Tag Archives: feminism

Tuesday Morning Press #6: Music at My Funeral, Packing


I don’t have yoga this morning because of the onslaught of holiday mayhem, my instructor knows better. But I’m gonna pretend I do so that I can induce whatever possible anxiety I can into creating a fantastiche post for you.

My kids were bickering this morning, “Mom, he said ‘Every non-negative real number a has a unique non-negative square root, called the principal square root, which is denoted by \scriptstyle \sqrt{a}, where √ is called the radical sign or radix.’ and I say that peanut butter on a sneaker equals six.”

I couldn’t take it anymore. I had just finished a lecture on the current (ongoing) sadness in the Middle East and how we should think positive thoughts and send love and kindness to the region (along with a couple prayers) and then they started in on their peanut butter issue. So I turned on some music. After “Superman” by Five for Fighting, My Song, The Song of My Life, the one I would listen to before every job interview (which I always NAILED!) came on. The song I’ve never said jokingly, “This is the song I want played at the end of my funeral when everyone walks out of the Chuck E. Cheese together,” came on: “Tipitina” by Professor Longhair from The Big Easy soundtrack. I need to add this request mandate to add it to my funeral arrangements to my will. Not kidding. People need to laugh their butts off when I’m gone. I laugh my butt off a lot. That’s what I’m known for.

Indulge me:

Hearing this song, whenever it is played, is sort of like stopping for the National Anthem for me. I have to drop whatever funky bad mood I might happen to be in and get it on with my bad self on the dance floor, wherever that may happen to be. You wanna know what Longhair’a talking about? Look up the lyrics. What planet are you from? Who gives a shit if you don’t know what the what he’s saying? So I cranked it up. My kids watched me with fascination, horror, amusement and then interest and joined me in bad dancing in the kitchen this morning. We were a little later than usual, but that’s ok by me.

I realized, with no shortage of “Excelsior!” that maybe in a past life I was Cajun or from New Orleans or something, because another song I also love, a kid’s song, is this:

It’s been a good week. Uh, Mol, it’s only Tuesday. I signed up last Friday to be a consultant with The Pampered Chef. I’m pretty psyched about it. I came up with my own tag line, “Purveyors of fine pans big enough to hit your husband with and nice enough to cook in.” No? Yeah, that ending-a-sentence / phrase-in-a-preposition thing gets me every time.

Regrettably, I’m not likely going to be able to refer to some of my favorite products with the names I’ve adopted for them at shows. There is no “Bitch-n-Stir” or “Crank-n-Maul” or “Twist-n-Smash” (that tidy moniker was taken by GE for their mammogram equipment) in their product catalog. Trust me, I checked. I haven’t earned money in a while, and we all know what happened the last time I tried to get a job. I am a natural extrovert and as much as I like love writing, it’s a pretty lonely gig. Stephen King didn’t write about Jack Torrence and his psychoses issues for nothing. So I’ve determined that getting out of the house, perhaps running for my life from a deranged unknown client on occasion, might be good for me. My ultimate goal with doing this, is to save enough cash to pay for my own certification so then I can teach yoga. I’ve been practicing yoga for 14 years, so why not generate a little income, eh? We’ll see. The way I figure, the less I think about this, the better. Because once I start thinking about things, I inevitably end up not doing them.

In preparation for the deluge of mail messages I’m likely to get as a Pampered Chef consultant I cleaned out my email inbox of about 1600 mail notes. Most were from subscriptions to the Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, NY Times and Playgirl Daily OM. I am now proudly seeing above this blog window:

Cheese and rice! 55 already?! fratzikcramin grdniktobin…

>DING!< one more! Trasticbackin rastofbrika…

It was pretty amazing, going through that inbox. I relived an entire year: I saw email messages from people I don’t speak to anymore, and I rediscovered a long-lost pastime which has literally hit. the. skids. since I opened my Grass Oil fan page (link at right if you care to join) on Facebook: I used to KNIT. Not well. But I did and I found it incredibly relaxing and fun.

