Thursday July 24 , 2014

Category: Sooey Says

Let Myself Be

A Facebook friend posted some Sarah Palin commentary by way of a comedian claiming she’s not hot because she’s middle-aged and mocking the fact that she (actually her daughter, but never mind) had a baby with Down’s.

It’s not because I’m a woman that it’s insulting and not funny, it’s because I’m a person that it’s insulting and not funny – right?

I know, I know, most men would find it insulting and not funny, too, but I wonder at the need for some of us to push that envelope, make fun of everything and everybody because everything and everybody is fair game.

Is it? Are we?

Meanwhile, I’d also tweeted my lament for the fact that the lives of the world’s girls matter less than which country’s men can kick more balls into a net.

I know, I know, social media is no place to be serious, but two of my Facebook friends, men, decided to post comments to that effect, making har har with the lament by posting about lingerie tournaments and so on and so forth and more of the same etc etc.

I get it, or got it, and liked their comments (because I’m a woman and want men to like me) and one even messaged me to say he doesn’t mean to be taken seriously, just gets carried away, boys will be boys and all that.

I mean, we’re not talking unfriending or anything, and, of course, if you can’t stand the heat – right?

What form of aggression is that?

I know, I know, it’s not them, it’s me. I’m tired of the argument and have been for years now, I just don’t know how to stop participating in it, or even starting it.

So I just deleted three comments from Dr. Dawg’s blog because I have to learn my lesson and stop wasting everyone’s time while I try to be understood.

Silly me, I have my own blog. I can paraphrase my comment here, and you can read it or skip over it to the next bit, which is a slice of real life, so very sad and unfair and don’t look for any silver lining in it because there isn’t one.

No, not Israel’s attempt to annihilate the Palestinians of Gaza while Stephen Harper and John Baird and the rest of our Christian fundamentalist cabinet cheer on Benjamin Netanyahu, who at least seems to know that what he’s doing is inexcusable.

No one mentions it now, but before lap dancing was legalized, strippers campaigned against it because they knew that they wouldn’t get hired as dancers unless they were willing to take on sex work as well.

Lap dancing is sex work, after all. I mean, there’s a disingenuous distinction between lap dancing and other forms of prostitution, but like I say – disingenuous.

Legalizing lap dancing didn’t make strippers richer or safer. It just made dancing on stage in a g-string as hopelessly old-fashioned as dancing on stage in a g-string and pasties.

It didn’t do anything to prevent rape and murder.

But I’m arguing with the arguers and their arguments, really, because I do believe that study I referred to in another blog entry, the one that claims we’ve had it all backwards since forever, that women are actually NOT meant to be monogamous, that we tire sexually of one man and soon enough want another. It’s a biological imperative, says the study, that we move on.

It’s a social imperative that we can’t.

Not so long ago even here a married woman couldn’t have her own bank account.

It’s a fact that my mother, a widow, was freer than any other mother I knew growing up. My Gram lived with us, of course, so built in babysitter, and my mother was a high school teacher (librarian) so she had a good job. Being a widow was different from being divorced, but I wonder, as much as she loved my father, if she has any regrets.

There is no stigma I’ve experienced equal to leaving hearth and home to be with another man. Did I imagine it? No, I plowed through it. The arguers can argue about the stigma faced by sex workers, but it’s intrigue we have, not “won’t she think of the children?!” I lived it. I know. Women are not supposed to leave hearth and home.

But what about that study? What if… The arguers say that men need prostitutes to get what they may not be getting at home. But what if they’re not getting it because their wives are supposed to have moved on already to another man, it’s just that, well, we’re NOT supposed to move on to another man, we’re supposed to fulfill our marital contractual obligations.

Eventually, I think, we need to ask if libertarianism is a natural outcome of corporate power and weakened government and whether or not this is it, this race to the bottom for work and wages.

Are we free now, libertarians?

A friend of my partner died recently, killed by our healthcare system, really. It’s beyond sad, mistakes were made, and then they were made worse because systems can’t admit to making mistakes, and so they can’t rectify them – human beings have to do that and we don’t allow them to because money – and now this beautiful smart fun young mother is dead.

