coming out of my shell

coming out of my shell

Wednesday, May 29, 2019

Rallying Cries

There has never been a woman president in the United States. There has never been a woman vice president. Ever. Can I say that again? Ever!

When I say “Elect women” or “We need a woman president” it pushes some right over the edge. I've had so many online arguments with men AND women who hear a pro-woman rallying cry and assume I'll single-handedly destroy the U.S. presidential election by refusing to vote for a male candidate.

Then there are the ones who say, “We tried it with Hillary and it didn’t work. The country isn’t ready to elect a woman, if you wait it will happen eventually.” Uh, I became a feminist in 1968. I’ve been waiting for over 50 years. I’m sick of waiting.

The "We tried HIllary" argument creeps me out. Although she likely won the election, and certainly won the popular vote, some think if one woman ran and didn’t win, then that justifies not considering a woman candidate. I understand the fears, but really? How can we change the world if we only give women one shot at power?

Rallying cries are emotional shorthand meant to focus attention on an issue. “Vote for Women” is intended to remind us that women are not fully represented in government and we need more women in power. That’s all, folks.

When women say "Let's support women candidates" or "Elect Women" it doesn't mean gender is the only factor. It's like saying "Black People Matter." That statement does not mean ONLY black people matter. It means black people matter, TOO. 'Isms are tricky, complicated, slippery damn things. Let's think more deeply about them.

I will advocate for those I consider the best candidates, and all other things being equal I will vote for a woman. But if a man is the best candidate, I’ll vote for the man. 

However, I won't dismiss women candidate out of hand because some believe women can't win. I'm giving all the candidates a chance to convince me. I'm open.

It’s way too early for me to know who I’ll vote for in the primary. I currently have 3 favorites: two woman and one man. That could change over time. Most of the others I like, too. I’m a team player. “Vote Blue, No Matter Who” is also a rallying cry I hold dear. I just want more women elected to government at all positions, even president. 

Monday, May 20, 2019

CHOICE: 1998 advice to a pregnant teen

Here's a letter I wrote to a 15 year old pregnant niece of mine over 20 years ago.  In light of the current attack on Roe vs. Wade, I think this is thought provoking.  I think there's a lot we all need to think about.  If we don't think, we may not act.  If we don't act, our hard fought rights will be eroded.  Anyway, I'm sharing this letter and I still stand behind it. How wonderful that she had a choice.

5 Nov 1998

Dear ---,

So glad to hear you received the clothes. M and I had a lot of fun picking them out. T got a kick out of how different maternity clothes are nowadays. You can’t imagine how UGLY maternity clothes used to be. Big, clunky collars and blocky shapes. Yuck. And they didn’t used to have maternity jeans, so I had to cut out the stomach in mine, and sew in elastic panels. 

Sounds like your pregnancy is progressing nicely. You’ll be amazed at how glorious the whole experience is.  Nothing else like it in the world. Your Grandma is famous for having really easy deliveries. She was able to just pop ‘em out with little pain and with short labors (she delivered J at home because it went so quick she didn’t have time to get to the hospital). Maybe you’ll have inherited that from our side of the family? Did your Mom ever talk about her pregnancies and deliveries?

How’s school?  Does it seem weird to be going to classes pregnant?  Also “in the old days” they made girls quit high school when they got pregnant. You couldn’t attend classes when you started to show (or when the gym teacher found out - they used to track our periods in gym class in order to figure out when one of us got pregnant).  I was in college, trying to major in art, when I was pregnant.  People really thought it was weird that I was still taking classes. One professor actually asked me why I was still enrolled.  It really pissed me off - I remember answering, “What else am I supposed to do?”  It just never occurred to me to live my life any differently than I had been. People can be so mean, you know?

