatoes. Cut potatoes to bite size, toss in olive oil, season with steak seasoning, roast at 425F for about 15 minutes. The potatoes are about 120 cals per cup with 3gr fat and 15gr carbs. Approximately.

According to Livestrong, the nutrition for 1 roll + sauce is:
Cals: 174
Fat: 9gr
Carbs: 9gr

Another Amazing Lamb and Barley Stew

Originally published at Misangela.com. Please leave any comments there.

This recipe is different from the previous lamb and barley stew recipe in that it has tomatoes and I used part of a boneless leg of lamb rather than chops. I think this is even BETTER than the first recipe, which is why it’s called Awesome! :)

Awesome Lamb and Barley Stew

Awesome Lamb and Barley Stew


Awesome Lamb and Barley Stew

~2 pounds lamb roast (leg or shoulder), cleaned of all visible fat and cut into 1-2″ dice
3/4 cup flour for dredging
2 tsp dry mustard
S/P: 1 tsp each
EVOO
1/2 cup red wine
2 Tbl butter
2 med onions, 1″ dice
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 Tbl tomato paste
Bouquet garni: 5 thyme stems, 2 4″ rosemary stems, 3 bay leaves tied with butcher twine
2 carrots, small dice
2 stalks celery, small dice
1 14 oz can diced tomatoes with juice
1 cup beef broth
2 cups chicken broth
3/4 cup barley
1/4 cup chopped parsley
2 Tbl red wine vinegar
1 Tbl sherry or champagne vinegar

Heat a large dutch oven over med hi. Cover bottom with EVOO. Mix together flour, mustard and S/P in a bowl and dredge lamb chunks in it before browning in oil. Do this in batches so the lamb browns. When done, put in a bowl to stand by. Add oil as needed when browning lamb, then swab out excess oil when lamb is done. Pour in red wine to deglaze pan and get all that cooked flour off the bottom. Use a wooden spatula to scrape ALL the bits from the bottom of the pan. When pot is cleaned, pour the wine over the lamb that’s standing by.

Put butter in the pot and turn down heat to med. Add onions and cook for 5 mins. Add garlic and tomato paste and cook for 3-4 minutes – or until the onions and garlic are soft. Pour the lamb and wine mixture in and stir. Add the bouquet garni, carrots, celery and tomatoes. Bring to a simmer and simmer for about 5 minutes. Your stew should be VERY thick at this point.

Add in the beef and chicken broth, stir and bring back to a light simmer. Cover the pot and keep at a slow simmer for one hour, stirring occasionally. At the one hour point, add in the barley, cover and simmer another 30-40 minutes, until barley is softened. (You shouldn’t have a lot of fat in this stew. If your lamb was fatty, you may need to skim off the fat before you add in the barley. If you trimmed the lamb thoroughly, this is a low fat stew.)

After barley has cooked, add parsley and the vinegars. Check your salt level again.

Serve with crusty bread.

Yield: about 2.5 quarts. This stew freezes beautifully.

Missy Kat Health Update 2

Originally published at Misangela.com. Please leave any comments there.

We went to see the vet yesterday and get a once over and bloodwork. Missy has lost some of the weight she gained, sadly. She is at 6.2# down from 6.8#. But she is still looking a lot better than when we started the Total Cat diet.

As I was expecting, Missy’s BUN (Blood Urea Nitrogen) was a bit elevated from the higher protein diet. At the start it was 35 and now it’s up to 43. (Normal range is 14-36mg/dL) Although I was expecting this, now I need to do something to try and bring it down. My plan is to add some egg whites to her food to see if that helps keep protein high and make it easier on her kidneys. I already serve the food wet and add low sodium broth to it, to encourage her to get more fluids, which is helping with dehydration.

Her constipation has gone away with this diet, which I’m very happy about. She’s becoming a bit more incontinent (she has some wee pee when she sleeps), but hey, it happens to all of us old ladies. Vet did a quick ultrasound to check her bladder and all is well. It’s just old age making her leaky. I can relate. ;)

Other than that, the vet was impressed with her fur being very silky. Missy has always had soft bunny fur, but it is very shiny and silkier now with the homemade diet. The vet is pleased with her overall health at the age of 15+. :)

Overall, a good visit and I’m pleased with the homemade food. I give her the goldenseal supplement to help her kidneys and I am going to start adding Omega-3s to the mix as well. I also add a digestive aid just for good measure and that might be helping with the constipation. I am considering a phosphate binder for the high BUN, but I’d like to try the egg whites first.

