Friday, November 30, 2012

Your balls, sir . . .

Mentioned in an earlier post is the fact that I collect quotes.  I have a file where they are kept against the day when inspiration, or encouragement, or some kind of something is needed to get me out of a fog, or a funk, or a rut, or a . . . you get the picture.  Oh!  And sometimes the quotes come with pictures . . . 
Well, as I was adding a quote to my collection, this one drew me in yet again.  Seems to kind of go along with my last post - or actually the post before that, which was a YouTube video of Katie Makkai performing at a poetry slam and expounding upon the power we give - most oftentimes unknowingly - to the word pretty.  Katie Makkai is a strong woman.
Strong women . . . we all know at least one.  Or perhaps we've seen one somewhere, like at work (too often this woman is referred to as a bitch 'cause a lot of times she's the boss), or read about one, such as in a magazine article about lady politicians - Hillary Clinton comes to mind, or we've seen one in a movie -- my favorite is Linda Hamilton as Sarah Conner in The Terminator ... especially in that final scene with that pump shotgun - yea, girl.
The fact is that strong women are everywhere.  We come in all shapes, sizes, colors, creeds, backgrounds, and ages.  We bring home the bacon, fry it up in the pan, clean the house, pay the bills, take care of the kids, feed you when you are hungry, heal you when you are sick, and of course, make a man out of you . . .  At least that's what Peggy Lee tells us.  Mostly, we are strong when we don't want to be.  We are strong when we are so tired that all we want is to crawl into a nice, warm bed, throw the covers over our head . . . and sleep like a child.  We are strong when we know that payday is once again almost two weeks away, and we still have to have gas for our car so we can get back and forth to all the places we have to go to after we go to our jobs.  We are strong standing in line getting groceries for our parents.  We are strong when we are at the doctor's office with someone other than our selves . . . and we know we are the one who should be seeing a doctor.  We are strong when we keep sending in job applications hoping that the right someone will see ours and schedule that interview so we can get that job with better hours and much, much better pay.  We are strong . . .
Some people say they don't care for strong women . . . and it's usually a man who will say words to that effect.  Poor thing, he just doesn't realize how weak that makes him.  He's afraid of a woman who has a mind.  He's afraid of a woman who expresses herself cohesively and succinctly.  He's afraid of being without all the things that a strong woman can do . . . which is everything.
Hey there, mister, I've got your balls right here . . .

“I've always loved strong women, which is lucky for me because once you're over about twenty-five there is no other kind. Women blow my mind. The stuff that routinely gets done to them would make most men curl up and die, but women turn to steel and keep on coming. Any man who claims he's not into strong women is fooling himself mindless; he's into strong women who know how to pout prettily and put on baby voices, and who will end up keeping his balls in her makeup bags.” 
Tana French, Faithful Place

Sunday, November 25, 2012

"Mom, am I pretty?"

I believe it is safe to say that all young girls go through an awkward stage . . . a time when all you want is some reassurance that you matter . . . that your existence counts for something, somehow, to someone - especially to someone meaningful in your life.  I am the youngest of five -- four girls, and one princely son.  I can remember quite clearly standing in our kitchen -- my mom was at the sink, and I was standing by the door that led to our very small screened porch (that led to our utility room).  I can still remember my voice --in my mind it was so small -- as I asked, "Mama, do you think I'm pretty?"  All I wanted to hear was, "Yes, you are pretty ..."  Maybe I wanted to hear more, but that would have sufficed.  But, what I heard was, "Pretty is as pretty does; ugly is to the bone.  When pretty fades, ugly holds its own."  And all I could hear from that was the word ugly ... u.g.l.y.  I asked my mom, "What is that supposed to mean?"  And she went into this halfhearted explanation that pretty doesn't last, but ugly does ... blahblahblah ... if you aren't a good person, but you're pretty, well, you'll get old one day, and people won't remember that you were once pretty, they'll remember you weren't a good person.  But ugly -- now that is forever ... you can be ugly, but a good person, and people will remember what a good person you were.  So, I thought it over, and then I asked, "But what if you are pretty and a good person?"  And she was stumped.  So, I asked her again, "Am I pretty?"  She didn't know that some boys at school had said I was ugly and flat-chested.  Her reply was, "What difference does it make?"  

Hey, thanks Mom!

Did I mention she was always on me about my skin and my weight, too?  Which I admit that I had a real battle with my skin for a while.  The weight though ... I was skinny -- some would say slender with an athletic build.  Had a boyfriend who was always on me about eating and my weight ... he didn't stay my boyfriend for long.  When I married, I was a slender 115 pounds ... which is skinny for someone 5'6".

