Wednesday, March 9, 2016

A Nation of Victims

I’ve got to get this off my chest.  Shut up and worry about something real.  All of us!  This morning, I read that JK Rowling has been accused of “cultural appropriation” following her recent made-up history of wizarding in the Americas, incorporating Native American lore and myth.  That was followed up by a comment about the reason General Leia didn’t hug Chewie when they returned following Han’s death was essentially prejudice against Wookies.  Yeah, you're getting a pretty good look into my inner geek - and highbrow source material but so be it. 

The term is butthurt and I am so disgusted by it that I'm blogging for the first time in more than two years because my feelings cannot be summarized neatly into a silly little Facebook post. 

I write only from my perspective as my own “protected class.” I am a female and I am a feminist.  Not the “how dare you give me less?” variety, the honest-to-God, “how stupid of you to underestimate me” variety.  I am a human and an American and a wife and a mother as well.  None of these are mutually exclusive. 

The original quote by Charlotte Whitton was, “Whatever women do they must do twice as well as men to be thought half as good.  Luckily, this is not difficult.”  Somewhere along the way, that last sentence got left off.  Instead of a rallying cry for the inherent power and ability of women, we’ve turned it into a spoiled toddlerism. 

We are, none of us “given” everything.  We all start out with “something” and it’s different for everyone.  Everyone.  Some certainly have more (another word I’ve come to hate) privilege than others.  That doesn’t mean they’re doing the most with it.   It doesn’t mean that they’re happy, fulfilled, making a real contribution to society.  And guess what?  We can’t control that. 

From a woman’s perspective, I was not “given” everything.  I earned it.  I work hard in my job, in my marriage, in my parenting, in my own mental health and happiness.  If you think it’s easy, you’re doing it wrong.   Love or hate her, Hillary Clinton earned it. Madeline Albright earned it, Eleanor Roosevelt earned it.  And even Kim Kardashian, she’s earned it too. 

So, you want to “Make America Great Again?”  Stop being a victim.  Stop getting butthurt because the MFA hostedan exhibition allowing people to try on kimonos while standing next to a Monet.  Cultural appropriation is about the stupidest term there is – particularly in a great country of immigrants such as ours.  When did assimilation become appropriation? And when did those two words become wrong?  And – by the way – actual Japanese people thought this was the stupidest thing they’d heard in quite a while.

I’ll end my rant with this, because I need to go grocery shopping before school pick up:

Please do not be offended by my or on behalf of me.  I’ve got my own back.  What I want, what I need, I earn.  And if the path is a little harder than someone else’s, it’s okay.  I can handle it.  If your path is a little harder than mine, that's cool too because I'm strong enough to help you be strong.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Wordless Wednesday

Rotten, feral kitties playing with everything they knocked off the dining room table.  They'll have been ours for two months, tomorrow.  Wonder when it's okay to pick them up.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

I'm Back in the Saddle Again...

I'd guess that after a year and a half of no posts, you've figured out that my blogging life has been completely subsumed by my Facebook life.

I have to say, I love Facebook.  It keeps me connected with friends I can't see as often as I'd like and has reconnected me with friends from former lives.  But Facebook is for quips and arranging meet ups.  Blogs are for stories.  And I've missed telling my stories, dreadfully.  (Not to be confused with telling dreadful stories.  Punctuation; it's important!) 

In said intervening 18 months, I've gone back to work, as a REALTOR -- and I love it.  I love the clients, my co-workers, my broker, the flexible schedule, getting to tour some truly incredible houses, and the work itself.  And I'm actually pretty good at it.  Another aspect of my job that's almost too good to be true is that I'm responsible for our social media.

I blog, Facebook, Tweet, Pin, and Link In on a daily basis.  I'm so connected it's scary.  A lot of what I'm writing now is industry specific.  But sometimes, life, humor, and work will coalesce and in those instances, I'll be sure to post over here as well....

