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2012: A Year in Review

Tonight is the last Friday night of 2012, exactly one week after the world was supposed to end. A lot has happened in 2012, and I decided to highlight everything significant that happened to me this year, month by month.


It’s been one heck of a year at GingerSass.


Not much happened in January. I turned 22, which was actually a better birthday than my 21st. My friend convinced the bartender at a local bar that I should be given a free bottle of champagne because my 21st coincided with a blizzard and I didn’t get to celebrate. I received a stuffed unicorn and zebra print seat covers from my parents. I, once again, pleaded to Ellen as to why we should celebrate our birthday together and she ignored me. Ya know, the usual.


I made it onto PostSecret for the first time. Whitney Houston died and I was devastated so I wrote a poem. Ryan Murphy pissed me off so I wrote him an angry tumblr post turned into a letter, which he never responded to.


March was a very important month for me– I STARTED GINGERSASS! (All of the posts posted before March 25th were transferred from my tumblr site.) Fun fact– GingerSass was started because I was pretending to be an investigative reporter at the Sex, Love, and Dating Conference. Also, Adrienne Rich died, which devastated me. A lot.


April freaking rocked. Highlights of the month include:

volunteering with NOH8 and later being featured on their website
meeting Frank Warren at my first PostSecret event
saw an opera and a concert in one week
my Poefy (poetry-wifey) was fantabulous in The Vagina Monologues and I wrote about it


May was a good month for me. Obama came out in support of gay marriage. I won an award. I graduated college. Life was pretty awesome to me in May.


June was an interesting month. I started it out writing about suicide after finding out that the partner of my friend who had committed suicide also committed suicide. I wrote a bunch of 10 Minute Musings for a grad class and reconnected with myself. I came out to my family as a blogger, with the support of Cady McClain, aka Dixie from All My Children. I even inspired her alter-ego, Suzy F*cking Homemaker, to create an internet meme. Suzy also encouraged me to write a post on why I want to be a celesbian…so I did. I also  booked and performed my first paid poetry gig, which was pretty darn awesome.


July started off with a roadtrip to Massachusetts with Poefy to the wedding of Taylor and Mike. I basked in the glory of cheeseball goodness. (This post is still one of my most-visited posts, btw.) I fell in love with my job over the summer. I also figured out What Obama Taught Me. I indulged in Restaurant Week. Then I got serious about my blog, invested in an actually site host, got free magnets, and was overwhelmed by the idea of going to BlogHer. I also posted about teacher dress codes, which is also one of my most-visited posts of all time.


August started off with me going to BlogHer’12 and MY LIFE CHANGING FOREVER. I made so many blogging friends through BlogHer, and I’m going to (eventually) categorize them on her so you can so who I’m reading. I also won a happy hour party in August and celebrated with wings and food at a local bar with my friends. Woohoo! To top August off, I started my new job, got an apartment to go along with it, and ruminated on why Res Life will always be a part of me.


September was an emotional, crazy month. I had an awesome first week of September. I was a national runner up to be the next Verizon Ultimate Insider, mentioned on AfterEllen, and yogurt was on sale. I made it through the one year deathaversary of my friend’s suicide, and I participated in yet another walk for dead people. September was emotional, tough, and trying, but I got through it.


October started off with me reflecting on how much I love my car. I also met Jack Hanna, which was a childhood dream come true. I had a kickass lesson on bullying on National Coming Out Day and fell even more in love with teaching. I went to the Dodge Poetry Festival for the first time as an educator, and I helped my students fall in love with poetry. I met Geena Davis and she told me, “You’re changing the world to be a place I want to be in. Keep up the good work.” I saw Melissa Etheridge in concert. I survived Hurricane Sandy, was really upset that Sandy canceled Halloween, and was upset by the whole Sandy experience.


