Boss Up with Bevin Your dream life is at the end of your comfort zone

2015-07-08

How Getting Neutral About Food Helped Dara Drop Sugar

When I posted my thoughts about being a good ally to fat folks by getting neutral about food, Dara and I have had a lot of conversations about it, including a pretty startling revelation that I wasn’t aware of. It turns out that Dara, working to get neutral about her food self-talk in order to be a better ally to me as a fat person, was able to transition to a low-sugar anti-cancer lifestyle a lot easier with food neutrality than if she had kept up agonizing about food being “bad” or “good.” Her words on this are below.

bevindarapridePhoto by Tinker Coalescing.

What Dara says is in alignment with what Health Coach Isabel Foxen Duke says about the diet-binge cycle. Hating your body creates the desire to emotionally eat which is a feedback loop that causes more body hatred. When you get neutral about your food it helps you detach from emotional eating as well.

Some background of Dara’s choice to go for a low-sugar anti-cancer diet. We believe pretty strongly that her breast cancer was the result of high stress. Prior to doing the Anti-Candida Murder plan I read the book The Candida Cure, which talks about how when your body is stressed out, your blood sugar spikes–just as though you ate a donut. Lots of studies show lots of things about preventing cancer reoccurrence but for sure creating a less stressful lifestyle comes up a lot. Lots of studies talk about how cancer feeds off sugar. So, we believe stress becomes sugar and sugar feeds cancer. (Dara did a video blog about this theory when she announced she was stepping back from the global initiative she started and self-funded.)

The eating plan she follows is based on Kris Carr’s Crazy Sexy Cancer diet, if you’re interested in reading more. Lots of green veggies, plant-based whole foods, a little bit of meat (that’s not in the Kris Carr plan, but you do what you do), whole grains, yadda yadda yadda.

Anyway, here are Dara’s words about getting to food neutrality.

IMG957531Dara doing paddleboard yoga during our trip to Key West.

When Bevin first asked me to stop talking outloud about my uphill battle with cutting sugar from my diet (a step that research suggests prevents cancer recurrence), I had mixed reactions. I mean, cancer is a whole different thing than body positivity, right? Surely, the same rules of food neutrality don’t apply to me?

Because I love my partner deeply, and so respect the work she does in the world to help everyone love and value their bodies, I decided to give it a try. (I mean, I could always use the Cancer Card to say, “Baby, this just isn’t working for me” and know I would get a free pass.) Instead, I decided to give it a shot… and in doing so, I had a surprising and powerful realization: IT ACTUALLY GOT EASIER TO SAY NO TO SUGAR!

I don’t know how it happened to be honest, but I think it got easier to say no to sweets because instead of badgering myself (outloud often) about whether or not I should eat something, and what it would mean about me, and my lack of discipline, or my willingness to commit to staying alive… instead of having this agonizing back and forth, I instead just said a simple ‘no thank you.’ And that was that.

What would normally take up at least 10 minutes of space in my brain, and cause unknown quantities of anxiety and self-flagellation pretty much just went POOF! Gone. Buh-Bye!

It made me realize just how much my anxiety about what I was eating was wrapped up in my head. How much of a victim I was to my own insecurities and doubts. Making the decision to be neutral about food put me back in control, and enabled my rational brain to take the lead, while my negative internal chatter was forced to sit quietly in the back of the room.

Now, I’m not saying it’s easy to turn down cookie-cake or a jelly-filled donut when offered – and I’m not even saying that I do turn it down all the time. But I will say that it no longer consumes my thinking like it once did. And I no longer feel guilt or shame about my decisions. I feel stronger, more in control… and (as a result of the fact that I now eat less sugar) can say that I have a better chance of living the rest of my life cancer-free.

IMG_7020At the Dyke March in 2014, just about a month after her last chemo treatment.

I am grateful to Bevin for helping me better understand the idea of body currency and food neutrality. As a fat ally, I have for sure sought to prioritize ways of being that enable all bodies to been loved exactly as they are. But this side benefit of being able to apply the concepts to my own health, to be able to live a longer, happier life? That one I didn’t see coming.

It’s true what Dara said, if she needed to keep externally processing about food to support her anti-cancer goals we would have come up with another solution, another way to talk about food that isn’t laden with shame and guilt. We work together to mutually support our goals. I’m really grateful that I had a way in which I needed her to work as a thin ally to me and it ended up enhancing her goals!

You can read more about Dara’s cancer journey on her cancer Tumblr page as well as read my posts about going through chemo and her diagnosis process.

2015-06-25

Be a Great Ally to Fat Folks by Getting Neutral about Food

Nothing bums me out faster when I’m about to eat some food than someone commenting about food. Like this, “Oh I’m being SO BAD! I NEVER eat cupcakes!” Or “I really SHOULDN’T EAT THIS!” Or “I wish I could eat THAT but it would make me SO FAT!” Or “You’re lucky you can eat whatever you WANT I will blow up like a BALOON!!!”

If you want to watch a hilarious send up of this phenomenon check out this Amy Schumer skit. Where everything they eat is the bad thing, not killing a gerbil for fun.

551535_10153123306043749_7782605515862982091_nFood can be so confusing! Who knows what is a “good” food or a “bad” food–the media is always changing their mind!

Listen, I get it. We live in a fatphobic society where all bodies are vilified. Either you’re fat or you COULD get fat. Living in fear of being fat in a fatphobic society brings out the worst in people. Food is super threatening and triggering of all of those perpetuated fears. We have this contradictory culture in America where we hate on fat bodies yet have all this food that is normalized in the American diet that actually can cause weight gain. Where commercials on TV cycle between McDonalds and Coca-Cola and Weight Watchers and Jenny Craig. What a mind fuck.

Words are SO powerful. When you speak something again and again to yourself or out loud, you are creating truth. I learned early on in my journey to love myself that language was one of the first things to change in order to shift your consciousness. When people shit talk food and bodies, it erodes self-confidence, body love and food enjoyment.

I think the best thing we can do, as fat folks and folks working in solidarity with us, is to refuse to participate in the system of body currency perpetuated by society. A system of body currency, where certain bodies are privileged over other bodies, creates competition, body hatred, feelings of never being enough, endless fear about body change. Body currency doesn’t just affect fat folks, it affects folks with any non-normative body–people of color, older people (we are literally all aging), disabled folks (we are literally all only temporarily able bodied), trans* folks, etc… I learned about body currency from the brilliant Jes Baker of The Militant Baker. Her analysis of why people hate Tess (Munster) Holliday and other fat happy people is totally spot on.

551438_10153458325913223_472698898048493744_nCelebrating a wedding with fancy friends with all different genders and bodies! Photo by Emily Huber of Seeing Through the Hands massage, a favorite body positive massage therapist here in Brooklyn.

Checking out of a system of body currency means assigning no hierarchical value to your body and no hierarchical value to other bodies. It means you love your body AND you leave lots of space for loving all the other kinds of bodies out there.

So you’re sitting around the lunch room at work, out to dinner with friends, at a BBQ at your parents’ house and suddenly everyone is talking about their food being SO BAD, or “I was SO GOOD, I only had three pieces of turkey bacon.” I mean. How alienating. All these people are doing is making food the enemy and turning the top soil of body hatred.

Body hatred for the fat people around them who just sit silently and assume everyone in the room is judging their bodies. Body hatred for the little kids around them are absorbing all of that food shame and body hatred like SPONGES. Body hatred for the people around them who are just trying to enjoy their burgers and don’t want to think about anything but their food enjoyment.

So what do you do when you’re surrounded by the I’M SO BADs of the world?

10277472_10153405563288749_6914403281423525504_nMe and one of my favorite fat folks with whom to enjoy food, Devon Devine of the SF party Hard French.

When I’m in situations like that with people judging food I have a variety of responses. I’m secure in my body and have a deep analysis of the fatphobia in our culture so I’m fairly resilient to the commentary. I’m also a fat person whose reputation and activism often precedes her so I feel confident piping up with something educational in the moment.