It’s awkward for me. (I know, I know, but enough about her, Sooey, she’s dead, what about poor living you.) My partner’s set is young, younger than me. This woman was almost 20 years younger. And now I don’t drink, and I don’t smoke pot, and I don’t really hang out the way I used to, or at all.

I’m Mrs. Grundy now.

Anyway, when I first met her I thought what a good looking person she was and she had that attitude a lot of younger women have these days of letting it all hang out, not being a string bean, wearing a kind of frilly white dress with not much to it. She had to introduce herself a couple of times because I met her at an anniversary party for a couple of my partner’s acquaintance and I was meeting too many people at once, all of a similar age, at least a decade (mostly more than) younger than me.

So, the same. They all seemed the same.

Oh dear, just typing this I’m realizing how unlikely it all was. Am I making up the difference age makes. Did they see me as a fallen woman? Do they still?

No one really knows until they’re in it themselves, although I might have imagined feeling judged. There may just have been some confusion as to why I was there.

So it was an anniversary party, but also New Year’s, and eventually we found ourselves outside by the dumpster passing around a joint. Blueberry was mentioned as an ingredient and I said to her, “You know this guy, right?” I was referring to the good time Charlie who was passing around the joint.

“No. I just met him.”

“Omigawd. Aren’t you a nurse?! Should we be smoking this?!”

“Of course not. I don’t think it’s even doing anything.”

And she laughed. She had that throaty laugh really awesome singers have, and she was an awesome singer, such a beautiful voice, really powerful and moving. Just then there was some commotion, a bunch of kids were partying one level down from us in the same building and someone had had too much of something. And she stepped into the breach, hailed a taxi, and sent him off to the hospital with friends.

The responsible medical assessment having been made (under the influence, too!) she slipped back into party mode, which never included much drinking, she wasn’t a drinker, but for that moment the age difference disappeared.

I also felt reassured about the anonymous pot that we agreed was doing something after all. She was a professional under the party dress.

The party continued elsewhere but my partner and I went home. He would have partied on if I hadn’t been there, of course, and I know that, but he’s a good partner who respects his elders and so he saw me home.

In the intervening years she had health problems that were the direct result of mistakes made by a healthcare system she knew better than to trust but what can you do other than do your damnedest to get better anyway.

I try to learn from other people how to live and let live, including myself, letting myself live. When someone dies they’re gone, and we only have each other left and that’s just because we’re alive. We’re all there is.

She was a believer, which surprised me, very rooted in an old-fashioned faith that seemed at odds with her behavour, except that it wasn’t because I left off religion when I was young and so I’m out-of-date, and I realize if she’d wasted any time trying to explain herself on the internet, she wouldn’t have had much luck.

Fortunately, she didn’t, because her life was short enough.

Meanwhile, here’s where I am now – the real reason AA , which is really quite out-of-date, still works, I think, is because there’s no crosstalk.

So I don’t have to explain myself, do I. I just have to let myself be.

 

Memories, I Have a Few … I Think…

You know, I look at Brazil and it’s hard not to be irritated that losing in the World Cup has devastated its population, with rumours that at least one member of the team will be dead in a month as a result.

All I see is the sexism. Teams of grown men vying to kick more balls into a net while other grown men troll the streets of Rio de Janeiro for girls to buy.

Hallelujah, we’ve come a long way, baby.

But I grow old.

Speaking of which, one of the benefits of my job is that I work alongside young women, the university girls (although they aren’t necessarily, I just call them that), and so I hear a lot of their conversation and it reminds me of the thrill of the hunt.

There was a time when boys were just for fun. I mean, the fun was actually being had with the girls while we hunted for the boys, but it really was everything and I love that I get to be around it again because, even though I have daughters, we don’t reveal that part of our lives to our mothers.

There’s a scene in Frasier (remember him?) when Roz is on the phone and Frasier is hanging about waiting to talk to her and he hears her going on about men and sex like she’s talking to a girlfriend and then she says, “Bye, mom. Love you.”

It’s funny because it’s not true.

That was the real relationship on the show, though, wasn’t it. Frasier and Roz.

But I recall telling my kids when they were pre-teens, “Please close your MSN chat when you leave the computer. I really don’t want to know.”