She eats about 4 oz of food per day, which is right in the middle of what she should be eating. I’d like her to eat more, but she just eats when she’s hungry. Animals are pretty good at self regulation. She does have a Hobbit schedule of about 7 feedings a day. I’ll continue these updates over the course of 2016.

First installation here.
Second installation here.

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Virgin Mobile USA Support Tips

Originally published at Misangela.com. Please leave any comments there.

In light of the truly sucktastic service we’ve gotten from Virgin Mobile USA this week, I felt I should write a post in the hopes that it might help others who use VMU but can’t get things to work. Most of this post has to do with iPhones in particular, since that is what we have experience with, but I’m sure a lot of it will help with any device you have using the Virgin (which is under Sprint) service. This post is about USA service only. BTW, Sprint is dying and it will take VM with it. I wouldn’t advise spending a lot of dough on a phone with either of them. It’s a shame, we’ve used VMU for over a decade. I’ll miss them, shitty customer service and all. :(

Basic Virgin Mobile FAQ:

– Virgin Mobile shares bandwidth on the Sprint network in the US. This used to be a good thing, now, not so much. Sprint is dying. America is the land of the oligopoly and eventually there’ll be just AT&T for phone and satellite TV, but for now there is Verizon (CDMA network) and AT&T (GSM network). VM uses the CDMA network. That means the phone must be CDMA. You cannot use a CDMA phone on a GSM network or vice versa. Here is an article about bringing a phone to Verizon, FYI.

– NO, VMU will NOT be getting the iPhone 5 series back in stock. Every VSU employee will tell you “Yes! It’ll be any day now!”, which is a lie. The front page of their site is a lie. I asked them over a year ago when they’d be getting the iPhone 5 in stock and they said “Soon!!” The fact is that VMU bought their iPhone stock and then it sold out. IPhone 5 series is not being manufactured any more, so their inventory is finite. You must buy a 5 series (or 4 series) off of eBay. Which is generally not a problem, just make sure it’s a VMU phone with a clean ESN. If it’s a 5 series, you’ll need to also buy a new card for it (it is a UICC card, which is just a newer generation SIM card).

– YES, a used iPhone 5 and up WILL require a new UICC card. Do not listen to the VMU employees that tell you otherwise. NO you do NOT need a card for a 4 series phone. Actually these require NO CARD in the slot.

– VMU has really horrible support. Which is probably why you’re here. It will not get better, so it’s something you must make peace with. Hopefully something in here will help you.

– Don’t even bother with trying to use the website to swap phones. Just suck it up and call.

– The Twitter people (@VMUcare) suck just as much as the phone people. Don’t bother.

– If you have a “support” person who clearly does not understand what you are calling about, just say goodbye and call back. You may have to do this many times. Be prepared to spend a LOT of time on the phone. You simply have to persevere and keep cycling through support people until you find one that has a clue. No way around it.

There is a glitch in the VMU system that will render your iPhone 4 series unable to send/receive calls when you update the OS. Virgin support is apparently unaware of this and cannot help you. But I can. Simply call ##873283# and your phone service will be restored. I am not sure if this applies to 5 series (or 6 series) iPhones. I’ll update this when Nick updates his 5c.

How to buy a new iPhone and get it activated with VMU:

– Go go eBay and look for phones specifically labeled Virgin Mobile. Make sure they have a clean ESN – which means they are not stolen and/or bricked.

– If you are buying a 4 series iPhone, you’ll need to REMOVE the SIM/UICC card that might still be in it. My phone had been used with TMobile, apparently, there was a card in the slot. I know this because when I called to activate the phone, it kept giving me an “incompatible SIM card” error. Of course the “support” person in Philippines did not know what this meant. I am a nerd, so I knew to pop out the card, but the “support” dude kept telling me I had to take the phone to Apple. Yeah, NO. 4 series iPhones do NOT need any card in the slot to work with VMU. Ignore whatever else you’re told, just pop out the old card and then call VMU to activate. You can google how to remove a SIM card, it’s a snap.

