coming out of my shell

coming out of my shell

Saturday, November 18, 2017

Goodness Gracious!

Wow!  There sure are a lot of slimeball sexist pigs out there.  Right? 

Everyday it seems like a new one is being called out.  There are so many that no one seems to know what to do with them all.  Hold them accountable, I say!  If it ruins their careers, so be it.  Some of them ruined the careers of the women they dehumanized (think Harvey Weinstein), and I'm a firm believer in the punishment fitting the crime.  Make them apologize publicly at the very least.  Force them to consider their actions and how it impacted on the lives of the women they victimized. THAT's how one "begins" to atone for one's sins - by fully understanding what one has done. Begin being the key word. 

It is good to be sorry for your sins, as long as it is real and changes you for the better.  It is a step in the right direction and may keep you from burning in the fires of hell for eternity (big mytho-poetic smile here). And for those who are still trying to lie and pretend all those women are making it up, sheesh - that just doesn't fly anymore.  Bring on the investigations, regardless of party, or title, or relationship.  Let the chips fall as they may.  

We have been moving backwards the past year. Change, however, is the nature of reality.  Eventually we will stop moving backwards, the political dynamic will re-set, and we will start moving forward again.  I can't help but think it is already happening.  Am I an optimist or a realist?  You tell me. 

Sunday, November 12, 2017

I'm no lady

I'm still thinking about snark and how it holds us back.  I think in the patriarchal past "ladies" have had to resort to snark and innuendo. We have been so controlled by appearance and approval seeking that we could not be direct. How many of us even reveal our personalities to all but our closest friends?  I know more than a few cases where women have not revealed their real personalities to their husbands or boyfriends for fear they will not be liked.  These poor "ladies" live their whole lives in disguise. 

But this is the new world order. Now we need to to learn to act like Women, not like Ladies. We need to redefine what being a woman is. Being a woman means being courageous, direct, and passionate about our truths.  It means being more concerned with our presence than our appearance.  If we believe strongly in something we need to feel free to speak outright, in plain sight, without fearing how we will look or how others will judge us. 

Don't worry over much about being a lady.  Consider being a strong woman, instead.

Saturday, November 4, 2017

Holding on to the past

I need to get rid of things in this house. A winnowing is sorely needed. When we moved three and a half years ago I thought I had been sufficiently bold in discarding "things." But I still have too much, and it oppresses me. 

I could start with toys, that might be the easiest place to begin. Now that my grandson is in school, the toddler toys and books can go to a thrift store. I know exactly which toys he has not been the least bit interested in for the past year or two. Why don't I give them away? 

I still have a number of toys that my young teen granddaughter used to play with as a child.  Why are they still here? Who am I saving them for? 

In fact, I still have a box of smurfs that my daughter played with as a child.  She loved them, but neither of her children showed any interest in them. Why do I keep them? 

What is this nostalgic mania that keeps me loaded down with family relics? Why is it hard to let go of the past?

Surely memories are enough?

Monday, October 30, 2017

I'm so tired

Yes, I am SO tired.  Tired of all the nonsense we are required to experience, read about, listen to, and live through these days.  Tired of people lacking compassion, most of all.  Today I despair.  This will pass, of course.  I'm not one to give up; however, today I am tired.  That's all I have to say.

Monday, October 23, 2017

A recipe for love

I have a box filled with old recipes. Some typed, some painfully constructed in all caps on index cards of varying sizes. Others are xeroxed and folded. A few are scribbled down on a scrap of paper. They chronicle the various stages of our married life.

The oldest were transcribed before the advent of xerox copiers. When we got together in 1970, copying machines were unimaginable. The recipe cards from that earliest decade are the most interesting to me right now. 

We were poor.  Everything we ate was homemade; it was cheaper that way. We did not have a car during our first years together. Consequently, I went grocery shopping twice a month. I walked there and shopped like a brazen hussy before calling a taxi to take me home. I was organized about food because I had to make our money last. Before shopping I figured out two weeks worth of meals, buying what was needed for each and planning for overlap. It worked! We never starved. 

I've had fun seeing the old recipes from those early days. There is a certain recipe for "Herbed Soybean Casserole" that was truly vile. I could never make it taste good. Probably no one could. I almost threw the recipe away today, but decided it is a cultural relic, good for a laugh. 

My signature dish from my youth was homemade pizza. Years ago, I found a reasonably quick recipe for pizza crust in a Fanny Farmer Cookbook. I also made a quick, fresh sauce from cans of peeled, plum tomatoes and dried herbs. In my youthful exuberance I grabbed each tomato by hand, pinched a hole in the middle and then squeezed them senseless into the pan. I was still a kid. It was all about having fun.

I bought mozzarella in solid rectangular packages and carefully sliced it, making it last. For the topping, I fried up onions and green peppers in olive oil until they were limp and luscious. Fresh sliced mushrooms would go on the pizza, too, and sliced black olives for color.