Fast forward to today.  After visiting with my mother, going over her schedule for the week, reminding her that I would be by Tuesday to get her grocery list -- she is somewhat housebound and shopping for her is confusing and wearing in many ways -- checked her mailbox, got her trash together ... and as I was gathering  everything to leave ... she asks, "Have you lost weight?"  My reply, "Yes, Mom, I have lost some weight."  And she can't let it go -- even though I have repeatedly asked her to never question me about my weight -- or anyone else's weight, for that matter -- and she asks, "How much?"  And as I was going out the door, I said, "I don't weigh myself."  Those were my parting words.  I left feeling as defeated as I did when I first asked her, "Am I pretty?"

So, to every young girl, every woman -- big, small, tall, short, thin, fluffy, flat-chested, full-chested, old, young ... to my daughters ... YOU ARE PRETTY ... pretty amazing ... pretty smart ... pretty wonderful ... pretty damn important to this planet.  AND I LOVE YOU!!!

Katie Makkai - Pretty

Saturday, November 24, 2012

A beautiful life, interrupted

So, it is the Saturday after Thanksgiving.  The house is quiet, with the exception of the tv blathering on in the background.  Caught a segment on "Today" about a lovely, brilliant young woman named Suleika Jaouad, who has been writing about her experiences with cancer.  You can read more about her on her blog:

If you take the time to read through her blogs, you will find that Ms. Jaouad is positive and optimistic. She is quite realistic and graciously honest in her writings, though she has chosen to be a catalyst for kindness and enlightenment in her journey through the cancer matrix.  Recently she wrote about the additional challenges one must accommodate when Mother Nature decides to dance upon the waves with the wind as her partner.  While some take a lighthearted approach to hurricane watches and warnings, people with seriously life-altering diagnoses must also consider whether their treatments will be affected, and if so, for how long.  

Kudos to you, Suleika Jaouad, for bringing a very sobering point of existence into the light. 

For this, I am grateful . . .

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Mean People

They come in many forms, sizes, shapes, colors.  Their backgrounds and experiences are diverse and broad.  Sometimes they profess to be religious or spiritual or enlightened.  They are so many things . . .

. . . and they are mean.  They generally aren't physical in their approach to meanness, they just kind of sneak it in . . . to a conversation, a business or staff meeting, a relationship.  Some practice meanness as a way to level the playing field -- whatever that is supposed to mean or accomplish.  Some practitioners are insecure, but some truly believe they are better than others.  Some are proud of their meanness, some try to explain it away . . . "that's not what I meant" . . . "you're too sensitive" . . . "i was just playing"  . . . "what's your problem?"

 If you are a mean person, you may not be able to recognize in yourself.  But if you can recognize that you may be someone who practices meanness for whatever reason, then stop it . . . now.

"Be kind; everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle."

Monday, November 12, 2012

My Deliverer . . .

I collect quotes.  Not just quotes, but creative lines of all sorts.  A few hymns are part of the collection.  One hymn that is part of my eclectic collection is "My Deliverer Is Coming" by the late Rich Mullins.  There's really only one line that I particularly find to be strangely comforting:

My Deliverer is coming;
My Deliverer is standing by . . .

Origins for these lines are found in Psalms,  many of which were written by or attributed to David, slingshot wielding giant-slayer turned king.  For all of his particular faults, David remained steadfast in his faith in a protective, merciful (though based in harsh judgement), occasionally vengeful, though mostly distant, god.  The kind of god that if you are a good, well, more than good -- more like perfect -- boy or girl, you will be rewarded with protection, favor, vengeance upon your enemies (where does that fit in with perfection?). 

But these lines are so telling in their repetition.  And I admit to being somewhat stymied by their application to a Christian god -- the God made manifest in the teachings of Jesus Christ . . . the God of grace, compassion, tenderness, kindness, and peace.  But still, the repetitive refrain found in this hymn points more to a good person trying to reassure herself that things will be okay, that life will get better, easier . . .

What are You waiting for?

Thursday, November 8, 2012

"Don't take a knife to a gun show . . ."

Good advice!  Though I know you meant to say, "Never take a knife to a gunfight."  Personally, I wouldn't go to either one - a gun show or a gunfight.  Just a personal safety preference.  Though I do admire that katana wielded by Michonne . . . nice.  What a strong female presence -- apparently she never wasted time waiting for some man to rescue her . . . or did she?  What secrets lie beneath that battle-hardened scowl 'n swagger?

