Day Without A Woman

So today is a day without a woman.  I was already scheduled to be off today, so today I will wear red and I won’t buy anything more.  (I forgot this morning and ordered toothbrush heads online).  BUT NOTHING MORE… Being married to another woman leaves me little impact at home.  I can’t not do the dishes because she can’t not do the dishes either.  We kind of need to feed our teenager, and dogs, and cats, and bearded dragon.  The snakes already ate this week.

Truth is, it is hard not to serve when serving is also nurturing.  We serve because we are women or we are servants because we are women.  I would rather like to think that service was an admired position but because wealthy white men are less likely to do it, that thought is in doubt.

Serving others makes me feel better about the world.  Maybe that is why many rich white men come across as so bitter and angry and entitled.  From my perspective entitlement doesn’t make you feel good.  It makes you resentful. Wish that I could have hope for the entitled.  I don’t.  It’s too bad we ignore the happiness quotient, because if it really were valued as the GDP, then we might get a picture of how profoundly poor the United States really is.

If you want to get happy, go serve, but not today.  Today, make your worth felt by the absence of your service.  Today, do some positive self-care.  Yoga is good. Meditation is better.  Meditation you don’t have to pay an instructor for leading you.  Go to yoga tomorrow.  Today make your service valued by not do it.  Feed your pets and children but that’s it.  No freebies today.  No taking care of the entitled today.  Make your value known by not suiting up and showing up.  If you have to, wear red.  Don’t shop (except if you need toothbrushes — oral hygiene is essential).  Don’t even smile at strangers (especially white entitled men), smile at women though — that is definitely okay.  🙂 This is me smiling at you (but not you rich, entitled men — not today…) You Sir must think about what you have done!  Think about those you have taken for granted… tomorrow I will smile at you, but not today!  No Sir… not today.

Week Two — Casualty Report

We did it.  We mobilized.  We went to Washington.  We prevented the big now what by starting Writing Wednesdays or Postcards to Politicians.  The verdict is out on the name.  We are a small army in our division (I am getting all the military terms wrong).  We are a search party.  We are gathering more people some are out others show up.  It’s a loose plan, and so far works quite well.  One is doing recon at sea and the other is going on a mission tomorrow. (One’s on a cruise the other is flying south).  It’s OK because next we one will be in the MASH Unit (back surgery from an old war injury — that is for realsies).

It matters that we are all over 30, nay, over 40 … etc. women.  Gloria Steinem said that one day a group of gray haired women will take over the world.  We plan to be in the infantry of that great army.  I would like to be in the navy because I abhor marching and being hot.  I would much rather swim in the cool water.  But you go where you must.  Right now, our base of operations is Starbucks (Oleander and Independence).  They’ve committed to hiring veterans, and immigrants, and we have committed to drinking coffee and chai tea to support the cause.

We are two weeks in and have 500 postcards to go, so I don’t imagine we will be retiring anytime soon.  This is a marathon soldiers!  Not a sprint!!!  So we are being active.

I feel like I have gotten to know my Senators and Representative in this short time.  My postcards are becoming more personable.  Last week it was just “Senator so and so…” fortunately I didn’t beseech him but I plead.  This week I was more, “well you blew it with that DeVos vote last week, but here’s a way you can redeem your record…”  Last week it was signed “Sincerely,” this week was “your pal.”

Last week, I did mention the constituent who calls Mike Pence every day to talk about her period.  Next week my postcards might sport the word Uterus.  Caffeine in the evening makes me a little more edgy.  I also went to a local political meeting for our vacant district seat.  I have put in my support for my candidate. (Run Deb RUN!!!) I have never done that before.  So this New Year, this 2017, it’s Vaginas to the Wall doing things I have never done before, breaking barriers, getting out of my shell,  speaking up, speaking out, not sitting down, not shutting up.  I have also been saying motherfucker a lot more that I normally do.  I have also been sleeping a lot less, which is amazing since I am nearly a professional when it comes to sleeping.

If this new president can get someone like me pissed off long enough to stay awake, march, go to a meeting and organize a contingent of postcard soldiers then you know there’s a wave of angry people who will not stop until this ship is steady and on course again.

