What I’m Thankful For in 2020

Dear readers,

This year has been a wild ride indeed. I have been subjected to the decision to disable commenting on this blog because of trolls like Wes and Bill, and I’m not changing names because their names appeared in the screenshots I shared in March. I was also subjected to a death threat by a woman in Avilar, Colorado, a Karen who didn’t get it. I also understood that in the more national front, there was corona virus. In the beginning, we had a president who was denying the “Wuhan corona virus” and was being racist against Chinese and Asian Americans, something I know in my concscious self I would never do. Unconsciously, I’m not racist against anyone, given that I was isolated in my youth from people I felt were stronger and less shameful than the whitewashed family I was raised in. For some reason, I feel welcomed in my black family relations, and I have a lot to be thankful for this year despite having to deal with people who don’t think I should be alive at all, but I am. Not only am I thankful to have the partner of my choice, commitment and all, I’m also thankful for my friends who support and care about the things I care about too. I discovered, this year of all years, the Jefferson Unitarian Church. They are a beacon of hope and social justice for all of Denver, but the Unitarians are extremely social justice oriented, something right up my alley. I was taken to the polls by a member of their church who was introduced to me by our wedding officiant, oddly enough, and I was able to vote in person. I’m glad I made a difference for the president elect, and I hope Mr. Biden reads my blog one day and discovers what the plight of blind and physically disabled people actually is like. Stutters are one thing, but you can’t fix blindness that is from birth, especially mine. Corrective glasses won’t work, so I had to learn Braille and adaptive skills and techniques, but my parents attacked my very dignity at seventeen years of age, having had guardianship for fifteen years. I was not planning on being involved with the Unitarian church, but I’m leaning towards that because of the contacts I made, and the wedding officiant I met through … yes, a google search. I was hoping a Unittarian Universalist church existed in Colorado or somewhere near because my buddy, a girl in Massachusetts, recommended such a church. She had been involved with Will and the Tribe, a band of folks who have this wonderful CD out. Will is awesome, no joke, and I’ve seen him and his daughter, my buddy Lavender, at very good times, but then I found Lavender through another friend. Lavender totally gets me. I get her. The difference with her is that she has autism, but I don’t think I’m autistic, and I totally get that some people don’t do well with talking. I’ve learned a lot from Lavender, but now I have her to thank for the choices I’ve begun to think about.

You might wonder what all this has to do with being thankful and all. It has a lot. I’m thankful for my friends, Lavender included; my partner who I committed to a few weeks back, and he’s all that I want him to be; my shelter from the storm because if I wasn’t in my apartment, I’d be frozen to death; and, oddly enough, the police department. When I received the death threat in march, there was only one problem: the police couldn’t find the woman who did this. Wes is probably out there wherever he might be, tracking down FBI agents or trying to tell people the lies he wants to about me. Bill? I don’t know what went through his mind when he had the wrong conversation with the wrong person about the wrong subject. I’m thankful my partner is even alive, and he’s breathing right beside me on the bed, probably staring at twitter and tweets right now. However, with these people’s philosophy of white supremacy, my partner could be dead even if I cried, “He didn’t do anything wrong.” The police cannot shoot my partner for anything but being armed and committing a crime. Neither of these things he has done. My partner is black, but still disabled and can’t imagine himself owning or receiving a firearm. I may personally have to get a gun if I lived in the projects, which we might be stuck in, even if we are thankful for this. FBI resources should not be used to investigate a blog, I wrote earlier in the year, and it should be duly noted that this Thanksgiving, both of these lecherous men will probably spend it alone and without their wives or girlfriends at the table. One of them suffered the millionth breakup, and while I don’t celebrate breakups, this is something that I absolutely must point out. Obsessions with girls named Megan, along with two divorces and a blood daughter who’s like, why is my dad being stupid, that should tell you something. Women are known to warn each other about predatory behavior by men, and what’s odd about the situation here is that a predator rallied with the two other men I mentioned … a predator I’ve mentioned here about a billion damn times. This predator does not understand that he’s not mature, he’s not fit for a relationship, and his heart issues could put him at dire risk of getting corona virus which, from the Georgia perspective, is not something you want to do. When I went to Georgia those times, I got good Southern hospitality, but the man I am referring to is not hospitable for women. I don’t wish covid on anyone, no matter how much I may hate them, not even Wes, Jason, or Bill. However, if they did get covid, I’d wish they’d use the covid sick and recovery time to think about why they got it, how they got it, and what they should do to abide by public health rules. I would hope that none of them, not even the first guy I talked about, will travel this Thanksgiving because of public health orders. Our mayor, Michael Hancock, decided to see his daughter in Mississippi, but I feel it is irresponsible. However, I do forgive him because that’s his daughter. However, I don’t want his daughter to get covid, or Mr. Hancock himself. I don’t wish covid on anyone, like I said, not even my worst enemy. I hope that the guys herein, however, if they get covid, they need to use the time to reflect and think about why they got it, how they got it, and where their errors lay. One of these errors is wishing me dead, or my partner or other black folks. When a person wants to wish brutality on the black community, says black lives don’t matter, etc., that person is a supremacist who can’t be trusted, and if they think this way, it’s dangerous for me as a woman, for my partner as a man, and for my future kids and nieces and nephews and other children in the family. Let’s be honest, I enjoy Christmas and Thanksgiving, but this holiday season, please do not send death threats, and try and mess up my whole life. If you are a Trump supporter, now you have to reconcile with Biden folks. I’ve been ridin’ with Biden since the campaign began, but I feel that Biden will be a strong force in our country, especially for the disabled. I’m thankful we elected him as well.

