Monthly Archives: January 2012

LEGOS is Dropping the Bomb!

Whose idea was this?

During the summers while I was still teaching in elementary school, I taught in an enriched program for gifted students. One of the programs was  for those interested in Legos….aimed at both boys AND girls.    The structures they were able to construct were mind blowing to me. There were roller coasters that came up to my knees. They built and played with helicopters, space shuttles, jetports, windmills, trains, cranes, on and on with motors and moving parts. The girls matched the ability of the boys in putting things together. The sets were marketed to both boys and girls.

Fast forward thirty years to the most recent offerings for girls by the Legos company.   After marketing almost exclusively to boys for at least ten years or more, they’ve decided to go back to marketing to girls. Great, you say? No way. The sets they are marketing show sitting in a hot tub, lunching at the cafe, at the beauty shop, and at the splash pool. To be fair there is the musician (even if she is singing in a club), the inventor, and the vet all displayed in 1950s pastels, especially PINK! (and purple)

I realize this blog is about a month late already from being ground breaking news, but I am no longer aware of what is out there being marketed to children. It will be a few years yet before I have to be concerned when I buy for my yet to be born grandchild.

I am seeing arguments on both sides for these obviously sexist toys. They pander to what society is trying to shove off on growing girls. They are supposed to be self-absorbed empty headed beauty conscious girls content with lounging around and primping.

As toys for boys become more war-like (Legos Star Wars) toys for girls are speeding back to the 1950s honoring the domestic diva beauty queen. Maybe since I am from the generation who became aware there was more out there for young women in the 1970s, I am so upset about this turn around forty years later. What ever happened to this goal of gender equality toys?

Yes, there are girls who will love these new toys. There is a broad spectrum of interests  among girls. There always have been. Legos is marketing to the top of the femininity scale…the sorority girls. I have no idea about what percentage that might be. But what about the rest of the girls, the independent girls, who prefer to be in the science labs, the engineering labs, the architect classes instead of trying out for cheerleading or participating in wet tee shirt contests?

It is my hope that the Legos Company would turn back the clock thirty years and start producing universal toys like they did back then. They were gender neutral. They demanded creativity. They didn’t emphasize sexual stereotypes with mini figs with boobs!

There is a petition from Change.org asking Legos to reconsider its latest entry into the girl’s market. If you don’t care about this matter don’t do anything. But if you do, speak up for the future of the current crop of girls who are learning self absorption is the primary goal of their lives. Namaste Attic Annie

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Do “They” Really Just See Us As Crabs In A Bucket?

Crabs in a bucket

How and why did our country become divided into two such hostile camps? What will need to happen to begin to mend the tears that have occurred in the fabric of our daily lives?

Some days I give in to the urge to turn on the television in the morning to take the edge off the silence of the house. This morning I tuned into CNN during the discussion of the Romney victory in New Hampshire.

Some spokesperson was being interviewed. He was talking about the number of people who are jealous of those who are “successful”. He said many Americans are against achieving success. I assumed he was saying too many people have a sour grapes attitude.  I didn’t listen to the rest of the interview because, as is often the case, my mind was already reeling with what could be a rebuttal.

If those who are “successful” feel that the only reason they are being singled out is because the vast majority are envious or jealous, I think, to a certain extent with a few exceptions, they are not right. The great majority, I believe, do NOT have a crabs in the bucket attitude as he seemed to be saying.

However, I think they are missing the point and trying to fool themselves. I don’t agree that Americans are against success. Many children in today’s classrooms are still hopeful of achieving that status. By success, I am assuming this spokesperson was referring to monetary success.

“They”, the successful, are resented when the success is achieved through fraud, greed, and manipulation of laws. I don’t think many would resent someone who gained success simply because of honest hard work without the exploitation of others. After all, that’s the American Way…or we believed the fairy tale that it is.

“They” the successful, feel attacked when the rest resent that the amount contributed to the upkeep of our country is not their fair share. One of the things I remember learning in church is Luke 12:48  “From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked.” That adage has been around at least 2,000 years. Why is there so much resentment among the successful that they are still being reminded of that fact?

Yes, among the successful, there are those who are very philanthropic. Their gifts to the public are very beneficial. Some do it for the reason stated above….much has been given to them so they give. However, I would love to be a tiny mouse in the offices of their tax accountants who tell them how much to give in order to avoid x amount of taxes, thus avoiding their fair share of the fair share they should be paying.  I was reminded of that when the minister on Sunday commented on the increase in giving the last week of last year stating how grateful we are for such contributions. We are grateful. They money is sorely needed. However, how much tax is avoided by those who gave for such reasons?