Speaking of Facebook, I’m really sick of it. The endless swarms of political posts this past presidential campaign drained the shit crap shit out of me and I saw divisiveness I’d never suspected. Then yesterday I had occasion to learn of a new (to me) blogger and I read her post about why she’s dialing back in a major league way on Facebook and I happen to agree with her. The entire premise / under carriage of Facebook is misogyny (if you never saw The Social Network you really need to), as it was created one night during Mark Zuckerberg’s drunken rejection from a girl. To get even, he created a network called “Facesmash” wherein he and his lonely hearts bland would compare female students’ faces with that of livestock and then people could rate them. That. Sorta. Burns. (What bums me out more than misogyny is female:female misogyny.)

So I’m thinking about it. But as I said before, the more I think about things, the more I tend not to do them. And if I truly TRULY listen to my intuition, go with my gut and my spirit, I should be off Facebook by the end of the year. It’s also for me a COMPLETE time vacuum. I am NOT well disciplined when it comes to that stuff. I don’t play any of those games on it, I just read posts and blogs and news articles and stuff. So I’m not on Facebook that much, but I am on it more than I’d like. I removed the app from my phone about two weeks ago and I don’t miss it at all. Plus my phone is super fast now.

I’ve got about 20 minutes more before I have to stop and edit. I have a date with my dog, The Murph; we are going for a trot (he trots, I run jog).

Yesterday was the deadline for my Gratitude in 100 words blog opportunity. I have six submissions. I am grateful for them all. With my submission, it will be seven and seven as you know is a lucky number. I had no expectations: I’m a little blog, I have a modest following and only a few pieces I’ve ever written have been super shared. The most recent, with 82  83(!) shares on Facebook (ok, six were mine) was the post I wrote about my personal experience with PreMenstrual Dysphoric Disorder – PMDD – don’t know what dysphoria is? It’s the opposite of euphoria, which means giddy, uncontrollably happy. So dysphoria means… mmm, yeah. Quick synopsis: if you have a uterus or someone you love does, and she acts like a she-werewolf a few days before her “moon week” as I like to call it, please read. This is real, it’s a serious condition, some women injure themselves or others, it’s unbearable and help and community is available. I wrote about it in my typical fashion, complete with photographs of vampire harpies and straight jackets. You’d expect nothing less, oui?

Another post, which was not shared at all, but was favored by 14 other bloggers here on WordPress (the most ever for me!) was my most recent post about how what we blog or say online can affect our children. I suspect people don’t like being told what to do. I suspect people don’t like that little tug at their gut when they read what I wrote. I suspect that some people don’t know how to write about themselves but want to write, so unwittingly, they put their kids in the cross hairs, of possible cyber weirdness. My motivation for writing that piece was basically out of personal guilt that I’ve done some of the same and I’ve been asked by my kids to not do it so much. Another motivation pertains to parents oversharing about their children’s problems: I think some people are just unaware of their own deep, and craven need for attention, so they write about their kids’ dilemmas and issues, not in a clinical way, but in a “woe is me, I can’t take it anymore” way to garner sympathy. I’ve seen it all over the web. This unawareness can create some pret-ty fubar dynamics between parents and their children, the least of which is codependency.

I’m reading a book (yes!), The Four Agreements, and it’s fantastic. It’s a little woo-woo at times, but the gist is that we create our own hell and heaven on Earth. The agreements themselves are elemental and simple. Adhering to the agreements is quite another proposition, but I think it will be good for me.

With Thanksgiving upon us, we are planning a jaunt out of town for a night and I asked my kids to pack. I gave a list of what to pack and I enumerated how many bed buddies and socks, etc. It was pretty cut and dried. In less than three minutes one of the team came down and said, “All done!” This morning, I double checked, as experience has taught me that I must because I don’t care who you are, but you can’t wear a Lego car and a box of Kudos bars to dinner at a nice restaurant. What I found packed did not disappoint: one shoe, four pairs of socks, a remote control Dodge Viper, fish food and a pair of nice chinos.

Who’s ready for a road trip?!