Well, boys here we are: less than two weeks from MOVING DAY!!  Of course you’ve noted that 90% of the house is boxed up and that the answer to most of your “Mom, where’s my…?” questions is either “packed” or “I don’t know.”  Click here to continue reading...

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

God Bless Us, Every One

I wanted to give each of you a little something as a thank you for everything you've given me this year. Well, it didn't arrive in time for Christmas. We're all moms here, so I know you'll understand.

For my friends, the someday moms: May your eggs be viable and your uterus be hospitable. Or may you find another way.

For my friends, the gestating moms: May the first and last trimesters go by with ease. May you take the sleep when you can get it. May you savor the miracle.

For my friends, the laboring moms: May your OB be on duty when you go into labor and free with the drugs. May your baby's head be small. May your partner know his place is to shut up and shovel ice chips.

For my friends, the brand new moms: May your baby latch on like a champ and sleep in long stretches. May you shower most days. May your husband have a great paternity leave policy.

For my friends, the mothers of newborns: May your child find a schedule. May he take a bottle, when necessary. May you be there for her first smile.

For my friends, the mothers of infants: May your child sleep through the night. May she be allergy-free. May he be an "easy baby".

For my friends, the mothers of toddlers: May your child not figure out how to open the child proof locks. May she not share food with the dog, then put it back in her mouth. May he not hit the terrible twos before his first birthday.

For my friends, the mothers of preschoolers: May potty training last days, not months. May she not suffer from separation anxiety on the first day of preschool. May he always like you better than his teacher.

For my friends, the mothers of kindergarteners: May your child adjust beautifully to big kid school. May the teacher recogize the uniqueness and individual gifts of your child.

For my friends, the mothers of elementary schoolers: May your child neither bully nor be bullied. May she love learning in all its forms.

For my friends, the mothers of tweens: May your child find his own moral compass. May friends, music, and movies not steal the precious years of childhood innocence.

For my friends, the mothers of high schoolers: May your children's deeds make you proud. May you be their mother first and their friend, second.

For my friends, the mothers of college students: May your children remember your lessons as they take their first fledgling steps to independence. May they make good decisions and know their own minds.

For my friends, the mothers of adults: May your children grow to be intelligent, loving, kind, good, hardworking, humorous parents. And may they take good care of us as we grow old.

For all of us: Though the days are long, the years are short. May we treasure the good ones and run down the clock on the bad ones with humor and love and friendship.

It was either this or a fruitcake.

Friday, December 2, 2011

How the Letch Stole Christmas

She couldn’t believe that she’d actually agreed to have a drink with him – and at his house no less!I really can't stay - Baby it's cold outside
I've got to go away - Baby it's cold outside

She’d given in to the holiday spirit and now, here she was in this terrible weather, looking for a way to escape.This evening has been - Been hoping that you'd drop in
So very nice - I'll hold your hands, they're just like ice

She thought to herself, “I’ll use the old parents excuse.”My mother will start to worry - Beautiful, what's your hurry
My father will be pacing the floor - Listen to the fireplace roar
So really I'd better scurry - Beautiful, please don't hurry

He was already so far gone that she figured one more drink would send him over the edge and she could run.Well Maybe just a half a drink more - Put some music on while I pour

She was beginning to wonder if anyone would hear her screams, should it come to that. The neighbors might think - Baby, it's bad out there
She was beginning to feel the effects of something more than two glasses of “eggnog”Say, what's in this drink - No cabs to be had out there

She could feel the waves crash over her, pulling her underI wish I knew how - Your eyes are like starlight now
To break this spell - I'll take your hat, your hair looks swell
I ought to say no, no, no, sir - Mind if I move a little closer
At least I'm gonna say that I tried - What's the sense in hurting my pride
I really can't stay - Baby don't hold out
Ahh, but it's cold outside

C'mon baby

Before the euphoria fully envelops her, she puts it as plainly as possible:I simply must go - Baby, it's cold outside
The answer is no - Ooh baby, it's cold outside