So if you would like to join me in staying awake, having some chai and writing messages to our new besties in DC.  I will be at the round table with a box of cards and some pens.  See you next week.

My Grandmother’s China

Thursday, February 17, 2011

When I was in my early twenties and just out of college, my grandmother flatly declared, “You might as well have the china. You will never find a man to suit you.  You will never get married.”

It had always been her intention to give her china to the grandchild who married last. We always knew that the last one to marry (in later years it was refined to the last one to marry for the first time) would get “The China.”  I am four years younger than the next youngest cousin, so by age alone, I was probably the most likely candidate, but I don’t think any of us were holding off nuptials in order to win the prize.

However, as each relative fell one by one to wedded bliss, someone would inevitably say, “Well, it looks like you aren’t going to get the china.”

I had only seen the china a few times in my life.  My father had only dined on the china once in his life to his recollection.  We had heard about the china more than we had seen it.  Who would get it, how she got it and how it doubled in the thirties.  My grandmother lived in coal country in Pennsylvania.  There we a lot of immigrants there and she was surrounded by diversity.   As with many families in the 1930s, her neighbor, Russian immigrant who attended the Eastern Orthodox Church, met with hard times and reluctantly had to part with her china, which miraculously was the same pattern as my grandmother’s.

I could only imagine the Shashlyk and Pelmeni and Borsht that had once covered those plates.  I close my eyes and almost taste the Borsht (which I learned to make and consequently love). I sometimes look at the stacks of dishes in my china cabinet and wonder which ones would have held Russian fare.     Because of the Russian lady’s misfortune; my grandmother’s china became service for 16.  She also acquired all the accouterments of table ware that go along with fine dining and civilized living.  If the Queen or Governor or president of the mine came to dinner,  she could set an elegant table.

Did I mention that my grandmother didn’t cook?  When she made her declaration and passed the china to me, it was in pristine condition – it still is.  In keeping with family tradition, I have never used it.

After doing some research, I found out that the china was made in 1921, and it’s Noritake.  The pattern name is Sheridan.  It has a delicate pattern of little flowers with a light blue checked border and a gold rim.  It is definitely not microwave safe, and I wouldn’t dare put it in the dishwasher.  It is very dainty and delicate – a fitting pattern for my grandmother.

They say men look like their dogs; well maybe women resemble their china patterns.   She was delicate and dainty at 5 foot nothing and maybe a hundred pounds soaking wet.  Until she started to speak, then she seemed a lot bigger.  She was pretty feisty with a big attitude.  She was fond of saying, “lips that touch wine will never touch mine.”  Little did she know that when the men in the family gathered in the trailer, they were not catching up on each other’s lives but hiding out and drinking beer.    

She was a teetotaler and coincidently, she liked tea.  She had a tea cup collection – china cups and their matching saucers were a prominent display on her china cabinet.   That is not where she kept “the china”.  It was buried far back in the kitchen cabinets in the place no one could ever reach.  It was safe from everyday selection or accidental use.  It the china came out it was completely intentional.

After I gained possession of the china, I threatened once to bring it out for Thanksgiving dinner when my parents drove the 394 miles to stay with us for the holiday.  My father said he had never eaten turkey off of those plates and wasn’t about to start now.  That day I vowed to myself that I would keep the family tradition; I would never cover those delicate flowers with mashed potatoes and gravy.  In fact, to this day, I have never eaten off of those plates.

I started thinking about the china and what it meant to me and my past just the other day.  I have been obsessing over it lately wondering if I would have to sell it to survive this separation and inevitable divorce.   The china had nothing to do with my marriage.  In fact, my grandmother never met my husband.  As far as she knew, she was right about me until the day she died.   She died safe in the knowledge that I would never marry.

I was thinking of this the other day as I packed the dishes in a cat food bucket.  It seemed the safest way to transport those dishes from the house to the apartment.  It occurred to me that my grandmother may have been acknowledging something in me way back then that I never truly knew but warily suspected was there.