If not – check this out:

I’ve provided enough links to my own content here to occupy your time and keep you out of minor family bickering over the weekend. Here’s one more if you didn’t see it: my hilarious and cogent post on Peevish Penman about how I’m not writing for NaNoWriMo this month.

Have a wonderful wonderful holiday. The next time you hear from me will be tomorrow night for Thanksgiving when I post the entries for the Gratitude in 100, which I’m about to write and put on a scheduled publish.

Thank you.

ps – man, I’d be late for yoga if I had it today…

International Women’s Day: I’m Late to the Party, but My Roots are Done


Yesterday was International Women’s Day.  I wanted to post something yesterday but am late to this party.  I was busy driving my children around to either soccer, tennis, guitar, chess, or basketball. Or I was walking the dog, chatting with and supporting or being supported by friends, remembering to take my vitamins, going to yoga, having lunch with another friend, wishing I could drink coffee after 4pm, cleaning the house, watching the kids play out front so they don’t get killed by car drivers, folding laundry, starting a new load of wash, ovulating, unloading the dishwasher, loading it from the dishes left on the table after breakfast and making dinner.  After that, I fell asleep reading a book. 

International Women’s Day started in the 1900s which was a time of great cultural change.  Anyone who’s watched “Downton Abbey” knows this.  The first organized march of 15,000 women was held in New York City in 1908 to demand shorter working hours, better pay and voting rights.  I look back at what I comprehend of Women’s History and I stagger at the tremendous changes that have occurred in the last 104 years since that first march.  I am grateful for the changes those 15,000 women effected: Title IX and ERA are the least political and so I’ll stop there. 

Just so you know, it was first called “International Working Women’s Day.” 

This is fascinating (from Wikipedia): In many regions, the day lost its political flavour, and became simply an occasion for men to express their love for women in a way somewhat similar to a mixture of Mother’s Day and Valentine’s Day.”  

So it turns out someone thought they could just mush it into another day of loving us. Not so fast, we might have a headache. 

Turns out there is an International Men’s Day.  It’s not the Superbowl. 

~ ~ ~

I  have many women friends who are writers, activists, nurses, veterinarians, teachers, yoginis, politicians, therapists, personal trainers, advocates, film makers, maintenance workers, educators, athletes, healers, chefs, actors, lawyers, wives, ex-wives, step-mothers, musicians, artists, poets, doctors, daughters, aunts, grandmothers, sisters and mothers.  In my current occupation, mother-woman, I am all these things . . . except the grandmother, ex-wife and step-mother.   

So given that I’m a wife-daughter-aunt-sister-mother-woman, it’s perfectly acceptable then that I’d be a little behind celebrating International Women’s Day.  What with being celebrated so gloriously yesterday.  I’m just getting around to returning all the phone calls and cataloguing the gifts I received.  Really.   

One of my favorite songs of all time, “Mary” by Patty Griffin is about Jesus’ mother, Mary (perhaps you’ve heard of her), and in it Patty paints a wonderful scene and sums up how it is for a mother-woman (divine or not):

Jesus says ‘Mother I couldn’t stay another day longer’
Flys right by and leaves a kiss upon her face
While the angels are singin’ His praises in a blaze of glory
Mary stays behind and starts cleaning up the place

As testament to my mother-womanhood, Thing 2 (11) made a comment yesterday that was innocently oblivious to the International Women’s Day phenomenon.  He looked at my hair and said in a tone that could not belie the shock on his face and behind his copper eyes, “Mom! WHAT’S THAT WHITE LINE IN YOUR HAIR?!” 

I wasn’t wearing a baseball cap. This is the same child who tells me daily how beautiful I am. He’s a charmer (albeit sincere) and anyone with a 9-12 year-old daughter within a mile until he starts driving better prepare themselves because he’s a sweetie too.  I had to explain to him that my hair isn’t #4N:, intensely natural dark brown, all over. 

Today, I write to you from the cold office that rests upon the front of my home. It’s 49˚ outside so that means it’s close to 60˚ in here.  Along with shivering in my office, I write to you prompted by Thing 2 and his shock as #4N soaks into the strands atop my head.  I have been going gray since high school.  