November feels like such a long time ago. I participated in NaBloPoMo for the first time and wrote about how I’m a Jersey girl, how Sandy domesticated me, and what Obama’s win meant to me. I also talked about bacon, ghosts, and just how important it was that I found my voice again by going to poetry open mics. I cut my hair, took silly webcam pics, and thought about my future. I ended my first NaBloPoMo experience by being grateful for stickers, and really having peace in knowing that I’m on the right track for what I want to do with my life.


December flew by. I think the biggest thing that happened to me this month, right before my student teaching internship ended, was that I realized why I want to teach. I arranged for an assembly for my Creative Writing students, and  it really changed my relationship with them forever. It taught one student to not be afraid to be who she is, and this, in return, encouraged me to come out to her. She then wrote me a note and made me cry. Then the Newtown, Connecticut shooting happened and it hit really close to home, as it was the first school shooting that has happened since I began student teaching. My students asked me if I would take a bullet for them, and I was able to respond honestly and say yes. Student teaching ended, and I managed to make it to the parking lot after school before crying. I got creeped out by the whole Elf on a Shelf phenomenon, but secretly loved my creepy little elf.

2012 was a year of growth. I rediscovered my writing identity, and GingerSass became a very large part of who I am. I’m grateful for the opportunities blogging has given me this past year, and I cannot wait to see what 2013 holds.

Happy New Year, folks! What are you looking forward to in 2013?

PS I’m not sure if I’ll be able to attend or not, but if you’ll be at home this NYE, consider joining in on #Tweetin13. There are prizes, fun people, and it’s hosted by two of my favorite ladies. Get on it!

NaBloPoMo 2012: November 6th– Naps for all!

Tuesday, November 6, 2012
If you were President of the United States, what would be your first act in office?

I’d probably take a nap as my first act as President.

Think about it– after months and months of campaigning, after long hours of trying to convince others that I’m the best person for the job, after beating someone in a race I’m probably not even qualified to run in, you’d better believe I’m taking a nap after all is said and done.

Actually, first I’m having a drink. (Blue LIT, please.) THEN I’m taking a nap.

After napping in the Presidential suite (which, through 6 degrees of separation, would mean I’m sleeping in the same bed as Michelle Obama and her arms), and after lip syncing to “We Are the Champions” and “Party in the USA,” in the karaoke bar I’ve asked to be installed in the White House prior to my moving in, I’ll go make a few phone calls. I need to unite my dream team, kind of like Captain Planet.

VP is a tough one. Everyone knows that VP does all of the hard work, and the President just has to be the scapegoat. I think I’ll make Rachel Maddow my VP. I’d probably spend my entire term drooling over her and she’d be all “Kailynn! Madame President! Are you even listening to me?!” and I’d be all “Uh-huh…Tell me again?” and she’d get all cute and frustrated with me and repeat herself. This would be a constantly repeated cycle. Obviously.

I’d keep Hilary Clinton as Secretary of State because I love her pantsuits.

Tina Fey would be in charge of…well, I’m not sure. I’ll get back to Tina Fey.

Geena Davis would be appointed Secretary of Education because she is one intelligent lady and she also makes me drool. Plus, you know, we have a history.

The Bloggess can be in charge of Homeland Security because her campaign slogan is “Free Unicorns for Everyone.” She wants to free any captive unicorns that are out there. Obviously this is a job for Homeland Security. Plus, she already has plans to escape the Zombie apocalypse.

Oh. I guess I should throw some guys into the mix. I wouldn’t want my administration to seem like it has binders full of women.

Crap. I don’t know anything about politics.

All I have left in my cabinet are Secretaries of Agriculture, Commerce, Defense, Energy, Health and Human Services, Housing and Urban Development, Interior, Labor, Transportation, Treasury, and Veterans Affairs, as well as the Attorney General.

I’ll let Rachel Maddow and Geena Davis decide who gets to be the rest of my cabinet. Hilary can help too, as long as she’s not wearing an orange pantsuit. I really hate the color orange. They should also make sure Tina Fey gets a job somewhere because I love her dearly, and, although I realize they’re not the same person, Liz Lemon is totally my soulmate.