You see my grandmother’s best friend’s daughter is a lesbian.  She and her partner of nearly 40 years were “roommates” as far as my grandmother was concerned.  She had known these women for many years; they took her on their vacations with them to their cabin on the lake during the summers.  They would play cards at night and traverse the lake in a paddle boat by day.  One of my favorite pictures is of my grandmother, her friend and the “friends” is of them sitting in the paddle boat, wearing big brimmed hats and large sunglasses. They all had happy, carefree smiles.  She loved those women dearly.  In fact, the daughter and her brother are both ministers, and they both preached my grandmother’s funeral.  They loved my grandmother too.

I suspect the gift of the china was a way of giving me what she thought I would never have.  In her world, a lesbian couldn’t marry her “friend”, so there would be no occasion for china.  Maybe that was her way of giving me what she knew no one else would.  Maybe she knew long before I ever did.  Maybe she saw in me what she had seen in her best friend’s daughter.   Maybe…  Of course, I will never know in this lifetime, but I do know this, when I marry my wife to be, because somewhere in my world that is possible.  When we marry, we will be eating on that china after the wedding.  I may have to do some convincing to serve Russian food at the reception, but we are going to break that family tradition.

We are going to break a lot of family traditions… but that is another story for another time.

I am tirelessly saving the world.

Day after day, I attend my Facebook page, scouring posts, sharing and re-sharing things I think my friends and foes need to know.  I fear I am in an echo chamber. I am certain that I might be (with conviction).

I have thinned out the more dubious sources.  I stick to the mainstream, well respected sources, Washington Post, New York Times, The Atlantic, etc.  I am sure these sources are good ones.  I can’t understand how co-workers, family members and some of my friends don’t get it.  This new president is out of bounds.  He is not shaking things up and draining the swamp.  He is creating chaos with ill written edicts during the day, allocating his job as president to his yes persons and by night saber rattling and scaring our citizens and allies.  Meanwhile, our enemies rub their hands together betting on when the whole thing topples.

This two-hundred year experiment in democracy is flirting with fascism.  When we toy with reality or allow our leaders to create their own narrative to fit their greed and prejudices, when facts become relative we are not only in danger of unraveling our hard won independence we are also in danger of losing our very minds.

Fascism teaches blind loyalty.  We shouldn’t question our dear leader.  Fascism has its way with higher education so we the people don’t have the capacity to question.  There is not coincidence that the pick for Secretary of Education knows nothing about education.

If we don’t fight these battles now, we stand to lose everything.  Go to protests.  Call your Congress people.  Vote.   Most of our political leaders are more interested in saving their own skins than serving higher minded ideals.   Remember, for now, they work for us not the president.  Put pressure on them before it’s too late.

We can save the world on our own, but we can do it together.  There is a reason that George Orwell’s, 1984 (Signet Classics)is a best seller again.  If you haven’t read it, you should.

Hello world! Layla Proudfoot is back.

  • Layla Proudfoot is back!  With a vengeance… a passion … a tired slogging forward into the next right thing.

That is probably it.  I am tired but I am slogging forward.  This is a distressing week.  I say distressing because devastating has been over used and sounds overly dramatic.  Depressing sounds defeated, so distressing it is. It is also all of those other things.

I am in the stages of grief over this election.  I haven’t reached acceptance.  I am putting distance between me and acceptance.  I am turning over chairs and tables and filing cabinets and small refrigerators in my path so it is harder for acceptance to catch me.  I don’t want to accept this.  I can’t let this ugliness become incorporated into my being.  I just can’t.

While some will cast doubt on our choice of candidates, I won’t do that either.  Did Hillary Clinton have baggage? Of course she did!  Anyone with 30, THIRTY years of experience will have baggage.  ANYONE.

But just a Bodiccia fell in the end, Hillary will have her day.  Maybe 2,000 years in the future with an epic movie showing our hopes and dreams going up in flames with her.  She will have her day.  Oh but Steven Hawking only gave us 1,000 years left.  I guess that won’t happen either.  Well, we have our memories of what almost was.

The big deal about Hillary losing her glam squad because she gave a speech in no make up, well that was just her way of saying, “Bitch, hold my earrings.”  She’s not done.  Not by a long shot.

She’s “not giving up and neither should we.”

I am not giving up my inability to accept the orange one as President.  I cannot accept his cabinet as a reflection of America.  This is not right even if it is to be. (That was not acceptance.  That was a hint of resignation.)