– If you are buying a 5 series phone, you’ll need to buy a NEW SIM/UICC card for it. They sell those on eBay, too. Once you get your new phone and the card, this is where the fun begins. And by fun, I mean soul sucking hell. :( You’ll have to call VMU to get the phone and its card activated. The problem is that most of the “support” people don’t know how to do this. They will attempt to activate the phone w/out activating the card, which, of course will not work. It took my husband FOUR DAYS to find a support person who could understand this issue and activate the UICC. Once the card was paired with the phone’s id#, all was well. Getting there was a chore, for sure.

Those are the biggest issues with iPhones and VMU. They won’t get any better. My advice is to go with another provider if you’re just setting up cell phone service. As I said at the top, Sprint is dying and with it, Virgin Mobile USA. We assume another provider will buy up the bandwidth and service (Verizon most likely) but the heyday of good VMU service is gone.

Do not get into a contract with any provider. Just buy the phone that will work with one of the two networks and then shop providers. Like I mentioned, there are only two networks in the US and AT&T (GSM) is dominant. Their non-contract division is called Cricket. Even tho I detest AT&T, I think Cricket is the best choice for non-contract. If you have a Virgin/Sprint phone and want to switch, your only choice is Verizon – which may or may not take your phone.

Cell phone service is as screwed up as broadband and TV in the US. It won’t get any better. Just try to find the best deal you can and don’t be afraid to change if you’re not happy. I think too many people in the US are afraid to change their providers. In addition, make sure to support efforts to break up and/or regulate our broadband, TV and cell services. The reason American services are so bad is due to the government being paid off by monopolies and oligopolies that collude to keep prices high and service low. You must speak out about this to your US House Reps and Senators. American cell service sucks because we let it suck. Remember: we are a third world country when it comes to broadband/TV/Phone services.

Good luck with your cell phone service! I hope something here may have helped.

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Asian Chicken and Chickpea Stew

Originally published at Misangela.com. Please leave any comments there.

This recipe started off as more of a Moroccan type stew, but somehow ended up with an Asian taste profile – but with chickpeas! It is light, low fat, low carb and very tasty! This is a small recipe that makes about 5 cups. Double if you want plenty to share or freeze.
asianchickpea

Asian Chicken and Chickpea Stew

4 boneless/skinless chicken thighs, cut into 1″ chunks
S/P
EVOO
1 medium onion, diced
1 small or 1/2 large red bell pepper, diced
1 leek, sliced (white and center tender parts only)
1 small pkg of creminis, sliced
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp cumin
.5 tsp dry mustard
.5 tsp ginger
.5 tsp coriander
.5 tsp smoked paprika
2 Tbl soy sauce
1 Tbl fish sauce
2 Tbl mirin
1 Tbl tomato paste
juice of one lemon
1 can chickpeas, drained
2 cups chicken stock
juice of one lime
.25 cup chopped parsley
Cooked Rice for serving

Cut up chicken and season with S/P. Sauté veg in evoo until soft. Add chicken and spices, cook over med hi for about 5 minutes. Add sauces and tom paste; cook for another 5 mins. Add chickpeas and stock, bring to simmer for about 10 minutes. Add juice of lemon and half the parsley and cook another 10-15 minutes at low simmer. Check for seasoning. Serve with lime juice and parsley garnish. Optional but recommended: serve over a quarter cup of rice.

Calorie counts based on 1.25 cup serving with rice (courtesy Livestrong.com)
Calories: 388
Fats: 12 grams
Carbs: 23 grams
Fiber: 2.5 grams
Protein: 24 grams

Hello 2016

Originally published at Misangela.com. Please leave any comments there.

Since I did a “Things You Probably Don’t Know About Me” post last year, I thought I’d do a variation on that theme this year. But this time it’s more of my philosophies than stuff you don’t know. Truths that are actually contrary to how I may seem on the surface. And some new developments. In no particular order:

– I can apparently get tattooed without passing out these days! Hallefuckingluyah! I’ve gotten two tats with no wooziness or passing out. Let’s hope that continues.

– Despite my catty demeanor online, I am actually pretty nice in person. I’ve reined in my snark quite a bit in my old age. I do nice things for people all the time – it just doesn’t get the press that snark does.
missy_ass

– I am still the passive aggressive note writing NINJA OF ALL TIME, however. ;)

– Despite my bitching about my family, I really do wish the best for them. Other than the niece from hell. She can rot.