Oh. Back to the prompt. After having a drink, singing karaoke in my private karaoke bar (which actually sounds quite depressing now that I think about it, unless I force Geena, Rachel, Liz, and The Bloggess to sing with me), and appointing my Cabinet, I’ll make same-sex marriage legal.

Because, let’s be real…my term in the White House is going to be really freakin’ gay. And I would love to get married on the White House lawn and have the reception in my newly-installed White House karaoke bar.

What would you do with your first act as President?

(PS I just Googled it. The White House really doesn’t have a karaoke bar…yet.)

Student tested, Geena Davis approved

This past week or so has been nothing short of inspiring.

I wrote about the anti-bullying lesson I gave on National Coming Out Day.

I wrote about how moving it was to be at the Dodge Poetry Festival as an educator for the first time.

On Tuesday night, the boost of inspiration I had as an educator and as a writer was upped even more. I had the honor of being able to hear Geena Davis speak at Rutgers University.

As soon as school let out, I went home, changed into comfortable shoes, and headed over to Kirkpatrick Chapel where the lecture was being held.

I managed to be the first person on line. I guess that’s what happens when you arrive for a 7pm event at 4:45!

Geena was giving the 2012 Susan & Michael J. Angelides Lecture. Many people recognize Geena for her roles in Thelma & Louise, A League of Their Own, Beetlejuice, and, my personal favorite, the short-lived television series “Commander in Chief.” What many people don’t realize is how eloquent, intelligent, and hilarious Geena is in real-life. (They also don’t realize how tall and gorgeous she is…or how awesome her voice sounds in a chapel.)

Geena Davis is hilarious when she speaks.

Geena spoke about the need to educate the public on the gender disparity found in Hollywood, and the need to empower women in every aspect of society. She specifically expressed her concerns that Hollywood is teaching children to not notice the disparity, especially since there are many gender differences found in G-rated films. “We are saying that women and girls don’t take up half the space in the world. We are telling them that females and girls are less valuable in life,” she explained. I’m not going to continue this post by repeating everything she said, but I will encourage you to check out the Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media, which she founded in 2004 to change the way females are portrayed in feature films.

Geena also said, in regards to the future, “I like to consider myself an impatient optimist. The time for change is NOW.”

One of my first lessons I student-taught was a lesson on Constitution Day, and the role of the President. I had my students define what a leader was to them, and then I had them analyze the following clip from “Commander in Chief” to decide if Mackenzie Allen had what it took to be a strong leader.

After Geena finished speaking on Tuesday night, I went in to fangirl mode and rushed to the front of the room to meet her. Many people were having her sign their copies of her films, but I went up to her with something else in mind.

Two gingers go into a chapel, and the one begins to tell the other about her lesson plans…

Me: “Hi. You were great tonight! I’m sorry to be joining to mob of people swamping you. I have a weird request. I was wondering if you could please sign my lesson plan?”

Geena Davis: “Okay….?”

Me: “I’m currently student teaching in an urban district with students that really lack role models. Most of them don’t have a lot of hope for their futures, and I used a clip from “Commander in Chief” to start a discussion on what a leader is. Now, a lot of them DO have more excitement about their futures, and some have even called you their role model.”

Geena Davis: (pauses, then smiles) “You’re changing the world to be a place I want to be in. Keep up the good work.” (borrow my pen and signs lesson plan)

Geena Davis’ assistant: “Wow, that’s amazing! Now you can tell your supervisor Geena Davis signed off on your lesson plan. Good for you.”

I then proceeded to grin, not hyperventilate, and thank Geena before running out the door and practically crying.

If I’m ever having another tough day of teaching, or if anyone ever gives me shit, I’m going to remember this moment forever and say, “It’s okay. I’m Geena Davis approved.”

Good gawd she is amazing.

I wanted to end with this photo because it looks like the “Commander in Chief” is driving away…Yes, I got a paparazzi shot of Geena driving off into the night.