Yesterday I decided to make that venerable pizza again, the old way. I still enjoyed squeezing the whole, peeled tomatoes into the pan. It seems some thrills never get old. I threw myself into kneading that dough, punching and pushing and giving it tough love until it was just right to stretch. I even used the same old pan from our youth to stretch the pizza out on for baking. It was fabulous. Now I am going to eat the leftovers for breakfast. That was always part of the plan.

Monday, October 16, 2017

Say no to snark

I have noticed a preponderance of snark on social media since the election. Perhaps you have, too? Snark is defined by my computer's dictionary as "snide and sharply critical comments." You know what I'm talking about. It is the online equivalent of giving someone the finger...

Personally, I hate snark. It makes my skin crawl when I hear it, and it makes me want to punch someone out when they use it against me. It seems people use snarky comebacks because they think it makes them appear strong and smart. It doesn't. It makes them appear rude and childish. When you use your vast intelligence to come up with a pithy reply designed to destroy your opponent, then you have wasted your words. But most importantly, you've done no good.

The best way to convince someone to change their mind is to listen to them (as respectfully as you are able to pull off...) and THEN start engaging in discussion, strategically. The best way to shut someone down and push them away is to throw snark at them. Because who is going to want to listen to you if you have accused them of being less than human? 

How do I know this? Because I was once trained in the art of persuasion by an international representative of a large and famous labor union. She could convince anybody of anything.  It was a gift that some people have. If you don't believe me, then follow a successful salesperson around for a day. Salespeople take a lot of abuse and disrespect everyday, but they keep trying to find a way to connect - to make that sale. 

Okay, okay, we all have certain friends or relatives we absolutely cannot listen to or argue with. And social media has brought out the troll in way too many angry, lonely, and desperate souls. Unless you have an advanced degree in psychology, just step away from those folks. Detach. Don't waste your time. Don't surrender to the snark side. It's a slippery damn slope that will deliver you to straight to cynicism. And, well, that's kinda like burning in hell.

I want the world to change for the better. I want to win. The only way to do that is to get strategic. We can do this without sacrificing our humanity.

Don't just react. Take the time to think. 

Saturday, October 7, 2017

The more the merrier!

My husband, T, had his autosomal DNA tested last May in hopes of finding out his heritage. This is a popular endeavor in the U.S. right now and at least one other blogger has written about it recently.

Autosomal DNA gives you information about all your ancestors, not just ones in a male or female line. When you get the results it also gives you biological matches to near and distant relatives who have also had their DNA tested on, telling you what the matches are to you, like siblings, 1st, 2nd, 3rd, and 4th cousins. Well, when he got his results it revealed to him that he has another biological daughter. BIG surprise! He had no idea. It was the 1960s, for crying out loud.

R was given up for adoption by her birth mother. She did her DNA test as a way to find her birth parents. Many of her DNA "cousin" matches had the same last name as T. Since she didn't know about T, and he had not yet submitted his DNA, the repeat appearances of those family surnames did not help her in her search. R assumed that she would not find her actual biological parents unless they submitted a DNA test via Which is what happened with T.

She is a lovely person, solid and good. There are many interesting similarities between her (and her children) and the rest of T's family. We have grown-up grandchildren now, and another son-in-law!!!! Plus our daughter, M, now has a sister! When I wrote my bit about the concept of
Grace a while back, this is what I was referring to; this unbelievably mind-altering, joyous cosmic gift.

Sunday, October 1, 2017


ANOTHER great thing about being retired (!) is that I do not have to wake up to the sound of a jarring alarm 5 mornings out of 7. In fact, this is one of my "10 best things about being retired:"

1.  I get to say whatever I want

2.  I don't have to be nice to people I don't like

3.  I don't wake up to an alarm, I get up when I wake up.

4.  I don't have to wash my hair every day

5.  I don't have to buy Xmas presents for co-workers

6.  I wear flip flops instead of shoes every day

7.  I stopped wearing contact lenses and using eye makeup

8.  I can shop in the grocery store when most people are at work 

9.  Biking is my life

10. The only people who tell me what to do now are people who love me (and I don't have to do what they say)

Did I miss anything?

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Wine Tasting Tour

I just returned from a long weekend in California's wine country (Napa and Sonoma). T and I went with my brother (Big D) and his wife, Vacation Sue; Baby Sister and her husband, Mikey; Big Sister C; and Little Sister (my youngest brother's wife). There were 8 of us. Big D was the master of ceremonies. He made all the arrangements, wrote up an itinerary, and drove us all around in a large Suburban. It was kind of like the clown car. Whenever we stopped, seemingly hundreds of us poured out of the vehicle, laughing and shouting all the way. 

In addition to visiting a number of wineries, we also spent a day being extremely touristy at Fisherman's Wharf in San Francisco where we ate at Scoma's, drank Irish Coffee at the Buena Vista, and made a stop at the See's Candy store. It was fun, and also beautiful. Here are a few photos, sorry they are not in order:

The last of the convoy of ships that stormed Normandy beachheads in 1944


Golden Gate Bridge

I expected to see Popeye on one of these.

C and T in Fisherman's Wharf