– Despite my disappointment in our new UK host Zweeko, I like the guy that runs it. He bugs me when he laughs off site outages, but he puts up with my bitching well. A plus.

– I can actually pass up flaying people online (esp Facebook) pretty regularly. It’s still WAY tempting, but it serves no purpose on FB, where the idiocy of all mankind resides and everyone looks for fights. I even passed up the chance to call out someone who was amazed that people on FB would unfriend over small things – when SHE did the EXACT same thing to ME. I did make a comment about it “happening all the time” but she didn’t catch that I was referring to her. THAT MADE MY DAY.

– My struggle with depression continues. Meh.

– My struggle with weight continues. Meh.

– I still love my job and wish I had more clients. (ATTN: restaurants or other small businesses!)

– I’m having a lot of trouble getting back into doing creative, crafty things. It’s the depression, I’m sure.

– I’m wishy washy about taking in Shasti Kat. While I’m happy to have her inside when it’s cold, I just don’t want another damn cat. BAH. Trying to keep her mostly outdoor.

– Lack of blogging is directly related to depression. Sorry about that.

– I just read the Wilson sisters’ Kicking and Dreaming memoir. It was an excellent read.

– One last thing: I’m old. I know lots of shit simply because I’ve been on this planet a long time. I’ve NO patience with Millennials/Hipsters and their bullshit attitude. I’m proud to say that I gave a smackdown to a youngster the other day on FB and managed to do it with just the right amount of Get Off My Lawn. This hipster implied that I simply didn’t get it because I didn’t have “diverse” friends like SHE does. She doesn’t even know me!! I called her out. The child apologized for implying that I was not aware of “diversity” because I’m over 30. It’s shit like this that makes EVERYONE hate a hipster. Authentic MY ASS. How about holier-than-thou asshats? That’s more like it. GET OFF MY LAWN.

Ahem.

Anyway, that’s it for this random list of nothing. It’s an election year, I’m sure I’ll cook up some political posts for y’all as it goes on. :)

Current Supplement Regime

Originally published at Misangela.com. Please leave any comments there.

This is an UPDATE to the first post about supplements here.

I’ve had us on a regular supplement routine for about 3 months now. I’ve got Nick on supplements for his specific needs and I’m on a regime for mine. It has made a difference!

I’ve started buying from Vitacost.com because I find consistently good prices and they have a 100% money back guarantee that I had to use with the first “menopausal” supplement I got from them. It made me have hot flashes almost continuously! I sent an email and they credited me immediately. I didn’t even have to bother with boxing up and sending back the product. (I think there is a law about returning drugs? Not sure.)

Anyway, I got us two large two week pill holders and I dole out the pills every two weeks. You’d be AMAZED at how much it makes a difference. Being able to grab and go is essential. Of course I still grab and forget to actually TAKE, but that’s my old age at work.

I take supplements for inflammation, hot flashes and overall health. I also take things for insomnia. First, my supplement regime:

I have dropped all the tinctures from my regime. They didn’t do much, IMO.
1 Vitacost Multivitamin
1 Vitacost Selenium 300mcg (hot flashes)
2 Vitacost Turmeric 800mg total (inflammation)
1 B complex
1 Evening Primrose OR 1 vitamin E (alternating days)
1 huge calcium and magnesium
I am adding fish oil to my regime in the next round, in lieu of evening primrose.

For insomnia, I take these at bedtime:
1 naproxen (helps with inflammation AND makes me sleepy)
1 OTC sleep aid (doxylamine succinate)
1 or 2 Valerian capsules
1 sublingual GABA, which is a NEW thing and so far it’s working GREAT. I’ve had awesome sleep for several nights in a row. We shall see if it continues to work. I’ve read that it won’t work for some people, but it does for Nick and me.

Nick’s supplements:
1 Vitacost Multi
1 huge Fish Oil capsule (heart, inflammation)
1 lycopene (heart, circulation)
1 ginko biloba (memory)
1 turmeric (inflammation)
1 B complex

And similar insomnia supplements, but he doesn’t like taking an OTC every night.

