08 March 2017

International Women's Day

Today, I went to work.  Because I don't have any extra days to take off, and couldn't have taken off today anyway, because of our work situation.  I had intended to wear red, but was in walking zombie mode when getting dressed this morning, and completely forgot.  Oh well, at least I  had a red bracelet on ...

BUT - I have a job, even if it is one with issues.  I get a paycheck once a month, and since my husband is also employed, I get decent health insurance through his work.  I actually am lucky enough to have that choice.

Not every woman has anything close to that, and yet there were still people who asked, "Well then, when is International Men's Day?" (My response would be every day, but maybe that's just me.)

We are living in a tenuous time, when poor women are being even more and more marginalized.*  Many of those that write the laws and pass those same laws are anxious to put the poor in their place, to stop them from being so lazy, or from playing the system.  

Women are just so often not seen as that important or as useful, especially once they have provided children (preferably male, to "carry on the name"), and when they stand up for themselves, the criticism is rampant.

You know what?  There are some women who are lazy. There are some women who try to play the system.   There are some women who are only ever looking out for themselves.

Just like some men - wait, WHAT???!!!

I hope enough people of every race, gender, and persuasion will keep fighting and keep annoying those in power. 

*as are men and children, but I am focusing on International Women's Day here.


On a kinda/sorta/maybe-not-really-related note, the other day, an acquaintance of mine who is about a year older than I am, was telling me how she found a great pair of new jeans over the weekend, and was going to wear them out to dinner with her friends this week.  She posted a picture of herself and her friends on Instagram, and her new (and might I add expensive) jeans, were the kind that are ripped and torn.  When she asked me if I'd seen it and I said yes, she asked me what I thought of the jeans.  I said they looked fine (and they did, she looked nice enough).  She asked me why I never wear ripped jeans, since they are in style.  

And I had to tell her that she will likely never see me in ripped jeans, if I can help it.  And though she assumed it was because I thought I was too old to wear them, that's not really the reason.

When I was growing up, we were poor.  As in, really poor.  But my parents always took pride in the fact that we were always clean, and that our clothes were always not just clean but presentable in spite of circumstances.  People who wore ripped clothing back then were poor people, and my parents always said that just because we *were* poor, we didn't have to *look* poor.  Our clothes were mended if they ripped or torn.

So even though I know that things are different today, there is still a huge disconnect for me.  

As in, these women are poor:

But these women are stylish:

And they are all wearing ripped jeans ...

Nope, I can't.  

19 February 2017

Things I've Learned That I Already Knew

At my appt with the orthopedic dr on February 10, she said that things were healing nicely, and that I could start using one crutch instead of two.  She also told me that she would see me in another month, and hopefully then I can get rid of the cast.  This is all good news, and I'm grateful for any and all of it.

But thinking about it, I realized that having the cast and the crutches and the limited mobility has taught me things that I already knew, but they are invaluable reminders.  I'm sharing some of them here, so that all of us can consider things in our own lives that fall into that category.

I am the luckiest person in the world.  At some point, my cast will come off, and I will be able to move around in my usual way, with no limitations but my own, related to age, physical condition, etc.  Some people never ever ever have that luxury as a possibility in their lives.

Multitasking is not a necessary (or maybe even preferable) way to live your life.  I've pretty much been limited to doing one thing at a time lately.  Oh sure, I can knit and watch TV, and those kind of simple and usual things.  But I have been reminded that I can do one thing at a time and then move on to another thing and a) they both get done, and b) the world continues.

Slowing down makes life better.  Not that I live a fast-paced, jet-setting life, but like most people, I try to get as much done on any given day as possible (with occasional do-nothing at all days).  Well, during these last few weeks, I haven't been able to easily move around, even in the house (maybe even especially in the house - all those stairs!), and I find that I am able to be more mindful, as well as more appreciative of time and place.  And at least in my case, slowing down has not had a negative effect on anything I usually try to accomplish quickly.

Time spent reading, knitting, or whatever is never wasted time.   Do not feel guilty for doing things that you enjoy, that help you relax, or that mean something to you.  Again, the world continued.

Asking for/accepting help is not a bad thing, and can even make other people feel better.  I generally feel that if I *can* do something myself, that I should.  But there have been a lot of things I have not been able to do myself, and though at first I felt bad or hesitant, I have now realized that people want to help, and often don't know how.  And if/when you accept their offers of help, you make them feel that they are really doing good.