Terrible. I’ll never win Mother-of-the-Year now, I guess.

And we forget, don’t ask me how, that there was a time when all we cared about was stepping out. For me that time was reborn in my 40s when I went online. I was re-remembering just last night about traveling to Toronto from Ottawa to meet up with people at fests that would draw in even more strangers, strangers not just from the internet, including one David Miller, a mostly unknown candidate for mayor.

It was so much fun. Alas, I was a wife, and so the timing was terrible.

Shameful. I’ll never win Wife-of-the-Year, either. Of course, I don’t care about winning wife-of-the-year because that award goes to the husband anyway.

I’ve no one to blame but myself, of course, none of us do. One minute we’re all about fun, the next we’re working harder for less money and tying everybody down to a traditional grind.

No wait, the working harder for less money part came first, didn’t it.

The other day one of the university girls (actually a manager who didn’t graduate from high school) opined that she’d like to meet a guy with money so he could help her realize her professional ambitions.

The thing is, coming from her (she goes through men like water) it sounded like a solid business plan, not a back to the ’50s lament, and I heard myself saying, “Why don’t you focus on finding one?”

While I thought, “Good luck with all that”.

Because we forget but back in the day when I roped one off from the herd and tied him down I was financially independent with a fun job and a social life where my only rule was “no two nights in a row”.

In other words, I was one of the university girls I’m working alongside now except for the “no two nights in a row” rule and a union.

He was a lot like most other young men then and now. Not up to much, if you know what I mean, and you do, I’m sure.

Impoverished and alone with his Pong and bong and stereo. So yeah, having fun in his young man way that, for some reason I honestly don’t understand, a young woman will pretend to abide until she’s hopelessly trapped herself in a relationship with him, at which point she will try to make him over into someone… better.

Once in the relationship, though, it was like that Seinfeld episode when George is suddenly Elaine’s professional and social superior. No sooner were we hitched than he made more money. Then we had kids and I ended up a dependent, a stay-at-home mother while he traveled hither and yon (i.e. cities with regional offices) with the sorts of colleagues I had so much fun with back in another life.

I can’t see the university girls enduring as I did but maybe I’m wrong. I’m happy now, having a different kind of fun than the fun that made me happy back in the day, but I am definitely the exception among my contemporaries re the second fun spurt.

Anyway, I know I started it all going uphill/downhill with a denial of fun, a switch suddenly flipped, and I can’t help but hope the university girls do it  differently, as much as I know they probably won’t.

Except maybe for the working harder for less money part. Still, we’ve come a long way baby – not – since it’s only because young men aren’t working much at all, are they.

 

 

And English, English starts with an “E”, too!

I’m getting ready, set, go to re-start writing a real live book again.

I’m not calling it “Shopgirl”, which Steve Martin stole already and which my sister pointed out is a pretty dated title for a book about someone who works retail.

Is “Not Your Mom’s Ladieswear” too inside?

It’s a riff on “Not Your Mom’s Jeans”.

Also, it is your mom’s ladieswear.

I got called in to work yesterday on my day off because I’m so essential to operations now that the store can’t go a day without my help. It was fortuitous because I spent $60 the other day trying to keep up with the neighbours, whose landscaping tastes run from twee to precious (ours run from wishful to if only), after vowing not to spend a dime after the $200 I spent last summer (only $150 of which was wasted, our $50 Dwarf Korean Lilac is doing just fine, thanks for asking), so getting called in to work on my day off means $50 I wasn’t expecting.

Don’t worry, I don’t really expect money anymore, not in Stephen Harper’s Canada. But that’s okay. Bring on The Apocalypse, I say. The sooner we humanoids exit planet Earth, the more likely it is that better species will survive.

Speciesist, I’m not.

A Conservative MP (the media has taken to calling them Tories again, which I suppose they more or less are, having fully digested the former Progressive Conservatives who were never progressive anyway) stepped in it at the Bill C-36 hearings when he asked a sex worker if she would have felt her freedom of expression was infringed upon if police had rescued her during her horrific rape.