The key to all this is having pill boxes so you can just grab and gulp. It has made a huge difference in our consistency of taking supplements. :)

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Confessions of a Trek Nerd

Originally published at Misangela.com. Please leave any comments there.

Ok, y’all. I have an confession. Some of you will gasp and clutch your pearls. Don’t judge!

I.
Don’t.
Like.
Star.
Wars.

There, I said it. I saw the original in 77. I was not impressed. I’ve seen all the movies. I am still not impressed. We attempted (and abandoned) watching Star Wars: A New Hope last night. (Watched Star Trek the Motion Picture instead.)

I’m REALLY sorry SW fans, I am. But these movies are badly written, the characters are weak, the dialog insipid (fake accents FTW!), and it’s all FLAT. Another confession:

I.
Cannot.
Stand.
George.
Lucas.

He is a hack and I don’t like ANY of this crap films. He couldn’t write a character or dialog if his life depended on it. He doesn’t even stand by HIS OWN FILMS. He edits and changes them at his whim, for no apparent reason. NOT COOL. I think Lucas is a nutbag, honestly.

All that being said, I absolutely DO think the effects, both cgi and practical, are amazing. I DO acknowledge that if not for Star Wars, I probably would not have my beloved Star Trek movies/franchises.

I am a fairly hardcore Trek nerd. I can identify most of the ships, have watched all the movies and series many, many times and follow the actors to this day on social media. I recognise the various languages – hell I’ve got Vulcan calligraphy (Live Long And Prosper) on my arm!
Photo on 11-30-15 at 3.18 PM
I saw Star Trek The Motion Picture on HBO in probably ’80-’81. From the first viewing, it had me. I was hooked. Yes, the effects were crap and the uniforms were horrid. There was plenty to pick at as far as quality, but still, I was enthralled. What was the thing that got me? It was the scene when they found out that Vger was actually the Voyager probe that had become sentient with all the knowledge of the universe.

This reveal gave me a huge lightbulb: WHAT IF?

What IF the Voyager probe amassed all the knowledge of the universe? What IF it became sentient? What IF it returned to Earth to find its maker? If that doesn’t intrigue you, then I don’t know what would. I watched that film every time it came on HBO. (I also watched Demon Seed every time it was on HBO, but that’s another story! LOL)

Star Wars just doesn’t ask questions that intrigue me. Star Wars is sloppy with story and the characters are forgettable. For instance, the scene where Luke finds Obi Wan and Obi Wan tells Luke that his father was a Jedi and his family had hidden this fact from Luke. Mark Hamill has ZERO reaction. Zero. He doesn’t react nor does he even question this. ?? That is bad character development and horrible script writing. I really don’t care about any of the characters in SW. There are no big questions in SW, other than Did Han Shoot First? or Did Leia Kiss Her Brother? Neither of these can be confirmed because Lucas recut the movie so much. In any case: Who cares? Not I.

Does this mean I’ll not see the new movie? Of course not! Even though I’m not a SW geek, that doesn’t mean that I want to miss out on the biggest nerd event of the season! We won’t be there opening week, but we’ll see it for sure.

I’m just happy to get rid of JJ Abrams and his fucking lens flare. You SW people can HAVE HIM. :)

Being A Girl: Litany of Harassment

Originally published at Misangela.com. Please leave any comments there.

I think all of us women have a litany of harassment by men. I’ve got a long list of small things that fit right into rape culture and the culture of letting men do as they please: catcalls, touching, etc. I’ve nothing new to add to that well known list.

However, I’ve never written about the abuse my father, mother and brother have doled out in my life. I’ve bitched about June (mother) plenty, but I’ve not written about my father’s or brother’s misbehaviour over the years. Why is that? Because we are trained to gloss over the shit that men do and therefore don’t talk about it.

As a child, the harassment was very subtle. When I picked up my Yankee teacher’s accent in first grade, my father berated and shamed me in public for it. When I proved to be very smart and beyond my school grade, I was never moved forward, because that would hurt my brother’s feelings. Can’t have that. My father would brag about how smart I was to anyone who’d listen, but berate me for it constantly at home.