Self-pity is very seldom helpful.  Years ago - actually as a teenager, I think - I started to allow myself one day where I could wallow in self-pity, for whatever reason (and God knows as a teenager, there are SO. MANY. THINGS).  Whether it meant staying in my pjs in my room all day, or having a major crying jag, or just mentally listing all of the ways in which the world was against me, I'd pile it all into that one day.   Then I would move on for a while.  I still do this, though getting older mean it doesn't happen as often.  But I have been reminded lately that the only person who cares about your self-pity is yourself.  And in the end, you haven't really gotten anything out of it.

Shoes are awesome.  Being able to get up every day and put on any pair of shoes you want to, is the best.

What about you?  Do you have any lessons you've learned recently that you already knew?

07 February 2017

Then There's This

I have a question for you:  Do you remember when people would find out they were going to have a baby, and then when you talked to them, they would say, "Guess what? We're going to have baby!" and then you would congratulate them?  Or if you didn't know them well, they might drop you a note, or you'd hear it from a friend, and think that was nice?

Those were the days, no?

Last week, when Beyonce* announced she was having twins, there was an entire photo shoot, with people acting like she was the first person to ever have a baby, much less twins.  Now having a baby seems to call for entire production numbers.  And then there are the ever-popular "gender reveal" parties - where the couple gets the gender of the upcoming baby from their doctor, give it to a bakery without looking at it themselves, and then invite their friends, cut into the cake, and it's either pink or blue!

And angels rejoice, of course.

You may have guessed I find these things tiresome.  And you'd be correct.  And lest you think it's because I'm becoming a grumpy old woman, I feel I should tell you that this kind of stuff has always annoyed me.  I am all for people sharing their good news, but give me a break.

There is a knit blogger that I also follow on Instagram, and last year, one day she posted a picture of baby feet wearing handknit booties.  The caption said something like, "I had a baby a couple of weeks ago, and we are all doing fine.  It was hard not to talk about it all the time, but I decided to wait until it actually happened."  People left comments that made it sound like she had stolen money from them or something.  I congratulated her and said I admired her decision to do things the way she wanted to do them.

Then there is this article that I read last summer, and thought "Wow."  Good for her.

I realize I'm probably in the minority here, but then again, I usually am ...

*I am so not a fan of Beyonce, but I would have been just as annoyed if it had been someone I really like, trust me!

30 January 2017

The New World Order Is Making Me Stabby

Well, things have certainly gotten off to a depressing start this year, no?  Between The Orange One and his ilk trying to shut down the Constitution, and me gimping around on crutches, it's been hard to be Little Mary Sunshine.  Not that I ever am Little Mary Sunshine, but it must be really hard for those who are.

I am proud as can be of my family, they all participated in the Women's March, and those in Baltimore attended the marches this weekend in support of allowing refugees into the country.  We are a committed group, I have to say, and that makes me both happy and proud.  We are also a loud group, so I'm glad we can use our loudness for good.

I don't understand why refugees are the enemy.  From what I know, those who would do us harm are seldom interested in entering the country legally, and our vetting process for immigrants is already very intensive.  And frankly, some of the scariest people in the world to me are white Americans, and they always have been.  And I say that as a white American!  I mean, look at the Sandy Hook shootings if you need an example.  And yes, I know he was mentally ill, etc., but nonetheless he was a white American with access to guns.  Ugh.

Wow, Bridget, tell us how you really feel ...

Anyway, as mentioned above, I am gimping around on crutches these days, going into my third week.  I have a broken ankle, and frankly it sucks, though I am grateful I can get around at all, and that it wasn't worse.  As I was walking home from work a few weeks ago, one of the construction workers at the site of the 534th Comcast Center bumped into me, and I turned my ankle.  At the time I didn't think it was a big deal.  But the next morning it was really swollen and extremely sore, so I stopped at Urgent Care and x-rays showed it was broken.  I have never ever broken a bone in my life, so this is all terra incognita to me.  I remember in elementary school, there were a few kids who always seemed to have broken arms or legs, but maybe because I spent most of my time reading instead of running around or skiiing or whatever, I missed that childhood experience.  I daresay it's probably easier to deal with when you are a kid.  Oh well.