Here are some scripts that I employ:

“Hey, I try to be neutral about food because I think all bodies are good bodies.”

“Hey I’m worried about commenting about the value of food and body insecurity in front of these little ears nearby. I’d love to help them love bodies of all sizes so they don’t end up with food or body issues.”

“Cultivating a culture of food enjoyment is really important to me. I would love to enjoy this delicious food instead of assigning value to it!”

1798876_10153291498942464_5151942065411462089_nJack Dawson wearing a gorgeous outfit. I freaking love the pop of color on the sunglasses and the tie pattern over the shirt and the pocket square. Killing it.

My friend Jack Dawson sent a dispatch from their fatphobic corporate office life that I LOVE. “My female coworkers regularly express their appreciation for me because ‘Jack is SO nice, Jack never judges what I eat, even when I’m sooo unhealthy!’ Pretty much every day at lunch time I find myself saying some version of ‘I actually think that everyone is the boss of their own body and I support people in making whatever choices they want with their bodies, so it’s great that you’re eating what feels good for you today!’ In response to some kind of ‘Don’t judge me!’ or ‘I’m so bad!’ comment from coworkers.”

Being an ally to fat folks is especially important when you are a person of thin privilege. People get especially fatphobic around folks who they don’t perceive as marginalized in that way. My bestie Rachael calls it being a secret agent on behalf of fat folks, so when people hear you speaking truth to the all bodies are worthy of love exactly as they are party line, they are taken by surprise and also sinks in a little better.

10421425_10102336927006350_7030431944225492207_nThis photo was of the time I introduced my friend Leo to Jack Dawson, who we started calling “New Leo” because they both resemble a young Leonardo DiCaprio and also Leo moved away. Photo by my health coach Vic.

If you want to go a little deeper than these scripts, try to create a lifestyle where you are actually neutral about food! I find this a wonderful daily challenge as a person who is fat and proud, who knows what kinds of food I am sensitive to and the effect they have on my body. (I have a chronic digestive disease that is wildly affected by the food I eat.) In my internal monologue, I could say, “I’m being so bad I’m eating this gluteny piece of wedding cake!” But instead I just think to myself, “I am making a choice about participating in the food-centered nature of this celebration and I accept the physical consequences that will surely develop tomorrow. I’ll take a probiotic about it and I will make different choices tomorrow.” Sometimes replacing an internal monologue with something very long that actually explains your feelings and what is happening in a neutral way is really effective in changing the way you think.

I work with my partner on this all the time, too. She is on a super low sugar anti-cancer diet after her experience with breast cancer. (We intend her to be “one and done” with cancer, so we’re employing lots of holistic ways in which we can keep her cancer free.) I cook 90% of her food so I work hard to make sure she eats in alignment with her body and her spiritual guidance around her body.

Dara is an external processor so listening to her process externally about her food choices gives me the opportunity to support her with reframing her language to be food neutral. It’s also helpful, too, that as a Body Liberation coach I can coach her into how she talks about food so it isn’t loaded with shame when she wants to have some sugar or whatever. Life is for living and life is for pleasure–everything in balance.

It’s important to me, as a fat person who is dating a person with thin privilege, that she knows her privilege and works with me 100% of the time on team Stepping out of Body Currency. (Which she does, Dara is amazing.) I’ve dated fat and thin people who were not 100% body positive and it was really shitty. It’s not about her eating sugar or not, I don’t care if she does, it’s just about how you use language to express your feelings about food and whether that language is perpetuating body currency.

10996651_10153116129793749_5950987657574205891_nI love Dara a lot, she is super supportive and open to new ways of speaking and being in the world. I feel so grateful to have such a wonderful partner in adventure.

In the words of Nicki Minaj “Life is a journey, I just want to enjoy the ride.” I can’t enjoy my food around folks who are shit talking food. So I do my best to create environments where food enjoyment is valued and food is value-neutral. I invite you to join me, life is much more fun this way!!

2014-11-20

Post Chemo California Road Trip Part One: San Francisco, Santa Cruz, the East Bay and I-5

Our post-chemo trip was postponed a few months, but we made up for it in October during an epic ten day Southern and Northern California road trip exploring new places and visiting familiar stomping grounds for this California native. I chronicle the trip in these blog posts. Check out the post chemo road trip tag for all of the posts!

When Dara was ending chemo we were supposed to celebrate with a family vacation to Southern California in June. It happened that her family was going to be staying in the same Southern California town that my family immigrated to from Canada in 1962 (how random/fated that they picked Oxnard for their trip, though technically my family is in Camarillo, too) and we were going to maybe get them to meet. We had enough airline miles to make the trip free. All the plans were set and we were traveling just as soon as we possibly could after Dara’s last chemo treatment.

Except that post-chemo trip got canceled because Dara’s father passed away very suddenly and we went to Las Vegas instead. The miles tickets were able to be postponed, but we couldn’t change the destination. We had a trip via LAX to take within the next year, and decided that in the Fall we would finally take that post-chemo trip, only by now Dara would have hair and we wouldn’t need to obsessively clean the airplane seats and tray tables with antibacterial wipes. (Chemo would make her immune-compromised for at least a month following her last infusion.)

14806615819_1c38c0932b_oSo many pro con lists were incorporated in figuring out exactly how to plan this epic journey.

When we conceived the new incarnation of this trip we decided that Dara would buy a cheap ticket to Las Vegas a couple of days before I left in order to get her dad’s car so we could save on a rental car. Mercury was retrograde, so our trip was really difficult to pin down. We adjusted dates of where we were going to be a few different times as curve balls came at us and hoped we didn’t annoy our friends too much with furtive texts like, “Oh shit, our cabin trip got changed to Big Bear so now we’re moving things forward two days.” Camping became cabin, destinations were shifted, etc…

The thing about being from California and knowing lots of people from my adult life in California, is that anytime I am there I can see about 2% of the amount of people I want to see. And if I’m there for a holiday, which I usually am, it’s even more difficult to see friends since they tend to be out of town or busy. I try to trust my gut about who is on my mind and hope everyone understands.

Dara had a few work meetings (she’s a consultant in education research, action planning and grant writing) we had to schedule around, and I wanted to make sure we squeezed in as much adventure and relaxation as possible. We’re never going to have a post-chemo road trip again and I wanted it to be fun and meaningful.

15796314336_2223a44853_zDara in her work meeting outfit during our drive up I-5. She’s so cute dressed up for work!

Our first stop after my 11PM arrival to LAX was to Lebec, CA—we were driving up to San Francisco for Dara to have a work meeting early the next evening so we needed to get out of the way of LA traffic. We stayed in a kind of crappy Motel 6 with weird tasting water and had a Denny’s kind of breakfast. A true road trip meal.

I deeply wanted to stop at Harris Ranch for steak but there wasn’t time. I love that place and recall fondly many trips with my mom driving down I-5 to visit my Southern CA family and stopping at Harris Ranch for her to get steak and eggs. (I never liked steak until my late twenties.)

15200027324_724da6cec1_zSidewalk colors in San Francisco.

This time around Dara and I also postponed a trip to the Madonna Inn, which I used to stare at longingly when mom and I would take the 101. I didn’t even know what that gorgeous, huge, white building was on the inside until I was an adult. Staying at one of Madonna Inn‘s gorgeous theme rooms is on my bucket list and I was really sad when timing meant we had to drop it from the itinerary.

Making very swift trips from Southern to Northern CA was a trade-off for how much fun we had in both places. We drove through the East Bay from I-5. We were in a rush, but since Dara got confused by my mention of my home town, Castro Valley, and the neighborhood we were staying in San Francisco, The Castro, I decided she needed to have a trip down the main drag. I’ll save the distinctions for another blog post, but trust me. Castro Valley is not The Castro.

20141015_170248I made this bouquet at a place in the Richmond district of SF called Intention Flowers, which is just woo enough to be perfect. I love arranging flowers.

We were in San Francisco for a day and a half and hit up some of my favorite haunts and explored a few new spots.

