Soup On The Fly

photo 1One of my favorite things about being part time is how much more I get to cook. I love to eat, so I love to cook, and the fact that I only have to be in the office 2-3 days a week has only furthered my love of feeding myself (and others! I am Peruvian and Italian; if I didn’t like to feed others, the only explanation would be that I’m a changeling and the real Christina is off gallivanting with the Wee Folk or else was eaten by them nigh on 26 years ago).

My favorite comfort food is noodles, hands down. BUT I’m doing this low carb diet thing, lately, probably because I hate pleasure, idk — ANYWAY. I really wanted soup today, ramen in particular. Since I can’t/won’t eat carbs, I made ramen-less ramen, which is almost but not quite as good. I’ve had a particularly productive morning — I woke up, wrote up a cover letter for a part time writing position, organized some writing coven things, and then wrote roughly a thousand words of novel I’m working on. Usually I don’t like my meals to take too much time away from my writing time (which is why I worship at the alter of my slow cooker, lately) but this took just under an hour and was entirely worth it, if I do say so myself. And I do.

You will need:

  • a bunch of delicious shit

Continue reading Soup On The Fly

A Snow Day Recipe For People Who Would Rather Be Reading

You will need:

  • a slow cooker
  • pork loin
  • sweet potato
  • garlic (cloves)
  • okra
  • cherry tomatoes
  • olive oil
  • garlic powder
  • dried onion flakes
  • curry powder
  • cayenne pepper
  • soy sauce
  • plum wine vinegar

Pour oil into the slow cooker and season with garlic powder, onion flakes. Cube the pork loin and sweet potato (pealed). Add curry, soy sauce, plum wine vinegar to taste. Add to the slow cooker and let cook for 1-2 hours on high.

photo (1)
Sure it looks like mush, but it’s TASTY mush. More importantly, it cooks itself, and you read a whole book today.

Rinse and slice the okra and cherry tomatoes. Take 4-5 garlic cloves of garlic, crush, peal. Add okra, tomatoes, and garlic cloves to the slow cooker for another 1-1.5 hours, switching to low heat in the last 45 minutes or so. Also add some cayenne pepper to taste, if you so desire.

Stir occasionally, when you remember to look up from the book you’re reading.

Serve in a bowl covered with snow men for dinner. Alternately, serve with collard greens in a tupperware.

Eat while watching Firefly.

Books I’ve Read So Far in 2015

SPOILERS AHEAD.

This is kind of a freebie, since I read most of it in 2014. My dad has been on my case about Outlander every since he started reading it a few years ago, which I think is a little funny, considering it’s pretty romance-y. BUT HEY. Shame on me for buying into gender norms. My dad can read romance novels if he damn well pleases.

Part of the reason why it took me so long to read is because my dad and I were sharing a copy. He bought it at Amazing Cheap Books in Astoria one balmy summer night. I bought about five books about vampires and ghosts and serial killers (all for fifteen bucks!) and then treated the family to gelato. But it also took me forever to read because Gabaldon is verbose. The font was TINY and the pages were thin, and there were many of them. And I’m a pretty voracious reader, so that’s sayin’ somethin’.

It wasn’t my favorite. Claire isn’t really my cuppa, to be honest — I am all about Geillis the witch, though (is she really dead? She can’t really be dead!) and Jenny Fraser (girlfriend gave birth, then went tramping about the forest to rescue her nincompoop brother. She actually, literally sat on a log and PUMPED HER OWN BREAST MILK [sans breast pump of course because its the 1700s], not to mention the fact that she was riding around on horseback DAYS after pushing out a bairn!).

One of the things that my dad said that got me to finally agree to read the book (aside from forcing me to watch the show, which is really a thing of beauty) was: “You’ll like it! There are gay characters and everything!” My dad knows me well. This was kind of a tone deaf Dad Moment on his part, though. Why? Because the only gay character in Outlander was Captain Jack Randall, sadist extraordinaire.

