Monday, September 29, 2008

helloooooo out there....

so what does it take to get my friends to leave comments on my blog. hmmm. maybe i need a less intense topic.

let me tell you about fall in Kentucky. this is how i know it is really autumn. we have a collection of vibrant yellow finches that flit onto our feeders and through our bushes... this glorious bird with a unique call, and distinct habits. sometimes it gets into the bushes and clips its beak along the little branches and (i assume) sucks off all the bugs as if taking meat off a bone. if the flitting and singing is a clue - it makes the bird happy.

in winter the vibrant yellow disappears. i thought our first years that somehow the cold effected the change - like bunnies in Calgary turning white. but we have hardly seen the fifties yet, and yesterday 'my' finches were not yellow. i was shocked. it is fall. my finches prove it even if the weather doesn't.

i have lived in Kentucky for seven years. i love so much about my life. i love that the finches tell me winter is coming.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

brown trout and good men

I have just put two beautiful brown trout and one slightly smaller rainbow trout into the oven along with the roasting asparagus. Wild rice is simmering on the stovetop. It promises to be a lovely dinner.

I learned to cook brown trout in the first year of my marriage. Steve went fishing then, as now, and brought home two lovely brown trout. Always a learner, I decided to go to the library and get a recipe (obviously before and internet learning) so it could be delicious.

So it was on that day I learned about cooking fish, and I learned some things about life too. The occasion of those trout was the first time in my short married life that a man other than my husband tried to get me to 'be' with him. Funny how I think about him for the first time in over thirty years while I slice lemons and drizzle butter on these beautiful creatures.

As was normal, I took the city bus downtown to the library that day. Standing at a bus stop waiting and waiting, a man in a car with real estate signs on the side stopped and offered me a ride to the city center. I took it. (Come on - it was the seventies! Simpler times. Whatever.)

He was old. Probably 35. He seemed nice. I told him I was going to the library to get a recipe so I could cook my husband's brown trout and make supper for him. He asked me if I would stop for coffee at the hotel up ahead. I said no, I didn't have time. He put his hand on my leg and started to move it up, if you know what I mean, and smiling (creepily) said he thought I did have time. I felt scared. At the next light I jumped out. The bus was only a minute in coming. I was relieved to sit on its miserable hard bench and look out the dirty window as it bounced me toward the library.

So I came home that day slightly changed, and cooked a beautiful trout (that like this one smelled amazing) and I didn't say anything to my husband about it. The trout was so good it just didn't seem to matter. My lovely husband still brings me home brown trout to cook. And I hope the other man has hemmorhoids.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

on new language

When we find ourselves in a new reality the language we've commonly used to explain ourself to ourself, or to others, may fall short of fully capturing the new situation. Words are constantly being invented, tried out, and fitted into our daily life.

Today I learned a new word. It is, sadly, menopot. A menopot is the spare tire menopausal women aquire as yet another indignity of aging, as the fat they've accumulated around the hips and thighs over many years begins to defy gravity and migrate to the mid torso at the signal of certain hormones. Basically a weapon of mass (as opposed to mass destruction), the menopot is a general cause for the demise of self esteem, any possibility of finding a nicely fitting jacket and perhaps, the end of the 'little black dress.'

As a matter of clarification, a menopot is not to be confused with the all too common muffin top, prevalent in younger women. No, this particular diabolical trait locates itself a bit higher, and is a bit harder to defeat. The bulge, like the word, is apparently not going away.

Undaunted, however, I am making a call for women everywhere to own our language and find our own meaning for the term, menopot. Several leap to mind. First, menopot could refer to a new product, manufactured upon the legalizing of marijuana for the purpose of peace of mind for those who find themselves in mid life whitewater. "Here honey, have some menopot. You'll feel better." And you will. Both of you.

Relax!! all you conservatives, who are about to flog me, remember I AM CANADIAN! We legalized the devil weed years ago for medicinal purposes, and I think a good case, yes, a very good case, could be made that a woman in mid life who can no longer fit into her favorite jeans and jacket is, yes, indeed, in a condition that may well require medication.

Of lesser interest might be a woman's retirement fund - call it her menopot. One of the blessings of no longer being able to fit into high fashion is that her 401K has the chance to grow. And such a surge in personal riches might well be named, a menopot. Nice. A slight bulge in the middle feels much better when one imagines it in a beach chair, sitting by the ocean during an early-ish retirement.

Other than that, the only good reason I can think to use the term menopot might be to name a quaint little tea room the name ~ Chez Petit Menopot ~ and to secretly offer patrons a "menopot o' tea" (wink wink nudge nudge) which would link us back to the beginning of this blog.

So you see, I am coping. As best I can. Learning. Growing. Expanding my vocabulary. Becoming expressive. Tomorrow I may tackle the new term, "fem-bot" coined by a reporter and used on Rachel Maddow's political comments last night.

ps - my lovely assistant just suggested another - the menopot at the end of the rainbow ... hmmm... we could do something with that! It's either laugh or cry at this stage of the game!

Friday, September 19, 2008

I am setting this up to learn how to post a youtube video ... this is a video Rachel sent me ... it has some

Thursday, September 18, 2008

on the vagina vote

This is the story of our Grandmothers and Great-grandmothers;

They lived only 90 years ago.

Remember, it was not until 1920 that women were granted the right

to go to the polls and vote.

The women were innocent and defenseless, but they were jailed

nonetheless for picketing the White House, carrying signs asking

for the vote.

And by the end of the night, they were barely alive.
Forty prison guards wielding clubs and their warden's blessing
went on a rampage against the 33 women wrongly convicted of
'obstructing sidewalk traffic.'

They beat Lucy Burns, chained her hands to the cell bars above
her head and left her hanging for the night, bleeding and gasping
for air.