While Dara was at her work meeting, I went to Burma Superstar with my friend Sophie Spinelle of Shameless Photography. Shamless just turned five years old! My shoot was one of her first. I adore her and really appreciate friendships where not seeing one another for months or years you still pick back up where you left off.

15371294390_1487444fb6_oI saw Sophie’s adorable apartment and she has a real working land line! So retro!

Burma Superstar has incredible food. Their Tea Leaf Salad is so savory and delicious–it won an award in Sunset Magazine which says a lot. I also had the Basil Chili Pork Belly at the recommendation of the super helpful waiter. FYI they will absolutely lie to you about the wait, though. When they said 20 minutes they should have said an hour or more. But the extra time with Sophie was so wonderful.

The next morning I headed out solo to meet up with my friend Megan Beene at Tartine, my favorite bakery in the whole world. Their croissants are magnificent and totally worth the stomach ache for this gluten intolerant fat femme. Megan got stuck in Bay Bridge traffic so we had fifteen minutes to catch-up before work but the hug was worth it! The Tartine line is always out the door because it is no secret to tourists.

15837592472_49d3c4c004_zWith Jess and California gas prices in The Castro.

I met back up with Jess and Dara (we were staying with Jess and Claire in the Mistro, the area above Dolores Park that is both the Mission and Castro) and we went exploring. I fell so in love with Best in Show a newish pet store with a very well curated selection of dog outfits and accessories. Macy would love this owl sweater.

20141016_223822I also fell in love with Wilbur Milli, their adorable rescue pup who is blind and bumps into a lot of things with his nose. This could also be the trip called other people’s puppies as we hung out with lots of dogs everywhere we went.

Jess introduced us to her favorite store, Local Take. What a treasure trove! Another well-curated store of local artists’ wares, from home goods to clothing. Dara bought a wooden tie that has received much acclaim. I checked in on Yelp and scored us a free stainless steel water bottle which we take everywhere now.

15796337576_f0fbe8b5a6_zDara’s wooden tie!

15634592188_e01d373689_zWe made it a game to take the cutest/cheesiest couple photos during our whole trip. I loved this one in the dressing room at Local Take.

We had lunch at Orphan Andy’s, a charming super gay diner where I tried a pork belly omelette. It was pretty good pork belly, but kind of a weird flavor combination within the omelette.

That afternoon Dara and I took off solo to Twin Peaks to catch the view. I love it up there. Another place that is tourist-central for a reason. So many good photo opportunities.

15820017925_376b5facc3_zStandard Twin Peaks stunning view.

15200576703_e9e5aa5207_zStandard Twin Peaks “I can hold Market Street with my hand” photo.

15634609388_7c9e79de15_zI wanted to sit in the dirt on the cliff to look at the view for a bit. Even a few steps away from the tour busses was more peaceful.

We stopped at Bi-Rite Creamery for ice cream and since it was a cold cold day in San Francisco it was deserted and we got to try many of their flavors without the pressure of the typical line behind us.

That night I stayed in to play Settlers of Catan with Jess and Claire while Dara had another work meeting.

15812384366_1565142e34_zCute Castro Kiss.

We hit the road pretty early the next day to have lunch with my mom and see her classroom (she is a high school teacher and changed schools within the last couple of years) on the way to another of Dara’s work connections in Santa Cruz. Mom took us to the best Mexican place ever, La Piñata in Hayward near the San Lorenzo border. If you’re ever in the East Bay I highly recommend it.

I basically never eat Mexican on the East Coast because the food at La Piñata is what I think of when I think of Mexican and nothing holds a candle to the delicious soupy refried beans covered in cheese and perfect enchiladas I remember from my youth. If any ex-Californians have restaurants they recommend in NYC for Mexican, let me know.

15635185790_3e1e34b821_zOne of our cute couple photo attempts from Twin Peaks.

Dara was meeting my mom for the first time, which meant I picked her outfit. I needn’t have feared, though, since Mom and Dara basically talked education policy the whole time and got along famously.

In Santa Cruz, Dara had an afternoon meeting with a former work colleague and I was going to meet up with a friend of mine at the beach. We could have taken 280 but I am definitely a backroads kind of girl and knew I had to defy google’s directions to sit in traffic on a boring suburban freeway and head through the mountains and to the Pacific Coast Highway. Basically, when in doubt, I take the scenic route and it makes life infinitely better.

15804445536_4986450a6f_zThis is way cuter on the side of the highway than a cement wall and strip malls.

15829649952_3ecedee57b_zTaking a five minute let’s look at the view on the side of the road break.

I met up with Jen Hollywood at Rio Del Mar State Beach. We spent forever trying to find each other because we each went to different spots but it was a wonderful hour long catch-up. We even saw a seal pop its head out of the water! California magic!

20141017_162917Jen Hollywood and dogs!

15642269619_1e17757198_zI did not catch the seal head but that’s where it was, right in the water under the pier! If I lived in Aptos I’d drive the 5 minutes to the beach every day for the sunset.

That evening we stayed with Dara’s lovely former boss and her husband and had an amazing conversation. Their house is gorgeous and basically straight out of a renovation photo from Sunset Magazine, my favorite CA travel and lifestyle magazine. As someone who aspires to be a late in life minimalist, I had to resist the urge to take a ton of photos to put in my vision book. (I try not to scare people I’ve just met by introducing them to my tendency to relentlessly document everything.) Imagine having enough kitchen cabinets that everything goes away and you just have acres of counter space? I am a total city dweller that dreams of pantry space and walk-in closets. Also there is a backyard writer’s house. Dream home!

When I was a teenager I had a couple of friends who lived in Santa Cruz and I have always adored staying there… this just made me even more set on coming back. The forest and the ocean meet-up in this beautiful, peaceful, hippie, woo, place full of birds, hybrid cars and great coffee.

I’ll continue our journey in another blog post about our post-cancer cabin trip to Big Bear!

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2012-08-23

Re-Entry Nacho Bites

Oh gentle readers. As you know I was away in the woods for two weeks, on an epic road trip to Michigan and back, then I threw Rebel Cupcake (joyfully joined by so many of my friends en route home from Michigan and en route to Baltimore), then I hopped a bus to Baltimore to join the Femme Conference already in progress. I have been on a queer magical utopia high for three weeks and I am having to make adjustments in order to come down from it and get back into my pretty magical day-to-day life.

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At the Femme Conference being unintentionally matchy-matchy with Emma because they picked my outfit that morning.

“Re-entry” as it is called in our circle, “decompression” as it is called in other circles, is really rough. Returning to the “default world” is hard. I used to be the kind of summer camp attendee who cried on the bus coming home (I no longer cry on the way home). I’m a comfortable Earth sign, change can be hard. So I usually build some time into my life for re-entry that usually involves a lot of downtime, watching a series on dvd or something and a shame spiral about cleaning and unpacking. I never know what it is going to take. I also work from home which means I am working to catch-up on being away but also doing the downtime/shame spiral. I’m a mess.

This year I decided to get really decadent when I had a lot of Feelings I didn’t know what to do with and make myself Nacho Bites from scratch. I love tiny food a lot, enjoy a small plates lifestyle even though it’s totally impractical as a bachelorette. Anyone in my immediate circle has heard me proselytizing about Nacho Bites this summer. It’s made by Hot Pockets and is an appetizer in the grocery freezer section and I think has queso, ground beef and salsa. I have been meaning to make them myself with ingredients I liked more that felt less processed and I decided to get into it yesterday.

It took over two hours to prep and then more time to clean-up but I thought it was totally worth it. I usually turn on some kind of inspirational noise (like a talk, sermon or interview) and it’s very meditative. I also felt really grounded and in my space afterward, having felt so odd and not quite at home at home until then.

So, here’s how I cobbled together my Nacho Bites and I am interested to know if folks have better/different/faster dumpling assembly methods than my sort of figure it out on the fly methods. I always love when my favorite bloggers share recipes so here goes.