But tries not to awaken the beast that lurks inside
This welcome has been - I'm lucky that you dropped in
So nice and warm -- Look out the window at that storm

She thinks; let him think that someone will be looking for herMy sister will be suspicious - Man, your lips look so delicious

No, someone who could take himMy brother will be there at the door - Waves upon a tropical shore
She casts about for something that will help her.My maiden aunt's mind is vicious - Gosh your lips look delicious

She reaches into her pocket and presses the panic button of the cell phoneWell maybe just a half a drink more - Never such a blizzard before
I've got to go home - Oh, baby, you'll freeze out there

She searches for some kind of weaponSay, lend me your comb - It's up to your knees out there

She hears the sirens in the distanceYou've really been grand - Your eyes are like starlight now

Keep him talking…But don't you see - How can you do this thing to me
There's bound to be talk tomorrow - Making my life long sorrow
At least there will be plenty implied - If you caught pneumonia and died

Yes, the sirens are definitely headed this way.I really can't stay - Get over that old out
Ahh, but it's cold outside
Baby it's cold outside
Brr its cold...It's cold out there
Can’t you stay awhile longer baby

She just needs to hold on for a few more seconds
Well... I really shouldn't... alright
Make it worth your while baby
Ahh, do that again...

Police! Hands in the air!

Friday, November 18, 2011

How I Became a Mother - November 18, 2002

Sunday, November 17th, one month and one day before my due date, Andy, my BIL, and I were watching the Patriots play the Raiders on Sunday Night Football while I consumed my weight in guacamole and chips, feeling HRH doing aerobics in my abdomen. I went to bed somewhere around the 3rd quarter and the Braxton-Hicks continued.

Around 1:00 am, I went to the bathroom and upon returning to our room, commented to my unconscious husband that something was up (where "up" = mucus plug) and climbed back into bed. Maybe another half hour passed and the contractions continued and got stronger. I leaned over to Andy and, touching him lightly on the shoulder, whispered, "Honey, I think I'm in labor."

In no less than three seconds, Andy is out of the bed, lights on, and has gone from boxers and a t-shirt to jeans and a sweatshirt. And he's accusing me questioning me about what's going on while I am thumbing through the 'false labor' section of What to Expect When You're Expecting and learning nothing. I call my OB's office and get a call back from the on-call physician, who asks me in his German accent what my previous labors had been like (Dude? Previous labors? Didn't you read the first sentence? This is how I became a mother.)

When the contractions were around 3 minutes apart, we decide that we'd rather go to the hospital and have professionals laugh at us for crying wolf. But not before Andy packs a bag for me - containing six face cloths(?) and two pairs of his socks (I did end up using the socks). Thanks, babe.

On the surreal, 20-minute ride to the hospital, it occurs to us that we may indeed become parents that night and perhaps we needed to decide on a name (we knew it was a boy). Between contractions, we arrived at HRH.

We arrived at the hospital around 3:00 am and parked in the fire lane (I still have the parking ticket as a souvenir). We arrive in the ER and find a nurse to check us in. She explains we need to go to Labor and Delivery and of course, we know where that is. Uh, no. The tour part of our prenatal class was scheduled for the following Tuesday. Did I mention I was a month early? So we get directions and head down to a locked door and press the intercom. A woman answers and I (feeling like Dorothy at the door to the Emerald City) say "Um, my name is Christine Manic and I think I'm having a baby?"

Thank God, we were now in the hands of more competent and knowledgeable people. I was ushered into a very nice room, given the once over and it was determined that I was indeed in labor. Cause these things were really starting to hurt.

0.25 seconds later, I asked for drugs.

Remember the guac from earlier? Yeah, so did I. Proud, bonding moments passed between myself and my husband (who had heretofore never even seen me pee) and the toilet as I adjusted to labor. Eventually, I was in bed and given a Nubain IV, which allowed me to sleep between contractions (mmm....sleep....contraction! owwwwww!....sleep...) and then my boyfriend the anesthesiologist arrived to place a red hot poker needle into my spine with that great, "move-and-you're-paralyzed" warning. I was. not. impressed. with the Epidural.