They hurled Dora Lewis into a dark cell, smashed her
head against an iron bed and knocked her out cold. Her cellmate,
Alice Cosu, thought Lewis was dead and suffered a heart attack.
Additional affidavits describe the guards grabbing, dragging,
beating, choking, slamming, pinching, twisting and kicking the women.

Thus unfolded the 'Night of Terror' on Nov. 15, 1917,
when the warden at the Occoquan Workhouse in Virginia ordered his
guards to teach a lesson to the suffragists imprisoned there because
they dared to picket Woodrow Wilson's White House for the right
to vote. For weeks, the women's only water came from an open pail.

Their food--all of it colorless slop--was infested with worms.

When one of the leaders, Alice Paul, embarked on a hunger strike,

they tied her to a chair, forced a tube down her throat and poured

liquid into her until she vomited. She was tortured like this for weeks
until word was smuggled out to the press.

Sometimes my friends wonder why I get worked up over things like being manipulated to surrender my 'vagina vote' to whomever best manipulates me by claiming an interest in women's point of view, or by dressing a woman up and having her represent the party.

I do not appreciate feeling manipulated, treated like I cannot think or discern issues. Who I choose to support should be my choice, and I want to be expected to be thoughtful. I don't enjoy seeing ET run a feature on how I can dress like Sarah Palin, on a budget. When did she become the icon for women's expression of life? Because yes, dammit, I know she has been clothed in very expensively cut clothes, the kind a pit bull from Alaska would never herself choose to put on her Christmas wish list. And I don't like feeling obligated by ideological group think to stay with any party regardless of personal choice. A vote IS personal. It is an expression of voice. It is a hope (perhaps a forlorn one, but a hope none-the-less.) It is a belief in a possibly different world. It is a cry for the poor, for children. It is a song in which I carry the tune, even if for one small moment.

So don't expect me to jump onto any bandwagon, even if it's major cheerleader has breasts. (Some men have breasts too, I have noticed, and they shamelessly display them. But that is another blog.)

This matters. Just letting you know.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

just a sittin'

Tonight was lovely - about 70 or less and we sat on our porch for a couple hours. Nothing is nicer than that. Soon will celebrate our 34th anniversary.
Maybe we will celebrate by sitting on the porch.
Pretty bad when that is the pinacle of what can be imagined. But then, we've done almost everything else.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

the Republicans have found their Princess Diana

...that was my thought as I listened to the radiant reviews this morning on the talk shows. She is glamorous while being innocent, has an intriguing presence without being overtly sexual, is undeniably the best speech giver the Republicans have had in decades, etc. So a few thoughts...

I stayed up past my bedtime to hear her and I wasn't disappointed. She gave a great speech with poise and class. A speech she didn't write, clearly, but she added her bits (was the joke about the pit bull in the text?, I don't think so.) Well done. Too bad Rudy stole her time. It is remarkable that such a woman has been chosen to run for VP. But questions float through my mind: is this tokenism? is a woman being used to drive a male agenda? I still feel played ... like a rabbit has been pulled from a hat by the gurus of spin, and I am supposed to be gap-mouth breathless.

First, let me say a woman who can give a fabulous speech is not so rare as one may think. We hear men, and women who try to be men,(which is one of the remarkable things about Sarah Palin, that she did not do that - applause to her) all the time. But even in my circle of friends I think of at least two women who could have hit that speech out of the ballpark. That people are so surprised and amazed at the quality of her speech just shows again that women have been underestimated as leaders.

She is no Hillary Clinton and I am glad of that. She represents a totally different ideology and way of being. But don't for a minute think that even the way she wore her hair wasn't carefully contrived for impact. I am still sorting it out ... a bit of a conflict in me on verbal and non-verbal signals. Non-verbally she was innocent and untainted, the girl next door, extraordinaire. But verbally she was caustic with a darling smile. I feel a bit the way I feel when I watch Joyce Meyer, occasionally. Verbal - non-verbal confusion.

So it remains to be seen what will happen to this as yet un-vetted candidate. For sure she has brought a fascinating twist into the convention similar to Princess Diana's arrival into the royal family of Windsor. A beautiful face - what a relief! - after so many big noses and floppy ears. Trouble was, no one wanted to hear Charles after that. And Diana didn't have too much to say, in spite of the fact that she said it so prettily.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

being political

Last night I read this in Arther Schlesinger's journal. He wrote it midway in the Democratic convention on July 18th 1984.

"The designation of Geraldine Ferraro as vice presidential candidate is fine, even though one cannot repress the thought that Gerald Ferraro with the same record would not have been in the picture. Margaret Thatcher got to the top in spite of being a woman; Geraldine Ferraro approaches the top because she is a woman. But her example will open the way for women who really earned it. I do not mean to belittle Mrs. Ferraro, who, on small acquaintance, seems a bright and pleasant woman in the Joan Blondell style."

The current Republican nomination for vice president, Sarah Palin, does not give me confidence. In fact, McCain seems to be pandering to me, a woman, by choosing a woman. But can I say that this nominee is no replacement for Hillary Clinton, even if I may not have voted for Hillary.

I mean no disrespect. A woman who makes her mark in our culture does so only with courage and fortitude and in spite of much. This woman also has charm and style. All of which I enjoy and applaud. I wish her well, I wish her the gold star. But vice president? Should the president, God forbid, bite the dust, I would no more feel confident of her as leader of the western world than I would Nancy Grace.

It is one thing to be a strong and fine person, and another to be made of the stuff that will take one into battle. I doubt if Sam Palin with the same credentials would have been given a second thought.

As a woman I welcome female leadership. I know this is a touchy issue, but I can't check my brain at the door and applaud simply because there is a woman on the ballot. Sorry John.