Ingredients:

Tortilla Dough
(I followed this recipe)
3 cups unbleached flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
4-6 Tbsp. vegetable shortening or lard
about 1 1/4 cups warm water

Homemade Queso
(I followed this recipe–I just didn’t feel like doing the Velveeta version though it is infinitely faster)
1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon flour
1/2 small onion, diced
1 Serrano chile, diced
2 jalapeños, diced
2 cloves garlic, diced
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup milk
1(4-ounce) can RO*TEL (or any can of diced tomatoes with green chiles)
3 cups shredded cheese, cheddar and Jack varieties recommended
1/4 cup sour cream

Nacho Bites Innards
1 recipe Tortilla Dough (or 15 tortilla dough rounds)
1 recipe Homemade Queso (or like 1 1/2 cups of your favorite Queso)
2/3 pounds of ground meat prepared with spice OR some kind of taco seasoning
Try: Soy Chorizo from Trader Joe’s (my fav), chorizo the regular kind, ground turkey/beef/chicken (I think the poultry sucks up the taco seasoning well, maybe even some carnitas if you’re getting fancy
1 diced jalepeno
1 diced tomato
(You could easily sub about 1/2 cup of salsa but since my queso was very involved I skipped the queso)
1/3 bunch diced fresh cilantro
(I suppose cilantro averse could forego it but I am very very very pro cilantro)
Small handful of scallions if your CSA is overabundant with them like mine is.

Prepare the tortilla dough and pull apart fifteen little globs of it, about an inch and a half each round. Set them out to rise a little.

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Prepare the queso. Take a long time because it takes a long time and be really mindful of the roux. I had to throw in some corn starch toward the end. I also only had buttermilk but whatever. I wish it was a little spicier, so I’ll add more chili next time.

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The queso is so flavorful.

Prepare the meat by cooking it all the way through. Also, if you prepare it with taco seasoning, cook all the water out so there are very little juices left.

Dice up the rest of your ingredients and set aside in little bowls or plates or whatever and prepare to make dumplings!

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At this point pre-heat your oven to 400 degrees and put the cookie sheet in there to pre-heat as well.

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The cilantro is really so beautiful.

I flattened out each ball of tortilla dough and assembled them like little mini tacos, being sure not to overfill. Putting a spoonful of meat, then a generous drizzle of queso, a couple dices of jalepeno and tomato and a little sprinkle of cilantro. Then I bundled them together. Traditional Nacho Bites have a pyramid shape and I tried making that, which was most effective.

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I accidentally overfilled one batch of them so I’ve learned from that.

Then take the heated cookie sheet out of the oven (be careful, obvs) and lightly grease it with a little olive oil misto action or some butter, and transfer your dumpling babies to the cookie sheet. Bake for about 10-15 minutes, until golden brown. Then pull out and let sit a couple of minutes. Enjoy!

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My dumpling assembly skills continue to need work.

2012-02-10

Guest Post: How I Learned to Eat Greens by Blyth

Filed under: Fat Femme Foodie,Guest Post — Tags: , , , , , , , — Bevin @ 11:55 am

One of the benefits of living with a good friend is that sometimes I come home from work and through no effort of my own my pals are hanging around in my kitchen. Wednesday night I had the most amazing experience with Heather, where she popped out a pile of bok choy and we sauteed it up. I have never eaten bok choy (or cooked it) to my knowledge and she taught me how to make it. It was amazing! Great food for wild ponies like us.

The experience of learning how to make the bok choy from one of my close friends reminded me of an amazing piece I had read just that very day. I related to it from a very deep level–raised by a single mom just barely above poverty level and often relying on fast and instant foods for lack of time, and growing up in a fat body. It is so honest, so beautiful and I am so grateful to Blyth for allowing me to share it with you below. I think food justice and healing our relationships with food starts when we are very honest about our her/his/theirstories and come together to discuss them. And when we share our resources and knowledge base to enjoy new and different ways of eating.

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This is the spread made by queer hands for Heather’s birthday party. The drink we called the “Punani Sunrise” which somehow had to do with my tendency to date/sleep with people from California. It is champagne, vodka, grapefruit juice, a squeeze of lime and some mint. Quite refreshing. Those pigs in a blanket were hand rolled by me and cooked in bacon fat.

How I Learned to Eat Greens
by Blyth

Most of my time in my mother’s house was spent eating something quickly over the sink, changing my clothes or maybe sleeping. From age 11 on I made it a point to be in a house with my mother as little as possible. To say I left home would imply that home was something steady. When the truth is that home had always been in transition, so it was not a place I could leave, it was something that traveled with me. Most nights I stayed with a friend or alone at my Grandparents. Andrea’s mother fed me more frequently then my own. Most of the time food was not expected anyway.

When I was in college I went home with my freshman year roommate for a holiday and embarrassed myself by starting to eat the lavish meal her mother prepared for us while I leaned against their kitchen cupboard. She looked at me with confusion, and maybe a little sadness, and said, “Would you like to sit at the table?”. It was the first time I noticed my inclination to eat standing. It ensured that there was little room for feigned intimacy and my ability to walk away was always close at hand.

Nobody taught me to eat. Nobody told me that people should share a table or chew slowly. Not that vegetables could come from somewhere besides a can or that bread could be made fresh. I was 15 when I walked into a friends kitchen and saw a pot of potatoes boiling on the stove. I asked her what she was making and her response shocked me, mashed potatoes. It never occurred to me that mashed potatoes could be made from anything besides pale flakes in a brown box. I remember the surprise registering in every limb of me and the humiliation of not thinking of that sooner.

I grew up working class. We went to pick up our welfare check and food stamps on the first of each month. Food stamps back when they still came in small booklets of play money. Some booklets were worth $10, some $20, some maybe even $50. And each booklet had an assortment of $5 or $1 ‘bills’ inside it. Though really I only remember the $1 bills. The ones that always tore too noisily from the binding at the end of the month when you were searching desolated packets for just 10 measly slips of paper. There was no way to be quiet or quick about it. And you weren’t allowed to rip them out ahead of time because they wanted to make sure you weren’t selling them or giving them away. They had to be torn from the packet in front of the cashier, which also meant in front of everybody else in your small Ohio town.

Shame and eating for a poor fat girl is a layered thing. There was the shame of being hungry, of feeling watched every time I put something to my mouth. And there was also the shame that had to be endured just to get the food in the first place. People make a lot of assumptions about poor folks on welfare. Like we’re all just taking a vacation on the system. Somehow my large body seemed to prove that point. So all of a sudden I was not just deciding on food for my ten year old self, I was also trying to guess at what would please every tax payer around me so that they wouldn’t think I was ungrateful. So I could earn the right to eat at all.

My eating and access to food seemed to always be negated by my weight. Even though I ate much less than anyone I knew and much less frequently. In reality we rarely if ever had the food we needed throughout the month. Most of the times because the food stamps ran out, but some of the times because neither my mother or I could face going to the grocery store to buy any.

When we did have food we ate Hamburger Helper, Tuna Helper if it was a special occasion, shit-on-a-shingle (which is ground beef, salt, and flour over a slice of white bread), pasta with Prego sauce, discount cereal and whatever my Mom happened to bring home from the deli counter she worked at. Vegetables were canned corn or green beans. Every now and then someone would decide that we should eat healthier and frozen broccoli would get thrown into the mix for a while. Of course these meals always changed depending on where we were in the month and whether we could actually buy food at all.

After lots of work/saving/borrowing/ass-kissing, I left for college when I was 17. And when I got there I found I could camouflage my broke roots with politics. All of a sudden I wasn’t poor, I was anti-capitalist. I learned where to dumpster dive for food and got most of my toiletries from the trash at the CVS where I worked. Any extra food I got was from the $1 store or purchased for me by a friend with too many points on their college meal plan. And I didn’t stand out because my friends (who I was shocked to learn weren’t actually broke) were digging for dumpstered donuts right along side me. All of a sudden this was a value system. It was something to be proud of.