DAD. Daaaaaaad. That is so far from what I meant! So, yeah, my dad and I are probably going to have little chat about what representation in fiction really means. (Hint: It’s not that your gay characters are all sick and twisty, and their sick and twisty-ness is directly tied to their sexuality!)

So the first book I actually read, in its entirety, in 2015 was this memoir by Angelica Harris. I read it because my godmother brought up Angelica and her work on Christmas Day; they’ve been friends for years. Angelica, who I met last Saturday!, is also the author of a King Arthur YA series and the founder of the Excalibur Reading Program, a local tutoring organization. I visited their office in Glendale last Saturday to meet with Angelica, and I’m going to be tutoring there starting next week. I’m also working with Angelica to get a writing workshop for adults, as well as teen & young adult workshop, up and running by March!

Angelica is also the founder of the Unicorn Project/Raven’s Hope, a non-profit designed to help families in crisis because of domestic violence and sexual assault. I’ll be working with her in this capacity as well.

Far and away my favorite book I’ve read so far this year is The Girl in The Road by Monica Byrne. This book is what Firefly should have looked like if Joss Whedon hadn’t so insistently whitewashed his cast. It takes place in India and Ethiopia, and on a bridge called the Trail that crosses the Arabian Sea (and gathers wave energy.)

Things that are great about this book:

  • EVERYONE is a POC.
  • There are two protagonists, both women, both queer. Meena, one of the protagonists, is bisexual in a way that sent my whole body humming with recognition, and that has never happened to me before. I’ve always been pretty dedicated to diversity in fiction, but for the first time I’ve really felt it in my bones and it was powerful.
  • Pretty much everyone else is queer too.
  • The world is beautifully crafted. It’s set several decades in the future, and it has this sense of strangeness yet believability about it. Like, this is what the world could look like in sixty years. Also, Byrne has a BA in Biochemistry and and MA in Geochemistry, and this, I think, really shows in the extent of her worldbuilding.
  • Byrne is pretty insistently in media res the whole time (the book literally opens with Meena waking up fleeing her house in a manic state, because a terrorist organization has just attempted to assassinate her), so the story unfolds slowly, as does your understanding of the characters. Which I find pretty delicious, honestly.

HAVE YOU MET ALLISON MOON? No? Well, you should.

Allison Moon is the author of one of my favorite books I read this summer, Lunatic Fringe. It is about lesbian werewolves. That’s all you need to know. Go read it.

Bad Dyke was a joy to read. I read it in a day. It’s a short collection of personal essays about Moon’s sexual experiences, and the ways in which she has identified over the course of her life. It’s just a really joyful, celebratory account of sexuality and sex in all its forms. (And she knows Jiz Lee, which is SO COOL.) Moon is a sex educator; she’s in an awesome, healthy poly relationship; she’s a great writer…She’s basically inspiration for my entire life.

So, there you have it! Four books in two weeks! Goal is to read another four by the end of the month, because my Goodreads goal for 2015 is 63 books (up three from last year, because I was short three in 2014.)

HAPPY READING, everyone!

My 2015 Reading List

Courtesy of Roxane Gay

Most especially:

My favorite books of the year, the ones that provided me the pleasure I always seek when I sit down to read, the ones that tore my heart wide open and made me envious but simultaneously honored to be writing in the same time as such accomplished writers:

Ugly Girls by Lindsay Hunter
Man vs Nature by Diane Cook
The Book of Unknown Americans by Cristina Henriquez
The People in the Trees by Hanya Yanagihara
Shovel Ready by Adam Sternbergh
Cinderland by Amy Jo Burns
Citizen by Claudia Rankine
Red Rising by Piece Brown
Love Me Back by Merritt Tierce
Everything I Never Told You, Celeste Ng
Scarecrone by Melissa Broder

Continue reading My 2015 Reading List

All I Want for Christmas

This blog post brought to you by an e-mail I sent to mi familia. We’re doing a Secret Santa this year, ’cause we’re all broke as hell.