Hmm . . . apparently only English-speaking and Spanish-speaking women color their own hair because the instructions are only in their respective languages. 

I’m glad I still have the gloves on my hands because every once in a while I have an itch from the chemicals on my head and I have to scratch it.  I’m a pro though and the color won’t get on my keyboard because I’ve strategically put on a brown sweater that should nicely match the dye that I’ll rub on it after scratching my scalp.  In the warmer months, I color my hair wearing a formerly white beat-up Ralph Lauren Polo button-down shirt  which looks like a bird that ate only chocolate followed me around one day outside and compulsively ‘shat’ all over me.  With the brown sweater, it just looks like I’ve been pelted with something browner than the sweater.  I love saying “shat”; it’s past tense for “shit” right?

This is how I celebrate my womanhood. 

When this process is over, in about 10 minutes, I’ll go rinse and then change into clothes for the day.  Along with ability and choice to color my hair, another great thing about being a first-world woman is that I often wonder if what I’m wearing is suitable for my “age.” I’m 44 and although I’m exercise regularly I have become distracted of late by a yet another phrase to designate that I don’t know what I’m doing: “age appropriate clothing.” So along with wondering if my roots need coloring, I’m concerned if what I’m wearing would make children cry or offend the Blue-Haired Ladies of the Order of Sweater and Pearls. 

“Screw ’em,” says my inner Eve.  

But then I argue, “Oh Eve, don’t be such a rebel.  They’re women too. They might have marched in 1908.  We should honor and celebrate them also by dressing appropriately.  Even if they judge me by my hem or my waistline.  They wouldn’t do that, would they? They’re pro-women!” 

Eve retorts, “Whatev.  Hey. Do men wonder if they’re not dressing for their age? Bahhahahah! Never heard of it.  A t-shirt and jeans on a guy is the same as a t-shirt and jeans on a boy kid or a t-shirt and jeans on an 80-year-old.  That wardrobe (mal)function happens all the time. Go for it. I cleared the way.  Adam still wears his grape leaf. ”  

So after putting on a hoodie and sweatpants, I’ll put in my contact lenes and use a rotating  electric exfoliator brush on my face To Get It 6x Cleaner Than Washing By Hand.  Then I’ll give 2 pumps worth of “Intense Wrinkle Repair” moisturizer that I will cover with “Healthy Skin SPF 15” moisturizer with alpha-hydroxy and vitamins.  If I give a damn, which I usually don’t, I’ll put on some tinted sunscreen that will help me not Deny My Age, but Defy My Age! 

~ ~ ~

I’m back.  I just rinsed out the color and it looks about as natural as that of the alien female crew member on “Galaxy Quest.”  My son definitely won’t view me with confusion and horror today when he comes home.  

I only just discovered that yesterday was The Day yesterday in the late morning, I didn’t get any head’s up. I guess my Woman card has been revoked. 

Wait a minute.  If my card has been revoked, what about all the so-called scandalous females?  

A couple years ago, I read Female Chauvinist Pigs by Ariel Levy,  and I hoped it would be a searing examination of the state of feminism and its progress and challenges.  I also hoped it would sear and indict females who have managed to reduce the entire gender by indulging in the fantasies of the male-dominated media establishment.  Sadly, I was underwhelmed; it was a lot like a blind date.  In fact the book exposed me to greater confusion and overall sense of “waah” than I had when I started it; it told me about stuff I’d never considered.  It made me wish I never opened it.  To me it blamed the state of our collective anti-female woes on all of us.  Why, for not killing the errant females?  And I really resented it.  Levy did talk about how men entice/pay/intoxicate young women to do things like expose themselves and smash face with each other for “Girls Gone Wild” and the like, but in the final analysis, when it comes to sex (as a verb — not to be confused with “gender”): we are all acting on instinct.  Under the influence or not — if someone wants to release or meet the pheromones, it’s gonna happen without any permission at all. 