In my junior year of college I started dating a woman. It was my first queer relationship and I was so into her I could hardly stand it. She was sexy and nerdy and political. She grew up in Connecticut with parents who were still together, who loved her dearly, and who had taught her the importance of balanced meals. In an effort to woo her I invited her over to my place for dinner. Angel hair pasta from the dollar store, flavored with a dash of vegetable oil and a heavy pour of Adobo seasoning. It was classy. Nothing came from a trash can, it was angel hair pasta instead of regular old spaghetti, and I might have even stolen some of my housemates olive oil to use instead of vegetable. She wasn’t impressed, though she never told me that. She asked me later if I ate like that all the time. I told her no, sometimes it’s not so fancy. I remember that not being the answer she expected. We talked in length about food. Where we got it, what we learned about it, what we liked about it. She told me she wanted to be a farmer and was fascinated by nutrition. And I don’t remember feeling ashamed. Which is really a credit to her and how she framed things.

She was good at slipping things underneath the radar. She once asked if she could make me my lunch, since she was concerned that I didn’t eat frequently enough. I told her she was sweet to worry but I could feed myself. She tried to argue the point but my pride ballooned bigger and bigger. However, over the next few months it happened more and more frequently that her quest to try and cook a new vegetable left her with way too much food. And of course she needed my help eating it cause her fridge was too small for storage and she didn’t want it to go to waste. So I would cross the campus from class and sit down to a lunch of brown rice, sweet potatoes and kale. Had I not been so deeply infatuated with her I probably would have never put any of it in my mouth. As it was, I smothered nearly everything in ketchup until she banned it all together. She told me I could only put it on potato products like french fries or tater tots and she rolled her eyes at me when I pointed out that sweet potatoes were actually in the potato family.

These lunches were her way of feeding me, nourishing me, and side stepping my ego which was wrapped in a desperate need to fend for myself. She taught me how to boil rice and what vinegars tasted good. She introduced me to leafy greens and showed me how to let a vegetables flavor shine through instead of being smashed by seasoning. She sauteed chard, reminded me to drink water and managed to make squash a dessert. She would casually comment about how inexpensive rice and beans were and how kale was only 79cents a bunch. She set a table for us and I ate those meals seated, plates spread out on a small dorm room table. Of course I knew what she was doing, though my pride and perhaps my shock wouldn’t let me say anything at the time. But she was teaching me how to eat. How to receive love. She was showing me what it was like to be cared for. It was overwhelming. And so desperately simple.

Now, years later, I live in San Francisco and find myself among many others who have the privilege of choosing their food. At the moment I’m a lapsed vegan who does her best to avoid the gluten and cheese that wreak havoc on her body. I eat remarkably slowly. It is something friends and lovers comment on, though I hardly notice it. The perfect bite has become a prayer, a gesture of gratitude. It is a reminder to separate shame and sustenance. It is a reminder to appreciate not only the food on my fork but also the space and safety required to enjoy it.

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Blyth is a babe. Read her blog!

2011-09-18

Travel Report: Rehoboth Beach, DE

After the debacle that was our trip to Atlantic City, when Cougar and I decided to skip town for a couple of days for her birthday (9/11, never forget) I suggested we go gay. Fire Island was a possibility but with room rates hovering at $120 and above we thought we could get a better bargain someplace else.

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It occurred to me I’d never been to Rehoboth Beach, Delaware, despite wanting to go for over a decade. When I lived in Philly my fellow queers went often, I think it is similar to the relationship New Yorkers have with Fire Island–daytrippable and hella gay.

So we packed up the car and departed for our near-four hour journey South. It was an easy drive down the turnpike but the tolls were pretty killer–all told we spent $43 round trip. Though of course the journey is sometimes the destination and I like road trips. We had no traffic but I did get pulled over by a cop just outside Rehoboth for touching my phone (to check the GPS, I swear!) but got off with just a warning.* We debated her gayness vis a vis being let off with a warning but I think she was just being nice to us because we were tourists looking for our motel.

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We checked into our motel, the Crosswinds Motel. It was cute, very low amenities (no pool, no king size beds) but nice touches like a Keurig machine in the room instead of crappy hotel coffee maker, an ipod dock alarm clock, earth-friendly toiletries and full basic cable.

Dinner for Cougar’s birthday was diligently researched via Facebook poll and we chose Nage. Super unpretentious but classy bistro with amazing food. They were really accommodating about us sharing dishes and we enjoyed the truffle mac and cheese, filet mignon (prepared perfectly), and a butternut squash risotto that was too sweet for my taste. All told it was a decadent meal and a great value for the money. No sales tax at restaurants!

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We spent our evening walking the boardwalk, though it appears in this sleepy beach town the sidewalks roll-up around ten. We managed to sneak into the classic arcade just before it closed. I got in a game of two of my favorites–Ms. Pacman and Big Buck Hunter.

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Mostly though we stood on the beach looking at the full moon on the water and the sandpipers running after the nibbles left at low tide. I am so into the ocean as a site of reflection and spirituality.

The next day we decided to do some shopping so we walked around the downtown area. There were a lot of cute beach stores, a great skate and surf shop, and it was such an unexpectedly beautiful day we ended up going out on the beach and laying out. One of those moments where the surf was so enticing Cougar lept into the water in her clothes (forgetting sunscreen, though I am hyper-vigilant about my use of SPF 3,000) and I lay under a piece of clothing listening to the surf and meditating.

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Cougar is very into candy stores and although I don’t love candy I do love salt water taffy so I decided to do a taste test. I would buy a few pieces of salt water taffies (I prefer honey, chocolate, molasses, peanut butter, or cinnamon flavors) in each candy location we visited to try out on the ride home. Candy Kitchen was open late the night before but I didn’t love their taffy. Dolle’s was really good and by far the freshest and the coolest boardwalk aesthetic.

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Snyder’s had a great selection (four kinds of salt water taffy) though none was made on site. But the Taffy Town taffy Snyder’s sells was seriously the best taffy I have ever had. The cinnamon bun flavor tasted like cinnabon frosting, buttery and delicious. Plus Snyder’s was a super gay store with lots of Wizard of Oz kitsch.

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Cougar was craving cupcakes and we went out of our way to find the cupcake store. Meanwhile I was commenting that I wanted a snack but I didn’t want it to be a crazy sugar fest. Right next door to the cupcake bakery was this place called Annie’s Bannanies and it really changed my life. A bannanie is this frozen banana put through a processor that spits it out like soft serve ice cream. All the toppings are made with agave syrup. It was totally delicious. I wish they had a bannanie stand in Brooklyn.

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We made a stop at Out Wear to support the gay businesses and both of us ended up buying gay souvenirs (Cougar got some bear colored suspenders and I got a gay rainbow decal in the shape of the continental united states). I was actually surprised at how few gay Americans I saw in Rehoboth. We saw a few couples and groups but mostly it was hetero-appearing families. But the gay presence was enough that I didn’t feel like we stood out at all being in our Femme/Fag duo, and a lot of shop keepers smiled at us in recognition.

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Out Wear is next door to a store called Dolphin Dreaming. SO GAY.

Before we left town we hit a couple of outlets. Primary on my list was the QVC outlet. I love QVC, though I do not have cable. For a long time when I did I would DVR the Quacker Factory shows because I really love bedazzled and blinged out sportswear and Jeanne Bice, the designer and creator, was absolutely entertaining to watch. Quacker Factory is a thing–if you see someone wearing Quacker designs you say “quack quack” to them.

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I’ll never make the mistake again of not checking the hours before a visit to a store–they closed at 6 on Mondays! We made it there at 5:58, shocked to see them closing. I did manage to sweet talk my way in and got my mitts on a Quacker Factory faux layer twin-set bedazzled on both front and back (Jeanne never scrimped on bedazzling) for Christmas. I felt like the Goddess and the spirit of the recently departed Jeanne Bice herself were looking over me in that moment, leading me to find the perfect item for 50% off in under 2 minutes. I may wear this piece every Monday in December.

Before leaving town we decided to hit the beach one last time to watch the sunset at Cape Henlopen State Park. Usually an $8 per out of state car entrance fee but free at sunset time. It was gorgeous and I had a great time looking at the sand for shells and stones.

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I love nearly deserted beaches!