(She had just previously described being raped by three Russians while working in a massage parlour and was on the Hill to express her opposition to Bill C-36, which many Canadians believe will further endanger the lives of sex workers while we supposedly progress to a prostitution-less (free?) society.)

The Conservative MP in question has no idea he stepped in it, of course.

Meanwhile, everyone and her Aunt Thelma is outraged by his misspakenness, but really, didn’t he just misspake out loud what all Conservatives believe anyway – that our publicly funded police agencies should only enforce laws made by Conservative Party of Canada Members of Parliament?

I don’t know, it’s all too back to the future for me, how Feminists are now labelled RadFems by a prostitution lobby that pretends to be all about female liberation (when it’s all about money) because we aren’t gung Ho about the decriminalization of an industry that explicitly objectifies women as sex objects.

So I’m out of that debate because I’m not into it, I’m just not into it, and there’s only so much time to waste in an internet day.

Also, people who recognize that there is no defeat of The Palestinians that isn’t also a defeat of The Israelis vs people who don’t. I’m out of that debate, too.

But last night I engaged my son in a little random back and forth, which I very occasionally do, about an article I read concerning our GDP, the measurement of which doesn’t factor in all the publicly funded goodness behind it. He is mostly of the opinion that all powers that be are idiots because everything is so stupid (as much as I would like him to venture forth into the work world, I don’t know what sort of example I’m providing as to the point of it all, coming home exhausted with $40 or $50 to show for it, five or six days a week) but like me he hadn’t realized just how idiotic and stupid.

Imagine, all these years of politicians going on and on about our GDP, with various and sundry offspring of Paul Demarais Sr. lecturing us about how we have to increase our productivity (so that Power Corp executives can get richer, I guess, which makes sense from Andre Demarais’ point of view, doesn’t it) and no one ever thought to point out that our GDP is almost entirely dependent on the money government invests in social and physical infrastructure.

Which brings me to an interesting exchange between one of my first bosses in the federal public service, an engineer, who had ventured into the store (she bought a dress that really is worth every penny, especially on sale for 1/2 off the sale price) when I introduced her to one of the university girls, who is studying economics.

(I’ve decided to think of myself as semi-retired for the rest of my life, having realized I can’t work for the government again now that I’ve experienced not working for the government.)

I said, “Hey, look at you two – both in disciplines that start with “E”!”

But the university girl said, “No way, she’s an engineer, economics would be easy for her!”

To which my first boss, bless her, said, “No honey, engineering is easy, it’s practical, concrete, makes sense. Economics is all theory. No thanks.”

(My own experience with Economics was disbelief that an entire discipline could be built around supply and demand, so I dropped the only course I ever tried to take in it.)

So while I had him handy I told him about a former colleague at Environment Canada, a lawyer, who caught me using the expression “spending money” in reference to hiring a lawyer to finalize my divorce from his dad.

“No, Sooey, you’re using money. Don’t say wasting or spending, say using. Money’s a tool, you’re using it, trading it (if you must), paying someone who has the expertise to fix a problem for you. Just do it. Use your money to hire a lawyer.”

And while it was difficult for me to think of money as just a tool (I think of it as everything, which is a horrible thing to admit, but I’m sure there are worse things I haven’t, so don’t think less of me yet) I managed, and I’m pretty sure it made the process much more bearable than if I’d continued to think of it as a one way transaction.

So I don’t know why I’m surprised to realize that the economists routinely cited by the media to explain how important GDP is to future “jobs, growth, and prosperity” (supposedly our future “jobs, growth, and prosperity”, although we might want to clarify) don’t factor in how important government investment in social and physical infrastructure is first.

I mean, really, we listen to all manner of politicians go on and on about spending/wasting tax dollars and almost never do we hear them admit that money is just a tool for use in fixing a problem.

Throw money at a problem? No, use it to fix one.

Of course, I would (finally) say that – my degree’s in English.

 

 

 

 

 

Still Not Funny, Bill Burr

The situation in Israel is like a parallel universe Romeo and Juliet, isn’t it? The latest news is that the settler family of one of the Israeli teens murdered by Palestinians (we assume, although I guess we don’t know that for sure) is currently hosting the family of the Palestinian teen who was beaten up by Israeli police, who is also the cousin of the Palestinian teen who was murdered by Israeli settlers.