If we’re gonna go for blaming it on the guys, what better chance of seeing how they really are when women aren’t around than by insinuating ourselves into their scene? To this end, I read Self-Made Man by Norah Vincent which was utterly fascinating.  It’s a first-person memoir of Vincent’s commitment for an entire year to conduct herself outside her apartment in drag, disguised as a man as she engaged in male-only activities with at least three separate sets of male groups.  One group was a bowling team, another was a professional arena where she joined her male colleagues as they went to  strip clubs.  The third scenario was her most trying experience: she joined in men’s group therapy.  The book was compassionate toward men and put a lot of my assumptions about men on their heads as well as confirmed things that the supposed sixth sense of motherhood (we all have it, actually, we just need to listen to it) already told me: all children, regardless of gender need to feel safe to express themselves emotionally.  And, at the risk of repeating myself (but I will):  in the final analysis, when it comes to sex (as a verb — not to be confused with “gender”): we are all acting on instinct.  Under the influence or not — if someone wants to release or meet the pheromones, it’s gonna happen without any permission at all.  Vincent subsequently had herself committed to a mental hospital after writing the book for the emotional toll the experience had on her.  She chronicled her time in recovery in Voluntary Madness.  

What yesterday made me think about was my commitment to the opinion that if we’re going to honor women, we can’t pick and choose.  We don’t get to say, “this woman is worth celebrating, but this one isn’t.”

So when we celebrate Women next March 8, you need to ask yourself: do we celebrate all women, not just Susan B. Anthony, Rosa Parks, Helen Keller, Anne Frank, Jackie Kennedy, Condoleeza Rice, the Virgin Mary, Annie Sullivan and Eve? Because if we are to be fair, we have to celebrate all the others: Anna Nicole Smith, Lindsay Lohan, Mary Magdelen,  Lot’s Wife (who apparently didn’t get a name), Bathsheba, Casey Anthony, Condoleeza Rice (2), Vanna White, Marilyn Monroe, Andrea Yates, The Real Housewives of Wherever, and the evil step mothers in all the Grimms Fairy Tales.  Of course, to make it easier and politically correct, we can be obtuse and just celebrate their “Essence,” their inherent goodness, and not necessarily what they’ve done, committed, achieved because or in spite of their gender.  That’s really safest, right?  

If you watch “30 Rock“, you should get where I’m going: If we Celebrate International Women’s Day, we must celebrate smart and cheese-puff snarfing Liz Lemon and scheming, insecure hussy-actress Jenna Maroney: 

the captions: Jenna (upper): “Admit it, I look 10 years younger.”
Liz (lower): “No. Younger even. You look like a fetus.” 

What about the transgendered woman/man who had a baby? What do we celebrate there? 

Celebrate all you want, but I still think we’ve got a long way to go, and I’m not talking about equal pay.  I’m talking about fair treatment of women by women.  Women can be awfully picky and competitive and unsupportive of each other.  Ever hear of conflict between mothers-in-law and their daughters-in-law? How about sisters who fight?  The Devil Wears Prada? Or Death Becomes Her? Where does enmity this come from? Why are we snarky to each other behind each others’ backs? Or recall The Jerry Springer Show — why are we snarky to each others’ faces? Did men do this to us?  Is it the media that shapes our opinions of each other?  I wonder if aboriginal women in primitive cultures refer to one another in their vernacular as a “slut” or “bitch” or “stupid” or “fat” or “ugly” or “gold digger” or “useless.”  Maybe they do.  Maybe it’s not just a first-world problem.  

That’s why these days of commemoration confuse the hell out of me.  I choose to abstain.  I celebrate me and I celebrate you, whatever you are.  Unless you’re that transgendered man-woman-man that had a baby.  I just can’t get my arms around it. Sorry. 

The bottom line is that it’s complicated.  I hate labels.  And yes, I both celebrate and blame Eve, that minx. It‘s all her fault. That snake or legged reptile that was subsequently rendered legless for his betrayal had nothing to do with it.  Right? Oy.

But hey, my hair looks great. 

Thank you.