Fortunately, The Tim is willing to do the cooking, laundry, etc.  Though I do wish he did not feel the need to bleach everything, but that's nothing new.  I know he's not thrilled about it, but to his credit, he hasn't been whining.  However, I know that when you are used to a certain routine - particularly on mornings when you need to get to work on time - having that changed in a major way is disconcerting at best.

I am knitting, reading, and anything else I can do to both keep myself busy and also keep myself sane.  We have some movies and TV shows recorded to watch, so when we are both at home, that is a good distraction as well.  This past weekend, I managed to make it to get my hair cut, which improved my mood immensely (not to mention my appearance!), and also meant that this morning, I didn't have to spend valuable minutes getting ready for work trying to get it to look at least OK.

So, as you can see, things are pretty quiet in everyday life around here.  But I'm watching, and have no plans to sit back and say nothing whether I'm on crutches, or once I can get around on my own.

19 January 2017

The High Road

Today is monumental in my mind.  It is the last day we will be living in the U.S. with a decent, honorable, and respectable person as our president.  Beyond incredibly sad, I also feel worried, frustrated, annoyed, and just plain old disappointed.

Now don't get me wrong.  I'm not going to go quietly into the next four years, or just sit and home and feel sorry for myself.  The same things that have always been important to me will be, even more so if possible, and I will continue to act when I feel it is necessary.  But everything is going to be different, and I'm not convinced it will be OK or better.

I have been doing my best to try and remain level-headed and civil around others who feel that the ascendancy of the Orange One will be a wonderful thing for our country.  It's been difficult, but I do believe in manners, civility, and human discourse.  Likely they will not change my mind any more than I will change theirs, but if we can not devolve into fisticuffs, we will all have our say.

That's the problem with The High Road, at least for me, and it always has been that way.  As a child, I had a really violent, hair-trigger temper that I could not control.**  At all.  No one else in my family is wired that way, and I think I was a constant worry to my parents and often made them fearful.  For as long as I can remember, my parents would try to instill in me that even if I got angry and lost my temper, that I should try my best to apologize.  I used to ask my mother, "Why do I have to apologize, and the other person never does?" and her answer was always, "Because it takes a bigger person, a better person, to admit that they were wrong.  I want you to understand that, and to take the high road whenever you can."

And I get it. Really and truly, I do.  And at least in my heart, I do want to be the bigger person, the better person, even if it's not for the most noble of reasons.  I think it's worthwhile to always try and be that person.

But why do I always have to do it, and the others don't?  Why is the double standard OK?  Why did I *always* have to apologize to my brat of a cousin Billy when I'd called him a name or punched him (I was not above physical confrontation), but he never ever ever had to say "I'm sorry" for anything?  I mean, he was usually the one who started the problem in the first place!  (His mother always claimed he couldn't help what he did/said, because he was "sick."  Even as a young kid, I'd respond to my mother, "Oh, he's sick alright.")  He knew that he had a pass on his behaviour.  So why act differently?

Fast forward to our current situation.  We are being told to "just get over it" with our concerns about our new leader, new Cabinet, new everything.  We are sore losers when we express a different opinion.  We are the ones who are criticized for criticizing, even if it is done in a peaceful and respectful way.

All of the members of  Congress who skipped Obama's inauguration?  That's different than the disrespect being shown this time around, when others are saying they will not attend tomorrow's event.  Blocking judicial and other appointments made by Obama?  That's not the same thing as the HORRIBLE shade being thrown at some of the new Cabinet nominees, by calling them "unqualified."  It was the same during the Reagan years, the Bush years, the Clinton years, and I'm sure probably since the Caesar years.

I support The High Road.  I don't think anyone should confuse it with becoming a doormat, and I do believe there is value in the saying and the practice of, "Whey they go low, we go high."

But boy, do I wish The High Road was a two-way street.

NOTE: I know I'm likely preaching to the choir here, but it felt good to get that off my chest.  I hope that for all of you, tomorrow and the coming weekend will be filled with meaningful and peaceful activities that will allow you to cling to your soul.  We're all going to need that moving forward.