While I do want to go into detail about the year’s wins and losses, I won’t. do this until the rap up but it won’t be twenty things in 2020, for it was taken over by corona virus and the death threats. Because this blog has no comments allowed, you might want to talk to me on Twitter or facebook, and think about all the things you might have said wrongly about me. For Thanksgiving, while my partner and I are cooped up like chickens in the henhouse, we’re thankful we have each other, and our lives, to ponder. What we don’t want in our holiday celebration is people who associate me with slutty behavior, something I won’t tolerate, and sexist and patriarchal tropes have to go. Please read Unladylike by Christin Conger and Caroline Irvin, and get unladylike if you’re a woman and get educated if you are a guy. Just think about this for a few.

Happy Thanksgiving to all who celebrate, and stay safe and healthy, my friends.

Beth

So what about the first Thanksgiving feast?: Dedicated to the Wampanoag Tribes Who are Trying to Get White People to Figure It out

Dear readers,

Below is the link to a very detailed explanation of the pilgrim story of the first Thanksgiving. it’s not true. The Wampanoags were not initially invited to the first feast, but showed up anyway. While the encounters half the time led to slavery and half the other time led to violence against the women, we have a serious problem with the story of the pilgrims. They indeed weren’t actually pilgrims, they were freaked out refugees trying to settle a colony because they didn’t want their kids being Dutch. Oh well, here’s the link.

https://www.usatoday.com/in-depth/news/nation/2020/11/23/plymouth-400-mayflower-first-thanksgiving-pilgrims-wampanoag-massasoit/6343621002/?build=native-web_i_p

Connecting with Your Family during Thanksgiving in a Pandemic

Dear readers,

This post is primarily for the technically challenged. However, if you already know how to use some of the things mentioned in the video chats 101 post I did months ago, you might find this a bit less redundant because I’m going to offer some suggestions on how and when to connect with family during Thanksgiving inn a pandemic. I’m going to be real. We have a lot more resources than we did in the 1918 Spanish flu pandemic, so unlike in 1918, when we had no internet, FaceTime, or zoom, we have that resource today. Here’s what to do, in case you forgot, about all the options you have in connecting with friends and family.

1. Zoom is a wildly popular meeting app. For this Thanksgiving, they will lift the 40 minute video limit on calls for families celebrating together over the platform. If you know how to use Zoom, great, but keep this in mind. You need a camera in order to do video calls, and for some of us, particularly blind folks who are totals who can’t see the video, you’ll need to give us a bit of a hand by telling us where to aim the camera. Don’t be afraid to tell us where to place it, and camera placement will do the video call a lot of good. Zoom has lots of protections in place, but my concern is zoom bombing which is inappropriate especially for a Thanksgiving feast. To combat the bombers, just use a password when dealing with your meeting setup. When you set up a new meeting, just make sure you email or message people the link so they can follow the link to your meeting, but don’t forget the password. Passwords should not be easy to guess, but you can also use euphemism in your alpha numeric password, but it might be that you have to use numbers, which is cool because people will try to guess alpha numeric names like “feast1247” for example. This is only an example.

2. Do you have a family member who has I things? Perhaps your friend or family member uses FaceTime. IF you don’t use FaceTime video, it might be useful for totally blind people. Here’s an idea though. FaceTime will support groups up to 24 people, which is a number typical of my pwn family’s Thanksgiving. So if you want to hold Thanksgiving over FaceTime, do the following things: make sure you have an iPad or iMac or whatever. IF you’re sighted and a video aficionado, make sure you have a good GoPro or similar camera. Be sure the camera is angled so everybody is seen and connected with while you interact with your household. When you put the camera in the right place, everybody will be able to wave and Grandma might just wave back at you and you will see her do that.