Netanyahu is stupid like Harper is stupid, though, so good luck to the sane people of the Middle East, if there are any left living (there).

The other day a FB friend, who doubles as a brilliant political satirist, posted a video of Yoko Ono Plastic Ono Band singing their hit song – not – “Don’t Worry”. He has quirky taste, let’s say, and while the words “unspeakably awful” come to my mind, watch it yourself.

Anyway, I forget how it happened, but I ended up watching a video of John Lennon singing with Chuck Berry except with Yoko Ono backing them on the tambourine and random shrieking “Eeeeowwww!”

Unfortunately, Bill Burr, who is apparently a comedian, took it upon himself to try and be funnier than Yoko Ono by overlaying the video with with sexist and violent commentary about how the Beatles were pussywhipped and John Lennon should have punched her in the face and yadda yadda blah blah.

I was struck again by how not funny he is because I’ve seen him not be funny before. It’s not the women-as-assholes-of-the-world part that’s not funny, because often it is (when other comedians do it), it’s his response to the women-as-assholes-of-the-world part that isn’t funny.

I know, I know, funny is subjective, and I guess I’m a little tired of genius, but imagine how tired Yoko Ono was of it. Yes, so tired she started the Yoko Ono Plastic Ono Band.

It’s brilliant, really, the “Eeeeowwww!” and the look on Chuck Berry’s face is so over-the-top WTF?! that I laughed out loud. But what makes it so funny, and what makes Bill Burr so not funny, is that both John Lennon and Chuck Berry sing and play on, troopers that they are, and then there’s another “Eeeeowwww!” and it’s just so unspeakably awful that, really, tears of laughter would have been running down my face except that Bill Burr takes away from the hilarity with his not funny commentary.

Here it is anyway. Do your best to ignore Bill Burr.

I just can’t wait for that lame ass schtick to be retired. I mean, I guess I’m not his audience, but really, it should get tickets to see the Yoko Ono Plastic Ono Band if it wants funny.

Because Bill Burr isn’t.

 

Granola

I’m making granola again today. It seems I need a new batch every couple of weeks, maybe less than that. My son and I eat a lot of it and I usually give a container to my daughter who’s living here as well.

I get a big pot, empty a 1 kg bag of rolled oats into it, add a 300 g bag of coconut, littler bags of almonds, pecans, walnuts and pumpkin seeds. Then I boil 1/2 cup sunflower oil with 1/2 cup maple syrup and pour it over the oats, mix really well, sprinkle with salt, and spread some of it out on a couple of baking sheets lined with tinfoil.

Or not. Tinfoil is optional now that I’ve run out.

Bake at about 275 degrees on the upper rack in the oven for a while, then try to turn it so that the top gets as toasted as the bottom. Then empty it into another pot to cool while you continue to bake the rest. It tends to work out to two baking sessions with two baking sheets for each session.

Then add cranberries and raisins. If you’re a millionaire, add a bag of chocolate covered popped quinoa.

Serve with almond milk if you’re a real granola chomping chowder headed hippie like I’m becoming.

I want a guaranteed annual income so I can continue to make my own granola.

Today’s my day off and of course I’m questioning my job in retail now because it’s unbelievably pointless and stupid. I’m also exhausted from the sudden change in weather, and ridiculously overwhelmed by a couple of simple sewing projects. I’m converting a dress to a skirt and top, and I’m making a skirt.

Is anyone buying this command performance by Rob Ford? Not to tell tales out of school, but that’s not the language of AA he’s using, it’s the language of Rehab. There’s a big difference, you know, because AA is free, not just of money, but of ego. Rehab? Not so much. I think that may be what the money is for, actually, ego protection.

Someone who’d been to AA, for instance, and who’d admitted to herself and others that she’s an alcoholic, would say, “I’m an alcoholic.” She wouldn’t go on and on about having a disease, the disease made me do it, and I have to live with this disease every day until I die.

And she sure as hell wouldn’t appear on national television sipping her water from a Molson’s beer mug.

Yes, you are correct, it’s my one year anniversary.

There but for the grace of the group go I.