**I do a better job now.  Most of the time.  Especially the physical confrontation part ...

11 January 2017

I Really Don't Mean to Be Contrarian, But It Seems to Just Happen

Hello, and before we go any further, Happy New Year!  I've been dealing with the cold/crud/whatever that is going around, and though I've been reading the blogs I enjoy, and occasionally commenting, I've usually felt too out of it to post much myself.  But here I am, and I hope that so far, 2017 is treating you well.

I decided to write this post, because not feeling well usually makes me even crankier than I usually am.  Now let me start by saying I was an old-person crank even as a teenager.  So it's not like being sick or getting older has suddenly turned me into one.  But sometimes it's just worse than others.  And various things can trigger a particular bout of the cranks, so you cannot always predict when it might happen.

A lot of the time, my crankiness is due to feeling quite differently about things that others assume I like because I fall into a certain group or type.  Now sometimes I agree, and it's no big deal.  I can appreciate the Cat Lady things, and find them amusing, because I see a lot of myself in them.  And though I don't feel I'm as squirrely as the typical Librarian stereotype, there's a lot in that concept that reflects my personality (i.e., I wish I could get people to just shut up about 99% of the time).  I have even been known to point out to others that I am a potentially perfect combination of what others may find to be a frightening concept:  I am a librarian.  I wear glasses.  I have lots of cats.  I like to knit.  I'm guessing for a lot of people, this is what they see:

But you know, with cats everywhere, and knitting stuff on the desk as well.

Lately though, I'm getting annoyed, cranky, and even offended by things that everyone else is embracing.  This is not unusual, and to be 100% honest, I really and truly do not care if others are amused, thrilled, inspired, or whatever by these things.  I just wish they would not assume that I am.

Case in Point #1:

a. I am a breast cancer survivor.  This apparently makes the majority of people I know think that I am completely inspired by things like women who have had mastectomies getting large tattoos where there breasts used to be and then posing for photos to prove their strength.  I'm not inspired.  I say, good for them, do what makes you feel the best and that you are reclaiming your existence.  But I don't really care, and frankly I don't really want to see it.  

b. I am also annoyed by things that are meant to be amusing about "boobies" (which except for the word when it refers to a bird, I think should be banned from the English language).  I am not amused by "Boobie" scarves, hats, blankets, whatevers.  Do a quick Ravelry search on the word - ugh.  I find it to be demeaning, frankly.  But an awful lot of people I know think it's adorable, hysterical, empowering, and will create world peace (OK maybe not that last one).  Fine.  Just do not assume I'm on board.

Case in Point #2 and the current reason I am feeling contrary:

Pussy Hats.  I get it.  I appreciate the point attempting to be made and why.  I really do.  But I am one of those people who truly believes that the word should only ever be used to talk about felines, aka pussy cats.  Part of it is my age, my upbringing, and my own personal idiosyncratic belief system and personal rules.  I am perfectly fine with people who are embracing the idea, and making hats, wearing hats, and are 100% on board.   I am not. 

Don't get me wrong.  I plan to participate in the Women's March here in Philadelphia.  I have no confidence in, or respect for, our incoming administration, and though it isn't much, I feel my participation will at least be something I can actively do.  If I have the yarn (I have no pink yarn, but some reds), the time, or the inclination to knit anything, I'll knit a Resist Hat, which to me is more relevant, something I can see wearing more than just one day, and whose message is more in line with my concept of why I'm even bothering to join the others.  

Again, to each their own.  I'm just not interested in that part of that particular bandwagon.

And then, on a much smaller scale, Case in Point #3:

This is so minimal, it's not even worth mentioning, and yet I am.  (Being contrary again, you see!)  Apparently there is a big recall of Hostess Twinkies.  I have never been a fan of Hostess Twinkies, though admittedly, I can plow through Hostess Cupcakes in record time.  Currently I live in Philadelphia, home of Tastykakes:

Let me assure you, Philadelphians take their Tastykakes VERY SERIOUSLY.  I learned that when I first moved here, and happened to mention that I liked Hostess Cupcakes better.  The horror!  

The truth is, at this point, I think it's been years since I've had a Hostess Cupcake.  And I do like the KandyKake flavor of Tastykake (peanut butter and chocolate), so I'm not a complete barbarian.  But frankly, if I hear one more person around me talk excitedly about how Twinkies have been recalled, but Tastykakes never have been and that is why they are so superior, I may have to go into the fetal position for several hours.

Clearly, I just need to stay in my house and never engage with the world ... ;-)