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

"Elections have consequences"

Yes, they certainly do, as do most things in life of any real, well, consequence.  This was posted outside the local shooting range which is on the way into, or out of, the fair city in which I abide.  Bet I can guess which candidate the poster supported, and would love to hear this particular pronouncement explained.  I am glad, and certainly most thankful, that our country is tolerant of divergent viewpoints.  Or, at the very least, most people are tolerant of divergent viewpoints.  When political points start looking murky, or when people attempt to explain their extremely selfish political views (the old "what about me? what about my rights?") I turn to the one quote that has helped me in times of trial and travail . . . "The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few, or the one."  Yep, Vulcan philosophy spoken by none other than Spock.

I wonder what he would say about this statement.  I believe we would stand in agreement.


Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Get out and vote . . .

. . . and no talking while you are waiting in line.  Why do people think it's okay to chitchat in line with strangers while waiting to vote?  People might be thinking . . . like Ralphie when he's approached by the weird kid while waiting in line to see Santa in "A Christmas Story."  Well, this particular annoying person is a local politician's wife.  First, she tries to bypass the whole line and just walk up to the voting officials at the table.  Then, she complains that she is "just so used to the old way."  What way would that be?  The arrogant way?  The rude way?  The "I don't give a toot about you because my husband is a mentally unhinged lunatic AND he's on city council" way?  Then squinty-eyed politician's wife gets in line and starts chatting up the man behind me.  It took everything out of me to not turn around and tell them, "Hush!  This is a holy moment!"  Which I am sure would have gotten me a few looks, but wouldn't have bothered me in the least.  So next time you vote, stand in line and be quiet -- people are thinking.  Oh, and you people who work inside the voting area -- hush.

Fast forward to this evening as I was waiting to pay for my mother's groceries -- Tuesday night being the night NannyBoo's groceries "get made" (if you don't know that term, you are not from a mid-Atlantic seaboard state, or as some refer to Virginia, the "South").  There was a lovely young woman in the line beside the one I was in.  She was young, quite shapely, or at least her bottom was shapely, with a kind, attractive face.  Oh, and she was wearing black leggings, which served to enhance her charming figure.  The bagger - henceforth referred to as "the bagger" - in my line was chatting up the register clerk with some rather explicit remarks regarding this young lady -- who, by the way, was accompanied by her husband and young child.  I won't go into details, but "the bagger" made several rather crude remarks, with most remarks followed by, "I just call 'em as I see 'em."  One very special remark was, "Hey, if she didn't want anyone to look at her, she shouldn't dress that way in the first place."  My first thought was to turn to the kind lady's husband and say, "You might want to ask this young man regarding his observations concerning your wife," but that might have caused things to escalate rapidly.  So, I just paid for my groceries, and thought about calling management once I got home.  But, I decided to call from my car, and was able to speak with a manager.  Since I couldn't describe the bagger with laser-accuracy, the manager met me at the door, and from there the perpetrator was positively identified.  I hope he gets fired.  I don't care if he has bills to pay, or a sick anybody he's responsible for -- he's a sexual predator. Judging by the remarks he made, he likely thinks that when a woman is raped, she was asking for it because of what she was wearing.  And he also likely believes that when a woman has a strong opinion, or is smarter than he is -- both scenarios being exponentially probable, that she just needs a good hard f***, and he's just the man to give it to her.   When we get to know each other a little better, then maybe I'll share what I would do to him if given the chance -- and it ain't pretty.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Beginnings . . . am I good enough?

Well, here we go . . . or rather, here I go.  This is something I have threatened myself with for a very long time.  And now, it's time.  Time to get the thoughts out of my head -- thoughts that are at times deeply spiritual, and at other times, quite hilarious, and sometimes even bawdy.  I get bothered by big things, like close-mindedness and bigotry.  But you know, sometimes those little things can just really do me in . . . like when people post things on Pinterest -- you know, because they are so hip and cool and clever . . . but they just cannot be bothered to spell correctly, and so their pictures of some shapely miss in sassy lingerie is labeled "boudior" -- yep, i kid you not. So, don't use the fancy words unless you can spell them -- and pronounce them -- correctly.  And inspirational quotes . . . I used to get a daily email of inspirational quotes, but they were just stupid, and by no means inspirational, just underwhelming.  I'll be offering up my takes on some of those quotes that have left me at times thinking, "wth?"  Note to reader(s) -- 'cause there may be more than just myself -- I am not trying to win the grammar-bee, just free-thinking and getting the crap out my head.
So -- I hope to keep up with this, and I hope someone, somewhere, will be inspired to put their thoughts into words, on a page, a canvas, a blog, in a song, a story, a verse . . . hell, even a prayer.  And if you are ultra-sensitive, and get your feelings all in a twist over something I post on my blog, well, you were warned. 
And so it begins . . .