3. Google Duo takes groups of up to … wait for it … 32 people, which is more than enough for a good family feast for Thanksgiving. IF you want to do a duo call, you can do it on a Google Nest Hub, a smart display made by Google and partners with Nest. When you have this thing set up in the right place, the cameras will track every movement and you will be able to do a video chat with your grandpa. IF he has a phone such as an iPhone or Samsung Galaxy s whatever, he can also join in the call. Make sure you have the home or nest hub set up. Oh and by the way, the hub is accessible through Talkback, and so is a Facebook portal. I am very happy to report that the portal has talkback, and it’s thanks to a fellow blind tech aficionado who wrote some interesting stuff on Facebook about it too.

4. What else can we use to connect with family? Well, dropping in on an echo show is also great. However, you can only have one to one drop ins, so if you are dropping in on a group of people, this might be helpful. I would recommend the echo show for those of you who like videos in this style. Echoes in the show category range from eight to ten inches to I think about twelve or fourteen. Pick a size of screen that works for you. You can also drop in on a fire tablet from the same company that makes the echo show. Just put it in show mode and away you go. I love my fire tablet, and I also like my echo dots too because they have good bass in them. However, I don’t have a hub or echo show. We are a bit camera shy around here.

Preparing your feast should not be so hard. For us, this means we won’t buy the seven pound Tom turkey at all. The sides will be a breeze, but still, the side dishes will have to be carefully monitored because of lactose intolerance, which is beginning to be a boon on my cooking. Honestly, I’d rather have a casserole with a half cup of cheese as required by most recipes than to have to waste my time with vegan or veg recipe books. I can’t imagine eating vegan cheeses, those with lactade labels on them because some of those recipes don’t accommodate that. I was going to make a broccoli casserole, but oh no, too much cheese. … Before you make a feast side dish, you would ordinarily have to ask if all people can eat it. However, people are also allergic to foods these days. Peanut allergies are common, but egg allergies are more serious. I had an ex who was allergic to eggs, and as he put it, if you gave him egg by accident, you’d have to call the fire department. That’s no joke. This guy was really allergic to eggs, and he couldn’t get a flu shot.

When you do your feast for Thanksgiving, whether it’s a mini feast or a bigger one, try to remember what the day is really about. As Linus in the Charlie Brown Thanksgiving and Christmas and Halloween specials puts it, Thanksgiving is a very important holiday and the only national holiday dedicated to giving thanks. Let’s do a quick history refresher.

First of all, nobody in the Thanksgiving story was a pilgrim. What is a pilgrim? Well, a fine example of a pilgrim would be someone who makes a journey to a sacred spot like Mecca in Saudi Arabia for Muslims or Israel for the Jewish people. Those are true pilgrims if I should say so myself. The Native Americans who celebrated with the so called Pilgrims had enemies everywhere, but the Pilgrims as we call them weren’t pilgrimaging at all. These were Puritans, the first refugees before the Trump era bullshit hit the fan. These guys sailed in on the Mayflower in 1620 or whatever. In 1621, thanks was given to the “Indians” as Linus would say, but yeah, these first nations fellows who helped the Puritans through the wintertime and taught them to grow corn and such because the refugees lost half their people then. What we do in a family today is not quite so similar.

The colonists, or puritan refugees, actually had food that was not similar at all to the foods we eat today. They had weird food,, and I bet Charlie Brown would be proud to see toast on the menu, and he made all that toast. In the special I watched on Apple TV Plus, Linus suggested making the feast for his friends, Marcy and Peppermint Patty among them. However, what Peppermint Patty would not understand later on in the meal’s progress is that the refugees actually had what we call eel on toast for their first feast. The regulatory feast we know today became a thing with Abraham Lincoln’s presidency, and he gave us the third Thursday in November tradition we know of today. So, our Thanksgiving this year 2020 will be November 26. Let’s be real though, turkey is not a requirement for Thanksgiving. Some people simply won’t eat meat, but my husband is a carnivore. HE eats every bit of meat he can, including the bacon. Talk about bringing it home only to have him eat it all up.

