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Showing posts from April, 2007

Feminism: Burning Bras or Burning Bridges

I liked Helen Reddy, or rather her song, "I am Woman." I liked her haircut too. I belted out her song in the shower. I've roared in my husband's dumbfounded face. But I really always thought I was doing it for my personhood more than my womanhood.

I've never called myself a feminist per se, although I've espoused feminist viewpoints. But, for me, the term conjures an image of the "radical" feminists of the 60's. About the only thing I did in that decade that put me in step with the feminist movement was to go braless-- though I never burned mine-- but I always sort of thought braless-ness pleased men; I never quite understood the reason feminists chose that particular action. Wasn't feminism supposed to be about doing what you wanted regardless of men?

"Jessica Valenti, author of the new book "Full Frontal Feminism," discusses sex positivity, activism and boob flashing as a feminist statement," says Rebecca Traister on S…

When we get older~

Sometimes in the midst of the serious problems in life, I dwell on problems of less significance-- like a saggy chin. (Maybe I should call it a double chin, but right now it is only double if I look down, so saggy will do for --hopefully-- many more years.)

I know it all has to do with the aging process, and gravity. Most of my doctor visits in the past few years have included such comments from doctors and dentists as: "When we get older our (fill in body part) start to (choose from: sag, hurt, fall out, become more abundant). None of which is encouraging. Or attractive.

I had a chin wake-up call the other day. I was in my role as "reporter" for the local paper. I'd been asked to come see the town's Emergency Operations Center by its director, a man who is a retired Drug Enforcement Agent.

He was in his glory in his "bunker" in the basement of the town office building. He wanted to give me the "25-cent tour." I could put a cat to shame with my …

There is a season~

Yesterday when school reopened after spring vacation, teachers learned through a whispered grapevine that a high school girl-- a junior in the district-- had died during vacation week.

The details were sketchy as they often are in such stories. People try not to be overly graphic when sharing details, which is probably for the best, but this leaves me grappling with images that come anyway.

She was crushed by a car, we heard. Later a friend said the girl had been sneaking out. Not wanting to wake her parents she didn't start the car. Instead, she shifted into neutral to let it roll silently down the driveway. Something went wrong-- she was half in, half out of the car. The car wouldn't steer-- and she was crushed somehow. The paper carrier discovered her body at 4:30 in the morning. Her family was still asleep.

Her friends know things-- and her family must, too-- that I don't know. Like, where she was going. To meet a boyfriend? To get together with girlfriends? To drink? …

Knitting a life~

I live in a college town. The same college I commuted to so many years ago. I commute now to my former hometown where I teach at the middle school, courtesy of the degree I earned in college. That so much of my life has been lived within such a small circle bothers me a little, but it is not important at all in the grand scheme of things. That so much of my life has been lived is what counts.

Today I walk across the Bridgewater State College campus to the Administration Building that stands behind a half-mast flag in recognition of the bond shared with Virginia Tech. There but for the grace of God . . .. 

In the shadow of the flag stands a group of potential students and their parents taking a tour of the campus, carefully scrutinizing, assessing, evaluating, deciding: is this college for me? 

It breaks my heart. 

I think of the 32 students killed at Virginia Tech, gunned down in cold blood by one who made the 33rd death the final one. 

Each chose Virginia Tech thoughtfully…

Just another day~

It's just another day. . . for me anyway. A state holiday, the day of the Boston Marathon, the Boston Red Sox played and beat the Angels. The tail end of a nor'easter wags like a puppy dog; the rain has stopped, the power is back on, and there's just a lot of chilly wind.

There's no school, the start of vacation week, no big plans-- grocery shopping, a nap, a little writing, reading, laundry, stuff and roast a chicken. A day like any other.

Then a friend posts a link to the Pulitzer Prize winners on the Internet Writing Workshop, and I click to check it out. I'm short on time, so I jump to the feature photography winner: Renee Byer. I'll start here, and check the others later.

I have no expectations. I click through the black and white photos of mother and son-- I'm a mother of sons-- and am overtaken by the stark honesty, the terrible honesty, sad, bleak, no-hope-at-all honesty in the pictures of the mother whose young son is dying of cancer.

I don't…

Coffee and Donuts~

I got two nice responses from friends to my post on "Renewing My Vows" where I rededicate myself to my former New Years Resolution, now known as Spring Rebirth Wish.

I was/am planning to step back onto the treadmill and "watch" what I eat. The old exercise more/eat less theme.

The first response was from a woman, Frances, who said in the very first line, "I empathize with this . . .." She used the word feelings-- twice.

Frances understood. I sighed with pleasure.

The other was from Gary, a guy I respect, admire, and happen to like a lot. And while I'm absolutely positive he doesn't live on Mars, he had either just returned from a party with the guys, or his inherent Mars genetic traits resurfaced at the chance to give advice. He is, after all, a man, God love him. He had just the fix I need; he just knew it.

His response was funny, lots of humor. It made me laugh. I sighed with pleasure.

Gary started with advice: one rule, and two exceptions.

And I thou…

Renewing my vows~

I recommitted myself today.

I'd been so sure I'd remain faithful to my vow. In the honeymoon period, I was involved and invested. I made my promise the focus of my life. I thought I'd be one of the lucky ones to maintain a long-term relationship, not just one of the failures.

I'm talking about that New Year's resolution I made at the stroke of midnight January 2007.

Same old, same old: Lose weight and exercise more. What else?

I remember when I didn't need to "resolve" to do this. I just did it. It was a life style. I'm not sure when it became such work, or why.

I'm sure it had something to do with having three kids, working full time, ending a marriage, starting another, caring for a dying parent. Stress increases cortisol, they say, and that causes weight gain. So does getting older, and being betrayed by slowing metabolism. Oh, and not sleeping well, my fallback excuse, which is now supposed to make one gain weight.

The bottom line? Those are …

A remote chance~

I'm home alone. My husband's at a meeting, son at his girlfriend's, daughter at her boyfriend's. It's just me, myself and I. Yes!

I love being alone, always have. I relish the quiet, the lack of interruptions, the lack of raised eyebrows if I want to take a nap in the middle of the day. The lack of needing to cook supper in this case.

I did some writing, some emailing, some critiques on my writing workshop, and now I think I'll read. The couch is free, the spot I'd choose if my husband didn't commandeer it, and tonight I'm mistress of the remote.

I decide to put on the Lifetime channel--TV for women-- softly in the background as is my modus operandi when I *do* watch TV. My book takes precedence, but I'll glance up now and then when I sense a "relationship" scene.

This is when my time alone takes a downward turn. There is no one to yell to for help. "How do I turn on the TV again?"

I know that sounds pathetic. Especially for …

A round of applause~

They surge into class, pinked cheeked, hair mussed, with the puppy dog smell ten year-olds get after racing around at recess for fifteen minutes. They sharpen pencils, and get out science notebooks; I chat with those who curve around my desk to talk.

I settle them. They write their "inquiry questions," as I call them, ignoring the redundancy. I put a topic on the board for them to "inquire" about. Sometimes it's free choice-- they can ask questions about anything that pops into their minds.

All I ask is they write three questions a day, but some write more. John has logged 452 questions since September. They've numbered their questions consecutively since the first day of school when I told them I hoped they always had more questions in life than answers.

Peace reigns. They like this brief exercise before shifting into the lesson. They share their questions, and learn from my answers. If I can't answer, I tell them to research, and teach me. Some actuall…