Sunday, April 17, 2016

No, I’m Not Piercing My Daughter’s Ears

No, I’m Not Piercing My Daughter’s Ears

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

The Unsung Hero's of the LGBTQ Community!

For Imbolc, I had so badly wanted to write this article, but I absorbed so much information on the subject it sort of blew my mind and I needed to take a step back. In honor of Same Sex Marriage, FINELY being fully recognized in the United States, I had long to write something of significance. As the gods would have it, I stumbled upon the forgotten subject of Pedro Zamora and his partner Sean Sasser. These two men have long been forgotten by most of society, mostly because how much society has over come since the 1990s and the hero's who played a huge role in this undertaking this change are sadly being forgotten.

Zamora and Sasser were a young same sex couple in the 1990s, both living with HIV. Zamora had full blown AIDS, was better known for his role in the "Real World" 1994 San Francisco. Zamora choose to be in the spot light as not just a person living HIV but also a homosexual man with the same desires as most people in their early twenties. They later in the show exchanged vows and rings on MTV, making their commitment ceremony the first ever televised in the USA.

As the oldest children born in this century are sixteen years old or younger, few know the world Zamora and Sasser had to over come to bring them the world we are evolving to today. This was a different world most people would recognize, for one, people didn't have phones and computers with them everywhere. Society was very different when it came to the subjects of sexual orientation and HIV. The media was either in the negative towards anything positive towards the gay community or were trying to be neutral to the obvious bigotry. Many people were still uneducated about HIV and the importances of Zamora work was more evident when looking back at this society before he came into the spotlight.

Pedro Zamora was born in Cuba, immigrated to the United States in 1980. His family resided in Miami Florida, where Pedro grew up. He found out he was HIV positive at the age of 17. He claimed it was from a sexual encounter because that was the only thing he did  to expose himself. He had unprotected sex. HIV treatments were still new and the death rate was considered a 100% fatal. Zamora was given a death sentences as it would seem. However Zamora used his diagnosis to push him to graduate high school early and dedicate his life to educate the public about the disease. He also wanted to give a positive face of those living with HIV. He never forgot he had his disease, but he didn't let that define him and was able to have a happy fulfilling life.

Zamora met Sean Sasser before when both were with other partners, but reconnected when Zamora joined the cast of the "Real World" San Francisco. Sasser was 19 years old when he discovered his HIV status, was living in San Francisco and working as a chef. The two men had a publicized relationship challenging societies perspective on so many levels. Not just two men, but individuals with HIV being responsible but sexually active. A concept that most people back then would never consider. The two would talk about their disease and their story at schools and other public events to spread awareness.

Photo courtesy of MTV Real World SF copyright 1994
This very relationship was not only taboo amount the straight audience, but to the gay community as well. Often in the culture of the time, having multiple partners or simply not being in a relationship was considered the norm for the lifestyle. Much of the culture was sort of the anti-traditional life mentality. That often included monogamy. I'm not saying there is anything right or wrong with this lifestyle. Many heterosexuals have followed the same practices, but having been forced into the shadows of mainstream society, a counter culture developed in the gay community. One that went against traditions like monogamy. What Zamora and Sasser were doing by being a relationship, was considered too vanilla for many in the gay community. While many same sex couples flock to alter, not all wanted this life and not all do. Even more daring Zamora and Sasser would flirt with the idea of marriage. Zamora even admitted he wish he could have children at one point to Rachael on the show. However marriage was something they both seem to want, but Zamora feelings towards leaving his family on the East coast was an issue.

When Zamora returned to Miami to briefly visit his family, he gave the impression of them as a very loving and understand family. They were worried about his health. They showered him with love and affection from the moment they saw him. By all accounts they seemed very accepting of him, it was assumed his sexuality was included in that package. While Zamora was in Florida, he ran a fever and had trouble finding a doctor or hospital that would see him. Along with all Zamora covered, the issue  of young people not being able to afford health insurances, especially those with HIV status, was also brought up briefly.