In Buffy We Trust

Are we sending links to give ideas for our Secret Santas? Here are mine:

Or any of these books:
  1. Black Girl Dangerous on Race, Queerness, Class and Gender
  2. From the Beast to the Blonde: On Fairy Tales and Their Tellers
  3. Little Red Riding Hood Uncloaked: Sex, Morality, And The Evolution Of A Fairy Tale
  4. Liar, Temptress, Soldier, Spy: Four Women Undercover in the Civil War
  5. American Rose: A Nation Laid Bare: The Life and Times of Gypsy Rose Lee
  6. The Amazons: Lives and Legends of Warrior Women across the Ancient World
  7. Zami: A New Spelling of My Name – A Biomythography
  8. The Coming Plague: Newly Emerging Diseases in a World Out of Balance
  9. Changing My Mind: Occasional Essays

I know we were only supposed to list three but…I couldn’t narrow down my book wish list any more than this! (There are literally hundreds of books on my wish list.) But I’d be happy with pretty much any of these! Pick the one you most want me to lend to you, haha.

LOVE YA

Updates!

I’m terrible, and it’s been a while, so here’s what’s been going on with me!

Freiburg Germany (aka Fairy Tale, Germany)
  1. I’m part time now, and loving it.
  2. I’ve got a few (paid!) writing gigs lined up at This Dog’s Life. Sometimes they are very silly.
  3. I’m also going to be spending two weeks in Freiburg, Germany this summer, at the Black Forest Writing Seminar. I’ll be taking not one but TWO classes with Roxane Gay: “The Brutal Languages of Love” (fiction) and “Beyond the Self” (personal essay.) Ich bin sehr aufgeregt.
  4. That ^ is probably completely wrong. I’m also trying to teach myself rudimentary German by July.
  5. I won my third NaNoWriMo in a row (which is part of why this blog has been full of nothing but tumbleweeds lately.)
  6. I’ve been shortlisted for this anthology about death from Everywhere Now Press and will hopefully be hearing from them soon!
  7. I am four books away from keeping my five-books-a-month resolution for 2014 and I’m off for two weeks after this (horrible) week, so you know I’m gonna just eat those last four.
  8. I’ve written two more chapters of my novel (which was last year’s NaNo project) and aim to be DONE with the second draft of the manuscript by my 26th birthday on March 30. Writing this here to hold myself accountable for that.

One of my 2015 resolutions is likely going to be to blog more regularly.

Books On My Bookshelf I Have Not Yet Read (Part One)

  1. Swanson on Swanson, by Gloria Swanson
  2. The Feminine Mystique, by Betty Friedan (unfinished)
  3. Vamp: The Rise and Fall of Theda Bara, by Eve Golden (unfinished)
  4. Fun Home, Alison Bechdel
  5. Paris, by Andrew Hussey
  6. Girls to the Front, by Sara Marcus
  7. Gut Feelingsby Gerd Gigerenzer
  8. Why Does He Do That: Inside the Minds of Angry and Controlling Men, by Lundy Bancroft (unfinished)
  9. The Selected Poems of Anne Sexton
  10. The Selected Poetry of Edna St. Vincent Millay
  11. The Everything Tarot Book, by M.J. Abadie (unfinished)
  12. The Girl With All The Gifts, by M.R. Carey
  13. Fifty Plants That Changed the Course of History, by Bill Laws
  14. The Vampire Book, by J. Gordon Melton
  15. Ghosts, by Hans Holzer
  16. The Penguin Book of Vampire Stories, edited by Alan Ryan
  17. Witchcraze, by Anne Llewellyn Barrow
  18. Vampires, Burial, and Death, by Paul Barber
  19. A Witches Guide to Faery Folk, by Edain McCoy
  20. Wyrd Sisters, by Terry Pratchett
  21. The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay, by Michael Chabon
  22. Wuthering Heights, by Emily Bronte
  23. Speak, Memory, by Vladimir Nabokov
  24. The Magic of Believing: The Science of Setting Your Goal and then Reaching It, by Claude M. Bristol
  25. The Tudors: The Kings and Queens of England’s Golden Age, by Jane Bingham
  26. Titanic, by Charles Pellegrino