So what am I thankful for this Thanksgiving? Well, I’m thankful for yet another year gone by, not having caught the big bad virus floating around, and being able to have at least my partner around if things got rough. I couldn’t ask for a better lockdown/quarantine buddy. Trenton has proved to be a great source of humor, jokes, and optimism during this difficult time. I’m also grateful that this year, A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving is fully described on Apple TV Plus for subscribers who are blind or visually impaired and that Apple has made a full commitment to describing a big huge chunk, practically all of their material. It makes it a lot easier to watch things and love the dialogue, but also to understand the images that flop across the screen. I figured, thanks to descriptions, that Lucy is a real dork and should never be trusted by anyone on a football field. Charlie Brown indeed falls on his back and almost hurts himself, oops. Descriptions really help the viewer who is blind to understand the imagery the sighted are viewing on the screen. Another good example is Snoopy and Woodstock being weird at the end of the special, but I think it was kind of weird Snoopy made popcorn and toast but let’s add another gem to the history refresher. The colonies had popcorn in their food stock, so I don’t think Charlie Brown and his friends were far off but Peppermint Patty was not able to access info about the colonies’ food choices so she quietly assumed the role of food critic. Peppermint Patty was flabbergasted by Charlie Brown and Snoopy’s selection of food, saying, “What’s this? A piece of toast, a pretzel stick, popcorn? What blockhead cooked all this?” She goes on to ask where the turkey, mashed potatoes, and cranberry sauce are. Given whwat we know, however, she’s wrong. Puritans didn’t have access to cranberry sauce like we do, and the puritans also didn’t know anything about turkeys. As far as I know, they indeed had toast, but the thing would have fish caught in the sea somewhere. If I had toast, I’d have put some sort of preserve or jelly on it because that’s a fancy way to dress it up. Now that’s something Peppermint Patty could have done better.

Happy Thanksgiving to all my friends who celebrate, and please take care of yourselves and stay safe and healthy. The pandemic will be over soon, I promise.

Beth

Thanksgiving and Podcast Updates

Dear readers,

It is with a heavy duty heart and a mind filled with worry that I have to end season 2 of the Throne Room with Beth Taurasi, and I will add … best to my ability, I will add a Thanksgiving bonus special for all of you. Why? Because I know you all are thankful for being alive today. As for Thanksgiving, it’ll just be Trenton and I having a mini feast. We won’t be able to have much in the way of turkey, and we aren’t cooking the tom or even a hen, who knows. But I do want to have broccoli casserole the way I like to make it, and I usually do it. I’m going to be blunt, I hate cooking and domestic goddess shows like all that Food Network stuff, but at the same time, well, you could say I have a love hate relationship with food shows. They don’t show you the cooking in real time. I’m going to be honest, I love the cranberry sauce. However, I think for the feast Trenton and I will try to have, we will listen to the now described Charlie Brown special, and maybe just eat some toast. I wish we could make deviled eggs like Mom used to do at breakfast, but there are some things that go along with the good that I can’t discuss here, the bad things that Mom probably doesn’t want to reveal, half of which is that I may be a mixed person. Mixed heritage is important to know, and I wonder if that is the reason my mom thought in her subconscious that I was a curse from God for opening her legs during college. So even though we shared good things, Mom really needs to define some of her actions as abusive, and work to end such actions.

For one, I don’t visit my family anyway, but I’m glad the CDC told us all to stay home and not travel. I hope my parents and family get the memo. If they don’t, serves them all right for not listening, and people won’t listen because they’re stupid, idiotic and not able to see beyond themselves.

As for what food we might have for Thanksgiving, I’m tempted to bake some Roadhouse Rolls. Yes, if I could have some favorites for this year, I want me some Roadhouse Rolls like they do at Black Eyed Pea and Texas Roadhouse. We don’t have money to go to any places, but we do have food in the house. We don’t have much to eat for Thanksgiving but I don’t know which foods might be proper for that week. We always try to stick to homemade food of course since deliveries are difficult because of the high rise building we live in. Ugh.

I have at least one good thing I’m thankful for. We had our wedding, and with few guests in the live video stream, we made it happen. It shouldn’t have come to that, but if the guy at the wet meat market hadn’t left his wares dirty enough for viruses to go swapping info, we wouldn’t be in this predicament, and there’s a four-year-old Texas boy who won’t be allowed outside the house this year. I saw an article about him in the paper, but this young kid doesn’t have his parents. Why? Because of numnuts who don’t listen. Here’s a safety message for you about Thanksgiving this year that should ring a big bell in your head. I know you’re sick of the masks, sick of covering your faces, sick of the closures, sick of it all. But as Randy Rainbow says, cover your freakin’ face!!!!!!!! Cover it, cover it up. And don’t be a fool and let those droplets go flying around. At your family’s house, with your own household, you should be fine, provided you don’t have a household member with covid. My buddy in Texas had covid but I’m keeping an eye on her dad. It’s not just the boy and my friend you should be concerned about. It’s the economic disaster that is sure to come because you weirdos don’t listen! I have a partner who survived influenza type A, and doesn’t want to get respiratory failure again. He’s now 36 years old, alive and kicking, but with a badge of honor on the back of his head. Imagine what could happen if he gets covid. Covid sucks, big time. We don’t want it in our house, we don’t want our friends and family relations to get it. So please, folks, this Thanksgiving, wear a freakin’ mask. And cover your freakin’ face, or else I’ll have to let Randy Rainbow say it louder.

Beth