As we were passing through the Northern part of Delaware on Route 13 we spotted a Ross Dress For Less that was open until 10PM! We stopped and I bought some Delta Burke undies at deep discount prices–one of our favorite Designing Women makes some great plus size lingerie.

No sales tax in Delaware makes it a really great shopping destination, the soft sands on the beaches make it a really fun place to hang out, the gays make it a friendly and welcoming place for the gender blenders. I’ll definitely put it on my list of places I’d like to rent a house for a week.

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Cougar getting beaned by a wave.

P.S. Cougar is going to be featured in Curve magazine in October with her Breast Cancer book project, CHAMPION: My Photo Journey With Breast Cancer. I’m so proud! I think my lesbianism is rubbing off on her, since she’s in a lesbian magazine now.

*Thus marks my second cop interaction around touching my “pink cellphone” in the car and herein lies a problem with my flamboyant accessories. Also I need a blue tooth device of some kind.

2010-11-29

Lesbian Tea Basket

I was struck with the divine spirit to share my recent passion for tea and my enduring passion for lesbianism in the form of totally DIY, low-tech videos. Mostly I am just frustrated with how hard it is to determine whether or not tea is any good from the box.

There are many episodes so far, they are released sporadically, with more to come as inspiration continues. I’ve instituted a rating system and occasionally have guest hosts.

UPDATE:

All of the episodes of the Lesbian Tea Basket (LTB) are in this handy playlist. Sit back, steep and get Lez!

So grab a cup of tea, cozy up to your computer and enjoy!

Episode 1: Celestial Seasonings Sugar Cookie Sleigh Ride

Episode 2: Twining’s Citrus Spice Sunset (featuring Mackenzi and Regan)

Episode 3: Allegro’s Rooibos Vibrations (featuring Macy)

Episode 4: Yogi’s Rest & Relax Sampler (Featuring Erin Bunny)

Episode 5: Allegro’s Thirst Tamer (featuring Miss LEZ 2010 Drae Campbell and all three of my pets)

Episode 6: Magic Fruit Tablets and Yogi’s Breathe Deep Tea (featuring Elisabeth)

Episode 7: Trader Joe’s Pomegranate White Tea

Episode 8: PG Tips (With Austin Femme Mafia Mistress Jessie Dress)


Episode 9: TSalon’s Silence Red Tea

Episode 10: Maple Tea (With Alix and Jen)

Episode 11: Stash Lemon Ginger with Guest Wyatt Riot

Episode 12: Celestial Seasonings Red Zinger with Guest Leslie Medlik


Episode 13: Spike’s Coffee and Tea Hippie Iced Tea



Episode 14: Whole Foods Get Gorgeous Tea and Guest Bird La Bird

Episode 15: Consolation Tea with Leslie and Chavon

Episode 16: Lipton’s Herbal Ginger and Sunbeam’s Electric Tea Kettle

Episode 26: David’s Tea Birthday Cake Tea

2010-05-07

Additions to the Queer Lexicography: Identifying Your Emotions Edition

A couple of months ago I had a little miscommunication with someone around me stating that I was feeling jealous about something. She saw it as a red flag whereas I meant it as information, and actually, ultimately a compliment.

Jealousy is such a loaded word and it really doesn’t need to be. I’m an only child, I get jealous about lots of ridiculous things–friends, success, clothes, lovers, access to cable television. I have learned how to manage my jealousy internally and rarely feel it more than fleetingly. I have also learned that jealousy is a great information gathering tool for myself in terms of checking in with my emotions.

When it comes down to it, if I don’t care about someone enough to feel some jealousy, I probably don’t want to be friends or lovers with them. But me being jealous is not that deep.

Enter Glenn Marla, with a new term for the queer lexicography.

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JELLO. JELLO is a shorthanded way of saying jealous. “I am feeling a little JELLO about that” sounds much less threatening to yourself and the person you are expressing it to than jealous. Jealousy has such a bad rap, but if you can use the shorthand of “Having some JELLO” it feels easier to deal with. No weight watchers points, single serving. Try it, it’s fun.

“Hey baby, I just needed to tell you I am feeling JELLO about your date on Monday, so if you could make some time for me on Sunday to hold hands and watch a re-run of Glee, it would take the edge of my JELLO.”

This is a derivative of the term “J.Lo” which was brought to us via Damien Luxe via some generous queers in Philly.

Battleshipping. You know when you meet up with a friend, bring your laptops and do work together but separately, which somehow keeps you more accountable to the work product and slightly encourages you not to look up Jersey Shore news on Gawker? If you ever think about what it looks like with two people and their laptops back to back, it’s just like the rad board game Battleship. Heather came up with the term and was throwing it around about Silas and Damien and for awhile I really thought she meant they were playing board games.*

“Hey Zoe, want to meet up for Battleship next week? I really need to haul ass on the production of my book. Kate Bornstein wants to see one out of me soon.”**

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Me, Kate and Carmelita Tropicana at the reading for King Kong Theory, published by the Feminist Press.

Maple Chaser. I have thrown this term around on this blog before, but basically it is someone who has an affinity for Canadians. Like a chubby chaser or other such semi-creepster terms. I heard about it for the first time on FetLife. I like it for the double entendre of Canadian people and also maple as a food/concept. I think Canadians are hot and really love to visit Canada.*** And I love maple syrup, maple flavored anything, and especially maple donuts. They are very uncommon in New York, but very common in my home state of California. I have them at least twice a visit when I go to Canada.

“I find that tattooed butch from Toronto a triple threat in the lust department–I am a Maple Chaser.”

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Me. In Toronto. I am due for a trip. Book me for a gig!

The Days of Fried Chicken and Deviled Eggs. I use this term to describe that beginning courtship phase when people do sweet things to woo you. It is in reference to an actual girl who wooed me by making me amazing meals involving both of those things. Several weeks later, she stopped the wooing without explanation. I kept hanging on, waiting for The Days of Fried Chicken and Deviled Eggs to resume. What I didn’t realize was that she was showing me another aspect of her personality, though I was having a hard time adjusting to this new version of her when I liked the TDOFC&DE version so much more than the one that was ignoring me.

It is my belief that the Days of Fried Chicken and Deviled Eggs should never cease–a relationship needs to involve a certain amount of continuous courtship. Courtship does not require a great deal of energy, just a little thoughtfulness. (Check out the FemmeCast episode on courtship for some great ideas and guidance.)

“It is really difficult to do, but I need to move on. Now that The Days of Fried Chicken and Deviled Eggs have ended I am not being treated very well, and I deserve to be cherished. My feelings for her are strong, but my feelings for me are stronger.”

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Enjoying Fried Chicken with Leah Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarasinha. Our friend courtship continues, as we approach our 2 year friendaversary at the 2010 Femme Conference.

*Both highly productive people in my life, I wondered why they were having game night and not inviting me. I felt a little Jello about it until I realized it was a work/production date. Ha ha!
**Real quote! Nothing kicks you in the ass like meeting and performing with one of your heroes and having them tweet that at you!
***Seriously, Toronto has these incredible hot dog carts with all different kinds of hot dogs, tofu, turkey, regular, sausage and then tons of great toppings to put on them! And lots of hot queers, fun things to do, good beer, cheap ferry rides, amazing restaurants…

2010-03-14

Get Some South in Yo’ Mouth!: Lola Dean’s Time-Tested Tips for the Ultimate Blow Job Performance

Happy Steak & Blow Job Day! Here at Queer Fat Femme I decided to delay my celebration until Steak & Blow Job Day (Observed) and in the meantime I have made today an academic study brushing up on blow job skills and steak preparation.

This is a good steak primer, from Jen, a friend on Facebook.

Good steak is pan-seared. The trick is to pat it off with paper towel, etc., to get it as dry as possible before it hits the pan. That way, it will crust nicely on the outside and retain the juices inside. And don’t overcook it – steak MUST BE medium rare.

Also, let it rest for a few minutes before serving.

Check out the reluctant gourmet website, for interesting tips.