More time (weeks, maybe months) elapsed and I opened my eyes to find my team and my husband watching The Today Show. I spun my head 360 degrees and demanded to know why Katie Couric was on TV. They switched off the television and got down to business; it was TIME TO PUSH.

Of course being a month early, my doctor was away so the on-call OB, Dr. Mengele arrived. I suck at pushing. I told him the epidural wasn't working. He did not care. And told me more meds would slow progress. I think he studied medicine straight out of the bad parts of the Bible where women must endure the pain of childbirth to atone for Eve's sins. To this day, I hate him.

After about two hours of "he's just around the bend" (Bend? What freakin' bend? What do you mean my body is shaped like a J?), my nurse finally turned on the tough love and demanded that I get at least two to three good pushes out of each contraction. Andy hears this and decides to try this approach with me as well - once.

He then wisely returned to holding my hand and shoveling ice chips into my waiting mouth. Finally, the baby was crowning. Using that same drill sergeant voice that had worked so well on me, the nurse instructed Andy to take a look. He left my side and peered down, returning seconds later, white as a sheet. He later told me his only thought was "that's one big vagina." He stayed up by my head throughout the rest.

At 10:26 am, after nearly four hours of pushing, I finally PUSHED just the right way and was rewarded with my beautiful 5 pound (head) and 9 ounce (body) baby boy.

It wasn't until they went to push the pitocin through my IV that they realized that the IV had come out and I wasn't getting the drugs. Andy fessed up that he'd been inadvertently stepping on the IV tubing throughout the night. My own OB also later told me that I'd reacted poorly to the epidural and he'd watch for that next time.

What I remember most of the next hours and days was the first time I was alone with HRH. I looked at him and knew him; he looked familiar - not in a 'he looks like his dad' kind of way but more of an 'I know you.'

And I was a mom.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

To Always Remember

My first "I remember where I was" moment occurred when the Challenger exploded. It was January 1986. A nor'easter was blowing into Massachusetts and my school closed early.

A bunch of us rented some movies and headed to my friend, Joe's house.  My friend, Michele called her father to tell him where she was. I can remember her saying, 'What?!" and to us, "the shuttle exploded! Turn on the TV!"

Ten years ago,

I was sitting in my office in Andover and Andy called me when he got into his office in Cambridge. He commented he'd just heard on the radio that someone had just flown into the World Trade Center. We both thought it was some poor idiot in a Cesna. We both thought it was an accident. We hung up and I ambled into my boss, Lee's office and told her. She tried to get onto and couldn't. Then another co-worker ran in to say a second plane had just hit the other tower.

Not an accident. An attack.

We were in a new building and didn't have a TV so all over, small groups of people gathered around small images on computer monitors. Every time someone managed to get some news, it spread as horrible rumors through the office. As we learned about Flight 93, my friend, June got a panicked, crying call from her college-aged son. His dad was flying back from PA today. Had she heard from him? She had not but later learned, thank God, he was not aboard that flight.

Finally, Lee and I left the building to run to a local big box store to get a TV. Going home would take too long. It was in Lee's Jeep that we heard that the first tower had fallen. We saw the second tower fall standing among strangers in front of a big-screen TV in Best Buy.

We spent a longer while at work, eventually leaving to watch the horror unfold from the comfort of our own homes. There, I pleaded with Andy to leave the job he had just started a few weeks before. He worked in Kendall Square, where MIT is located. I was sure if there were more attacks "they" would target the academic centers soon.

He didn't leave until 5:00 and was home in record time. He found me in front of the TV exactly where I had landed when I arrived home hours before. We watched more. We headed to his mom's to wish her a "happy" birthday. More TV, bed, God-Bless-America-sex, sleep.

In the morning, we woke up back to the bad dream that was our new reality.

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