When Zamora returned home to San Francisco, he and his partner became engaged and arranged for a ceremony to exchange vows and rings. There was a small ceremony done on TV on the "Real World" San Francisco and this was the first same sex vow exchange ceremony ever televised in the United States. Although Zamora friend and roommate came to celebrate, Zamora family were noticeably missing. Nothing was said about this, it is assumed they simply couldn't travel across country. At the end of the program, Zamora and Sasser drive off together to start a new life as a couple. Things seemed to be looking up for the two.

Sadly not long after the Real World San Francisco aired the following year, Zamora became very ill and did not recover. He returned to his home in Miami, to be close to his family. Sasser was with him, but was mistreated by Zamora family. They apparently were less accepting about Zamora's sexuality than he led the public to believe. They told Sasser, while Zamora was too sick to physically talk, he no longer needed a lover. Zamora died November 11, 1994 surround by his family, but was not allowed to be with his partner and spouse, Sasser. Sasser was not welcome at his lover's funeral. He left quietly soon after Zamora died in the hospital.

Sasser left the spot light for a while. He eventually opened up his own pastry restaurant in Washington DC in 2012. In time he legally married his partner Michael Kaplan in 2013, but sadly Sasser died August 7th 2013 of  mesothelioma. He was 44 years old. He died having achieved so much in his short life, but without the fame. He was a humble part of the history the LGBTQ community, with much he had helped accomplished in the long struggle of equality and human compassion. Sasser was a man who lived and loved, but also went a step further. He made the decision to dedicate his life unselfishly towards changing the world for the better, even if he didn't get to enjoy it as the generations later on will.
Twitted by Judd Winick

I hope in time we will remember theses two men as the martyr's of love and acceptance they truly were. For they gave up privacy and lived much in the public eye so that others would not feel alone in their struggles. They gave the world a sacrifice through their love, their life and even their death. They helped the older generation move past old time prejudice and raise the new generation with a level of acceptance that transformed the 1990s life as cold and bigoted. There is etiquette and a level of respect that wasn't there in 25 years ago. Theses are truly two lives that didn't live in vain.

Friday, February 19, 2016

Don't Budget Hard, Budget Wise!

I know I have been away, but things have been hectic. On a positive note I should be starting a training program that I'm looking forward too. Though I have tried to write several articles, I found the stress has been oppressing my skills and I had to result to sharing other peoples wonderful work. However powerful my little may be and I'm glad to give them whatever boast my page can provide.

More recently I dedicated more effort into looking for ways to keep my budget in order. Being unemployed is a good way to learn  how to save money and how to buckle down on spending. So as I shared the reusable tampon, I thought of all the other ways I figured out on my own how to save money. Feeling more original, I provide my little list of saving tips! Not all of this is healthy or ideal, but sometimes you just have to go with what you have.

Like Bacon?
I admit I enjoy pork bacon. I love it in fact! However the price of bacon has been very high and it became a guilty pleasure I learned to live without. Then I discovered for $7.99 at my grocery store, I could buy 48 oz of bacon chunks, instead of slices! I have to admit I like it so much better t his way! I can use a small pan rather for bacon chunks, than have to stretch out bacon strips. Also it has lasted a very long time in my house, rather than one or two meals.

  • You can also save money on butter, buy storing the uncooked bacon fat and use it to butter pans for eggs or pancakes. You don't need to use nearly as much as you would butter. Thats a big money saver!

Any Coffee Drinker's out there?
Buying coffee in bulk, helps a lot, but is still ranges from $6-10. If you like your coffee light to medium, you can save money by buying dark coffee. Rather than your usual preference level darker coffee allows you to use a lot less coffee than you normally would. You may have to do some experimenting. Remember if you make it too strong, just add some water. It is better to go a little too strong than too light. This technique could make the coffee last twice as long than usual, depending how dark you like it.

I've seen the prices of a half a gallon of ice coffee and all I can say is THEFT! Seriously, save yourself tons of cash, buy simply keeping a pictcher in your fridge to dispose of the hot coffee (after its cooled to down) no one finishes in the pot. Why waste good coffee, then buy ice coffee? That simply doesn't compute with me! Its really too easy not too! You throw in some sugar first (because sugar dissolves better when liquid is added not sugar added to liquid) then the coffee, creamers and ice. Stir and you are done. Don't worry about the sugar rule when adding coffee to about cup worth of remaining liquid. It should be pretty sugary already, though add more for the amount of coffee you are adding to the container.