I asked my friend Lola Dean, who won an audience favorite award in a recent blow job competition in a certain legendary Park Slope basement, to provide her tips for S & BJ Day.

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Photo by Shameless Photography.

From the flat lands of the Southern Delta, Lola Dean comes to NYC with sassy, white-trashy spirit. Typically found around the queer performance spaces of New York as a burlesque artist with a sultry stage repertoire, she now steps offstage and into the bedroom to provide these erotic tips on giving your sweetie a sensual and special blow job performance.

If you’re thinking of giving your lover(s) the royal treatment on “Steak and Blow Job Day,” I would encourage you to brush up on your oral service skills to make the holiday special and unforgettable. A full belly can only be complemented by a great blow job, so take your task seriously, and your sweetheart(s) will sing your praises…quite literally. Many of us (but certainly not all) queer femmes service our lover(s)’ not-so-permanent cocks (i.e. dildos and toys), and while this is my specialty, I think these tips can be applied across the board for all body types and genders. First, remember this is a performance, so show us what you got! You are front and center, so pull all the stops, and dazzle your sweetheart by following these three tips:

1. Take it slow. Unless of course, your sweetie likes it quick and dirty! But generally speaking, you want to take your time and make a show for your sweetie. Prolonging the act builds excitement, which will intensify the orgasm. Jumping the gun by putting the entire cock in your mouth too soon can spoil the build up. If it helps, sing a song in your head and set “benchmarks” for the verses and choruses. For example, you can sing through Lady Gaga’s “Telephone” and promise to only make it halfway down the shaft by the time she leaves her heart and hand on the dance floor. Just don’t get too caught up in the song that you forget to focus on your lover’s pleasure!

2. Spice it up. This is perhaps, my favorite cock-sucking tip, because it leaves room for creativity, fantasy, and personal preference. The key to spicing up a blow job is being adventurous. For all you femmes and fags, swipe on your favorite shade of lipstick and open wide. The smeared lipstick on both your sweetie’s cock and your lips makes for great visuals and an erotic opportunity for gender expression. I encourage you to also consider role-plays and how a blow job scene can be used to enhance the play. Does your lover have a penchant for boss-secretary fantasies? Set up an “executive chair” and get on those knees! The possibilities are limitless, so let your imagination run wild, and your sweetie will be grateful.

3. Take special care. The third tip is quite possibly, the hardest to master, as it takes attention to detail and more than a little imagination. Taking special care of your lover during a blow job involves performing the service as if every inch of the cock has special and sensitive nerve endings, and every motion and touch can be felt by your lover. Ok, I know I know… you’re eyeing your silicone cock with suspicion right about now. After all, it’s not real, right? Nonsense! Reality lives inside our own erotic imaginations. Flick your tongue on the sensitive soft “skin” underneath the head. Kiss the tip with slow passion and care. If you want to test your gag reflexes, hold the base and slide the entire shaft in until your throat muscles inevitably protest. And I promise your sweetie’s toes will curl. Taking special care lets your lover(s) know you are thinking of their pleasure both physically and emotionally.

And, lastly, there’s nothing hotter than showing your lover(s) that you care about their sexual health and safety, so adorn the cock with a condom and/or play with toys that can be sterilized. And just like your favorite Babeland-bought, mint-flavored condoms, one size does not fit all in the blow job tip department. Experiment with these suggestions, talk to your lover(s) about their bodies and desires, and above all have fun! Share your thoughts and additional tips in the comments, and let the sexy blow job knowledge spread far and wide!

Catch Lola Dean with Bevin & The Baconettes at this month’s That’s My Jam Party! Sure to be magical!

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2010-02-09

Additions to the Queer Lexicography: Phraseology

What Would My Dreamy Boyfriend or Girlfriend Do? As a single girl, I like to ask myself this when I am feeling lonely or tender and really want someone to take care of me. This idea, of the mythical dreamy boyfriend or dreamy girlfriend (depending on your orientation/their preference), is totally ridiculous but ultimately a fun way to look at self-care.

Basically in an ideal world, what would a partner do to soothe you? My dreamy boyfriend would totally take care of getting my car cleaned–inside and out. Really, it’s just taking it to the vacuum and wash place or whatever, but it’s a nice thing. So sometimes I go to the car place and do all the work that I hate to do ever so much and attribute it to my dreamy boyfriend. Makes it less of a chore.

My dreamy girlfriend has been paying attention to my twitter feed for the last six weeks and knows that I have been obsessed with getting a pink snuggie, so she totally bought it for me at Rite Aid. I’m going to bling it out with cupcake embellishments to make it extra perfect for me. (This justified the spending of $14.99 when trying to save up for a couple of impending trips.)

The next time you feel distraught, think “What Would My Dreamy Boyfriend/Girlfriend Do?” And those of you with actual real life Dreamy Boyfriends or Girlfriends? Treat them to Steak and Blowjob day.

Grapefruit-o-clock: My friends Ally, Damien Luxe and I had brunch the other day and Damien brought a whole pile of grapefruits. She disclosed that since she quit smoking she looks forward to her grapefruit every day (there is a ritual aspect to it that nicely distracts from the non-smoking). She supremes the grapefruit by hand–peeling it, removing all of the pith and just eats the tasty pulp.

Since that day I have enjoyed grapefruit-o-clock almost every day. Eating it like that is a total adventure, it’s very tasty and brings joy to an otherwise bleak winter day.

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Cheesy 20Femme moment with Damien. If you can’t don ridiculous glasses with your friends while wearing giant hairbling and corsets, who can you do those things with?

The Lesbian Plunge: Basically, this is a phrase similar to “Uhaul Dyke” and other monikers that poke fun at the lesbian tendency to partner up right after the first date. It’s often a slippery slope to disaster, but can sometimes be to great effect–I did it twice and stayed with the person for 2-3 years. You can do a lot of things to mitigate your tendencies towards the Lesbian Plunge. Paying attention to your red flags is one. Having good boundaries (and enforcing them and sticking to them) is another. I mean, I’ve listened to enough cheesy R & B love songs to know there’s no stopping the train, but you can mitigate the impending disaster at least a little.

Dates Not Dating: You can read the whole description here, by the ever eloquent Bee Listy. The gist is, hey, what about just going on dates with someone without worrying about “where is this going” and “what do we mean” or anything like that? No expectations beyond the date itself (showing up on time, generalized good respect for one another).

I’ve found the idea of it to be pretty liberating. When a girl is totally not relationship material but treats you well, you can still go on dates with her (and vice-versa, especially when one is fresh from a break-up or going through other life stuff that makes you/they feel like dating is not a good idea). It’s pretty much the opposite of the Lesbian Plunge.

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I just love this picture of Bryn. She cut my hair two months ago and it’s grown in really well.

Younicorn: So few things bring me the kind of joy that being made into a unicorn does. Brian, my Gay Boy BFF and I had this interaction about the new iphone application Younicorn.

TO: Brian

FROM: Bevin

Subject: Younicorn

Brian this iphone app called Younicorn allows you to make anyone a unicorn. You should get it immediately.

TO: Bevin

FROM: Brian

Subject: Younicorn

Bevin, I feel like this app is worth having, providing that it costs $0.99 or less. I don’t feel like the ability to make anyone a unicorn is worth a full dollar to me. This is an arbitrary sum, to be sure, but a whole number threshold seems to be reasonable given the expected payoff in terms of joy brought to my life in this instance.

Thoughts?

TO: Brian

FROM: Bevin

Subject: Younicorn

Brian, I would like to confirm that this app costs, in fact, 99 cents exactly. I can tell you that it has brought more than a dollar’s worth of joy into my life already and I do not even own an iphone. My friends Glenn Marla and Jessie Dress have both made a younicorn out of my image and both times I have squealed. Squealed, Brian. I have spent $1.50 on a fresca and never squealed. I think that if you bought the younicorn app you could make your fiance Jose look like a unicorn from another planet and it would bring you at least the retail value of a bag of cheetos worth of joy. Also, when you save a younicorn, it makes a tinka tinka noise like the noise a unicorn would make while flying through the air.