Here’s the advice part of the letter (warning, I’m not a normal person - so please just humor me):

Yeah, well, life can be pretty @#*! hard, especially when you don’t have a lot of money.  It’s the nature of “Life” to take it’s best shot from time-to-time - sometimes hitting you square in the face. The really special people in this world seem to be the ones who are strong enough to take it on the chin, pick themselves up and keep on trying to do their best. I don’t know if you’ve ever watched a pro-boxing match on TV - I love boxing. I think it symbolizes a whole lot about the way reality is for working class people. I really love that “down but not out” stuff.  And even when someone doesn’t win, if they fight with A LOT OF HEART, they still earn the respect and admiration of the audience. It‘s really all about the effort - not the result. I see you as having a lot of heart.  I’m in awe of the things you’re doing right now to keep yourself afloat. What an enormous effort it must be to try to get through school this year, and to provide a safe, healthy environment for yourself while you’re pregnant. I think you must be pretty wonderful.

And on top of all that, you’re also faced with some major real-life decisions. I’m glad to hear that people are giving you a lot of time and space to make the decision about the baby. That’s important.  Because (as you’ve figured out by now) once we get pregnant, women are faced with those three scary choices:  abort the fetus, allow the pregnancy to go full term and keep the baby, or give the baby to someone else to raise. Realistically, each one of those decisions will bring you physical and emotional pain at some definable point in time.  Each decision becomes a path your life will take forever.  Any one of those choices will probably bring you additional emotional pain further down the line. That’s just the way it is, but the fact that each is a hard choice makes them all equal in some ways.  Of course, each choice will bring you moments of great happiness in the future, as well.  Consequently, I don’t think any one of them is a bad decision. They’re all good choices to make, depending on who you are, what you want from your life, and what you feel you can handle.  Emotional pain isn’t the end of the world. When you have a lot of heart (which you do) and are a strong woman (which I think you will become) - you can handle emotional pain. It can shape you for the good, or for the bad - depending on who you are, and how you approach it. 

Independent of the pregnancy, what do you want to do with your life, by the way? What were your plans for after graduation before you found out you were pregnant?

Please write and let Uncle T and me know how you’re doing.  We care about you, and we’re concerned about your current situation.  And, of course, we wish you the absolute best.  

Wednesday, May 8, 2019


Guess which charming Florida retirees are going to become great-grandparents at the end of this year?  Yahooooooo.

Thursday, May 2, 2019

7 Hours

We took care of our 7-year old grandson, N, for 7 hours the other day. Here's what we did:
  • Made weapons out of Tinker Toys.
  • Grandma and N made corn muffins.
  • Had epic fight with Tinker Toy swords. N won.
  • Grandpa and N found an undiscovered Easter egg in the yard. It had 4 dimes in it - yay!
  • We all went for a swim.
  • Grandma and N tried to push Grandpa off his floatie.
  • Played Marco Polo in water.
  • Played keep-away in the water.
  • N picked vegetables.
  • N took a bath. Grandma and N squabbled over how high the bath water should be. Grandma won.
  • Grandma and N watched an episode of Sponge Bob.  Grandpa disappeared.
  • N played with small cars while watching Sponge Bob. Grandma disappeared.
  • N realized G&G weren't in room and bellowed for us to come back. We complied.
  • Tried to find a board game to play. Couldn't agree.
  • Blew up balloons and instead of tying them off, let them go all over the house.
  • Grandpa wouldn't play hide and seek. N called him a "party ruiner." Grandpa was not ashamed.
  • N played computer games, Grandma snuck out of computer room. N didn't notice.
  • Break time for G&G while N played with small cars.
  • Drove downtown to eat.
  • Grandma and N raced from the parking lot to the restaurant trying to beat Grandpa there. N won,
  • Drew silly and unflattering pictures of each other.
  • Worked on activity workbook and ate.
  • Walked to the pavilion and waited until someone occupying one of the 4 swings left.
  • N threw pennies in fountain.
  • Two people left and we got their swing!
  • N pushed G&G frightfully high on the swing.
  • N joined us on the swing, complaining we didn't swing high enough.
  • Took turns jumping off the swing. Ouch. (Note to self, getting too old to jump off swings.)
  • Grandma and N raced to the car, got in, slumped down and "surprised" Grandpa when he arrived.
  • Went for ice cream.  
  • Took N to his house and waited for his parents.
  • N played Minion's Rush on Grandma's iphone.
  • N and Grandma played with magnetic tiles. 
  • N said "Isn't this great?"  I asked "What?" He replied,"You, me, Grandpa, here. This."
  • N's parents came home and G&G skedaddled.