Paper Towels are a waste and bad for the Environment! 
I can't afford to waste money on paper towels! Its literally that simple, I don't have the funds for it. Here some alternatives! 
  • Dish Towels and wash cloth are always ideal.
  • Rags! Your kid out grows a shirt with a big stain in it, rather than make your next kid wear it just rip it up and use them to wipe up a spill, clean a your cabinets, etc... 
  • Dirty Laundry. Why not, if your are going to wash it any way? Just make sure your spill doesn't stain the fabric. Great for water spills!
  • Old Newspapers. Newspapers are great way for those dirty old messy spills like oil, blood, animal mess. 
  • Coffee Filters! They disposable, but are less paper. Great for small spills and messes. 
If you don't have a washer machine, cleaning all those rags can be a hassle. To clean them as often as needed you can run them through a dishwasher if you have one or put them in a pot of boiling water for and line dry.

You can also avoid spills messes with a lot more easy with a counter cover or even refrigerator tray cover. For a counter cover, a cutting board often works. Make your coffee or sandwich over the cutting board and simply rinse off and dry when you are done.

 Refrigerator spills are always a nightmare! I have to thank my mother-in-law for this idea, she lines her refrigerator with old rectangle shaped trays (literally like the ones at a fastfood restaurant) and place mats inside the trays, on the bottom of the draws and under them. If some meat leaks or milk spills, the mess is contained to one tray or matt and easy to take out and clean. This saves you from long hours of clean up and you use less products and wipes in doing so. 

Cleaning products! 
You honestly don't need a lot of different sprays and products to clean your home. Most things can be cleaned with
  • Vinegar is great for counters, glass, dish water, floors, laundry and bathrooms.
  • Citrus like lemons and oranges, perfect to add to vinegar for extra strength and a nicer smell. 
  • Rubbing Alcohol added to water, disinfects very well. Works for floors, dishes, laundry, counters, kitchens and bathrooms.
  • Peroxide is great for taking out tough stains like blood. Perfect for laundry, fabrics and carpets. 
  • Baking Soda is great for things that need to be scrubbed from toilets to dishes.

Watering down your Milk 
Milk is a must for most families. Many people fall into the trend of low fat to skim milk. Rather than waste your money on theses watered downed milks, simply buy whole milk and the water yourself! You can find your own ratio of milk and water your family likes. You can save money and calories doing this.

Nut Milk
Many people are getting into alternative milks for a variety of reasons. Some for health, socially conscious or just like the taste of nut milk like Almond milk, They also can cost almost twice as much as regular milk, but that doesn't have to be. Nut milks are very easy to make and are most made up of water.

You need 1 part nuts for 4 time as much water. There are different ways to sweeten the nuts to your liking. You will also need to have a food pulverizer blender to break down soil nuts into a liquid.

Here is a list of recipes of different nut milks to try!

Fresh Herb's
Fresh herbs can make any meal special, but they tend to be very pricey! Save money by buying the plants yourself. They don't require a lot of maintenances and will provide you with lots of healthy and tasty food and teas. Yes you can make teas with your fresh herbs, like mint and basil!

Reuse food containers whenever possible! 

Almost everyone has done it. Chineses food containers are often the more favored. I remember people saving the soup containers the most! Tubs for butter/margarine is popular, but don't forget to save your glass jars! Jams, pasta sauce, pickles, baby food and other items we use come in glass containers and are great to reuse. You could make the same product from scratch or you could use them to store flavored waters, parfaits and other foods that do better in glass containers. Then coffee tin's are great for storing greece, sharp objects like nails (not child proof,) making art musical instrument's or metaling down if you can do so safely. Another often rarely reused product are plastic bags. They can be reused 2-5 times more, depending on use. I don't recommend reusing them if they contained meat or spoiled food. Pretty much anything messy. 

I hope theses ideas find all well and I hope you will find these suggestions helpful for you and your family. Hera's blessings upon all you who keep a home!

By Sailko