Brian I hope you take this into consideration.

And you, magical readers, I hope you take THIS into consideration.

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18646_531856493432_27100215_31589861_7856374_n
16564_517028474426_79500091_30713622_2141348_n
16564_517028140096_79500091_30713617_4945684_n

His response to me was a photo of me from a wedding we went to together, eating an oyster, as a younicorn. I rest my case.

2009-11-04

Secret Single Behaviors

November 1 came and went without any fanfare from me, but I remembered yesterday that it was the two year anniversary of my sudden singlehood. It’s been an incredible journey and as painful and crazy as that time was, I wouldn’t trade it for the world. (If you want the backstory, wait for my forthcoming memoir or download Episode 2 of FemmeCast.)

In celebration of my singlehood, I’ve decided to share with you, gentle readers, some of my deepest Secret Single Behaviors. There was an episode of Sex and the City that talks about Secret Single Behaviors–those things that you do when you’re alone, because you’re single and you can get away with it.

The first one is that I often turn on QVC when I’m home alone (I have a roommate). Sure, sometimes I listen to music, but often it’s just nice to have the company. I love shopping and even though I’ve only ever bought two things from QVC in my entire life and I was engaged and shacked up at the time, I still really like their chatter. As a Femmecee, I have learned a lot about improv from the hosts on QVC.

Today’s Special Value is some sort of purse charm. I think if I were selling them I would talk about the safety factor–I know some people who have been assaulted while looking for their keys. It’s a good AND fashionable idea to have a little charm on your purse with a hook where your keys are in order to prevent the shuffle.

The second Secret Single Behavior I indulge in are meals that make no real sense and require no forward planning. I really like asparagus and I really like bacon. They are both easy to prepare. That’s probably my most common meal. Sometimes it’s broccoli or green beans. Sometimes I just have refried beans with taco sauce and cheese. Sometimes I am really scraping the barrel and use a stale piece of bread broiled with some cheese and a tomato.

This is in stark contrast to my last relationship, where we had all of these very planned out meals (planned a month ahead–we used the Saving Dinner 20 for the Freezer plan*) and leftovers for lunch the next day. Those days were nice, don’t get me wrong, I fondly recall Omaha steaks made on the grill. But getting to have meals that are entirely created from my own intuition and how I want to eat is really liberating, empowering and makes me feel really single.

The third Secret Single Behavior is what I call phone echo. Which is when I obsessively look at my phone as though I’m going to get a text, even though nothing’s coming through. In this day of text-based communication, people enact entire courtships via text and picture texts and whatnot. When I don’t have a sweetheart blowing up my phone, well, it seems like a cavern of emptiness where you can’t hear anything but an echo. Of course I get the occasional hilarious missive from a friend and the loving text reminders from my google calendar, but there’s nothing more single feeling than looking at a phone and having nothing there. And then obsessively looking again and again as though it will change.

My fourth Secret Single Behavior is probably more like Femme Realness, but I keep a self-help book for bathroom reading. It’s true. Ironically I haven’t gotten past chapter one of The Power of Focus for Women, but it’s in there for guests if they need it. I decided that magazines in the bathroom were too cluttered.

The last one I have is something I really hope I can maintain for the rest of my life. But when I go to bed, after a particularly good night out or night in, I lay there, look at the twinkly lights above my pink bed and smile in deep gratitude for the adventurous life I am blessed with.

John, if you’re out there reading this, thanks for dumping me. I’m the closest I’ve ever been to the life I’ve always wanted.

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That’s me at my Celebration of Personhood (as opposed to couplehood), which was the party I had on May 17, 2008 in lieu of my wedding.

*I heartily recommend it if you have a live-in family that eats together.

2009-01-05

Medical Self-Advocacy for Queer Fat Femmes

There is so much to say about Queer Fat Femmes and medical self-advocacy. In honor of Lesbian Health Bloggy Such A Day or whatever (thanks to Sinclair for bringing it to my attention and for the gorgeous masthead up above my entries), I am going to relate a little story and some free advice.

In early 2007, right after the passing of one of my heroes, Heather MacAllister, from ovarian cancer, I had my Heather MacAllister Memorial Gyno Appointment. This is the missive sent out from her loved ones by her side at her death:

Heather’s last wish for you, what she wants for us all, is to love each other, and to love ourselves. To take care of our minds and bodies, without fail and against all odds. And to know, beyond doubt, that we are all beautiful, amazing beings. Never forget. This is what she lived for. Take care of yourselves, you beautiful beings.

I felt it was imperative to look after my health and to take steps to prevent the stuff I was able to prevent. Despite being covered by insurance for the duration of my twenties, I hadn’t seen a gyno since grad school, mostly because I was really lazy about finding one who I felt safe with.

I did some research and made an appointment. The doctor was fairly nice and the process was streamlined, but I was a bit taken aback that she started up with the fat stuff* immediately. In fact, this was a new tactic. “You are fat, I think you might have a wheat allergy and I am going to run a blood test.” And almost immediately blood was drawn and I said meekly Uh, can you also do a full STD screening? That’s why I’m here, too. You know, gyno health.

Two weeks later I got the dreaded phone call from the gyno office requiring me to come in for a follow-up (and another $50 co-pay). She looked at me gravely. “It says here you are allergic to wheat and corn. You need to stop eating those immediately and start losing weight. You might have a heart attack.” And she actually said to me, “You have such a pretty face, you’ll look so gorgeous if you lose weight.” I was in tears and thinking God, are you my mom circa 1994?

I demanded a copy of the results so that I could bring them to my fairly fat positive primary care physician and show to one of my besties, Kelli Dunham, stand-up comic and published nurse.

My PCP recommended I get a second opinion from a gastroenterologist. Since this was the American health system in the Hateful Bush Economy (TM), this all took place over the course of months, since it took forever to get appointments and cost me $50 a pop.

The gastroenterologist did an upper endoscopy, a colonoscopy and another full blood work-up. In the meantime, I gave up wheat and corn and later dairy. Seriously, it is extremely hard to eat without wheat or corn, as corn is in pretty much everything, especially gluten free stuff. I remember declaring to my besties When they tell me to give up bacon I’m just going to go for a diet of supplements.

To top it off, the last part of this eight month ordeal occurred while my fiance and I were breaking up. Imagine being told “Hey, I think we need to move apart for awhile on account of my intense depression” the day before you have to have a colonoscopy. I was wheeled into the operating room wracked with sobs because of the whole “emergency number” question.

But, the great news is that I am not allergic to wheat, corn or dairy! That gyno was a quack and I am totally glad I advocated for myself and got that second expensive opinion. And it turned out my gastroenterologist is in the same office suite as another gynocologist. While I was waiting for my many appointments, I read the complimentary cards from her clients and I decided to do my next year’s gyno screening with her.

I was really glad I did. I had to ask them to do a full STD screening and they seemed surprised–I was a 29 year old sexually active lesbian and they didn’t seem to jump right to the conclusion that it meant I should be screened.** Despite that, I still felt cared for and my weight was not an issue.

I published Episode 4 of FemmeCast about the concept of Health at Every Size, which really addresses fat people and the consequences of un-fat positive diagnoses. I’m sure we’ll come back to it again in future episodes.

Fat phobia from medical professionals can itself be a health hazard in that it inhibits fat people from seeking out routine and other medical care that they need.  All people, regardless of size, shape, age, race, class, gender, ability or sexual orientation deserve to be treated with dignity and respect in a health care setting and to have their health care needs addressed in ways that make them feel safe and comfortable and not attacked for who they are.

The day that I found out that the wheat and corn allergies were misdiagnosed, I had a tasting fleet of beers, a cupcake and really hot rebound sex. I think Heather would be proud.

*Typically this involves a medical professional saying “OMG YOU ARE FAT YOU ARE GOING TO DIE ONE DAY ON ACCOUNT OF YOUR FAT.” I will note that almost every doctor I have encountered who told me that said “Otherwise you are in perfect health.”
**Dude, always always ask your health providers to screen you, just to be safe.

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