My father was very abusive to me in my teens. While my brother had his girlfriend practically move in DURING HIGH SCHOOL, and bought condoms by the gross, if I so much as took a boy to my room to listen to music, I was a whore. He once came to my boyfriend’s house drunk, brandishing a gun, because he knew we were having sex. I was 18-19 years old and did not need his permission to have sex! Rick threatened to shoot my boyfriend, then he threatened to shoot ME. It was horrifying and although I never talk about it, I damn sure remember it. Clearly.

When I decided to move to Atlanta to go to the Art Institute for a Music Business AA, my father really got an attitude. He berated me for going to school, saying I was being a smart ass. My parents had already kept me from attending University of Tennessee, so my continued attempts to get an education were very alarming to them. I’d always thought it was June who didn’t want to help me with expenses during this time, but my brother let slip that it was actually Rick who didn’t want to help me get through school. Fortunately, my grandmother did most of the helping. After the AA, I immediately enrolled at Georgia State to get a BA. This pissed my father off immensely. He regularly called me a smart ass and accused me of trying to “act smart”. He would also bitch at me if I used more than basic vocabulary; any word with 3 or more syllables was just too much. My mother has always called me stupid because I learned how to use computers and therefore “never use my brain.” These are the very same people who used to tell me I was SO SMART. Right. In my family, you can be smart as long as you never EVER let on that you are. They are militantly ignorant. If they don’t know it, they don’t need to know it. I am the enemy, because I question everything and am a fount of information. That shit is unacceptable to them.

Once, when my mother was in hospital for one of her many bouts of autoimmune disease, my father attacked me. I believe this was soon after I moved to Atlanta, so I’d have been 22 or so. We got into an argument about something mundane, like the dishwasher or something. He lost his shit. He threw me down on the floor and called me every name you can think of: whore, bitch, cunt, etc. I fought back and actually got him off me. This was one of the times I literally saw red (June caused the other). If there had been a gun or knife at hand, I truly believe I would have killed my father. Fortunately for him, there was nothing handy, so I hit back and scratched the shit out of his face. After I got away, I grabbed all my stuff and my cat, threw them in the car and drove to my grandmother’s house. I told her what happened and she was very upset. She called one of my father’s friends to have him call and talk to my father. I was concerned that my brother NOT go home for fear my father would attack him, too. Although now, looking back, that was never an issue. I was attacked because I am a girl and I am to be controlled by any means. I went to my friend Sonya’s house to spend the night and had to tell my mother about it the next day, as she lay in hospital. It was fucked up. I didn’t go back home for almost a year after that.

I’ve mentioned the many times I’ve been berated and abused by my mother. I’ve always written it off to her simply repeating how she had been treated growing up. Which is true, she was marginalised and treated like chattel by her mother. But that gives her no right to do that to me.

I’ve always given my father a pass because he was abused as a child by his father and his crazy mother. My father’s siblings were also abused (quite badly). But that doesn’t give him the right to abuse me.

I have always been told by my parents, “You’re SO SMART!”, but when I used my intelligence, I was berated. All my life I’ve heard “You’re SO smart! You can do anything! But why don’t you get an office job? Why aren’t you married?” They tell me how stupid I am at every opportunity – especially if my opinion differs from theirs. Another fave of my parents is “We are so WORRIED about you!” As if I am too stupid to manage to live my life without some sort of supervision. They were ecstatic when Nick and I got married. Presumably, because I would now have a caretaker and they could stop worrying. Or something.

My brother is also abusive to me. He has been handed everything his whole life, yet somehow, I am to blame for his problems. He calls me a horrible daughter/sister because I won’t move back home to help and tells me I’m too stupid to understand what he goes through. He accuses me of abandoning the family. I did no such thing, I SAVED MYSELF. I tried to save him, but he’d have none of it. So now he sits in that house, never having had a life, taking care of two miserable people who are waiting to die, his ungrateful daughter, her baby and her babydaddy. He takes every opportunity he can to try to pass the blame for his miserable life to me. He made his choices, I made mine.

The lesson I’ve learned is that no matter what happened to these people, that does NOT give them the right to pass that abuse on to me.

So, I’ve disconnected from them. They think I’m a horrible person. Whatever. I did what I had to do to preserve my sanity. I’ve no regrets.

That’s my litany; parts of it, anyway. The article that led to this post is called “Being A Girl: A Brief Personal History of Violence” by Anne Theriault.

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