It is sad that we are, or are rapidly becoming, a nation of haves and have nots. It is even sadder when the majority only want the minority to gain their wealth honestly and pay their fair share. Namaste  Attic Annie

I found this article about Romney‘s interview on the Today Show this morning. Evidently the talk of envy is coming from him.

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Feeling Great Even on a Rainy Monday

I am writing this on Monday even though it is appearing for the first time on Tuesday. That’s the benefit of having many ADD characteristics. I start out doing one thing and end up somewhere I had no idea where I was going. I had no intention of writing about Christina Aguilera yesterday when I started out ninety minutes ago. But that was where I ended up.

I wanted to talk about it being another rainy day and Monday. The rain has been falling non stop since before I woke up this morning. I have no idea when it began. I was too busy sleeping. Last May I went to a doctor I saw several years ago and dropped when I thought I was better. Little did I know what a big mistake that was. There were so many things wrong with me, I was a walking medical encyclopedia. One of my problems was chronic insomnia. Slowly I am developing longer periods of sleep. Last night was one of them. I didn’t wake until 8:00. Ri-Leigh, bless her soul, does not wake me to go out.  She will jump up and insist if she sees that I am awake but otherwise she is very patient.

Other things also seem to be falling into shape and I woke this morning to a feeling of wellness that is alien to me. I love it. I have never been bi-polar but to me this feeling would definitely be on the high end of my own polarity scale. I envy people who feel this energetic every day. To me it is a miracle.

Since I have an aversion to driving anywhere in the rain, I am confined to home. The sounds of the rain falling is very lulling and hypnotic but I am refusing to allow it to con me into losing this elevated mood I am experiencing today. It’s great to feel alive!

One of the things that happens when I feel good is that my words start tumbling out of me. It seems I can whip out a blog or several blogs in record time. I can’t attest to the quality of such blogs but they are easy to spill out. The other thing that happens is that I get the urge to dig myself out of the pit I call my home. When I do not feel well, which has been since last May, things pile up. Usually I find other things to do to occupy my mind until that urge passes, but today I think I’ll do at least a little work. It makes me feel better…like when I change my sheets and crawl into the spring fresh smooth bed at night. It’s a great feeling.

It’s hard to separate into different boxes feelings that might be physical, psychological, emotional, or spiritual. I listened to a song sung yesterday by a great vocalist which contributed to my being in a good mood. All of them are contributing to my feelings of love and life. Will this last? Probably not. Will these feelings come again? Probably so. I’m still crying for the pain I feel towards my friend’s loss of a young daughter. I cry at the pain whenever any friend loses someone close. I am sending him my love and willing him to take one step at a time to get through this ordeal. But it’s still not dampening my mood.

My attitudes about so many things are changing. I think for the better. On those days when I realize I am actually feeling I am thankful. Decades of burying all emotions have taken their toll on me but I’m not finished yet. I envision the first spring’s sprout appearing ready to shoot up and produce some beautiful work of some type. I feel myself growing. Monday’s rainy day is a blessing. I feel like I am in and surrounded by love. No, there’s no particular person in mind….except maybe me. Like Martha Stewart says, “It’s a good thing.” Namaste. Attic Annie

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Let A Woman Be A Woman…not a sexy teenage Mouseketeer!

What does America have against curves on a woman? It seems all the fashion gurus want are women who perpetually look like emaciated teen age boys.

Granted I am speaking from the viewpoint of a woman who has had weight issues most of my life. When I wore a size 10-12 I looked to myself and others as quite thin.

I am not a big music fan. Perhaps it is because as a child we only had one radio in the kitchen for the whole house. I was never encouraged to enjoy music of any kind. I never intentionally listen to music when I am in the car or at home. I’m not sure why the “plight” of Christina Aguilera even caught my attention.

It seems many want to make her a social outcast because she now has curves. I would dearly love to have her figure. She looks like a woman. She is thirty one years old and looks well nourished. She does not look like an overexploited, overexposed sexy Mouseketeer any longer. Which reminds me….when did the female Mouseketeers change from being the wholesome teenage girls to the provocative teenage vixens?….another topic.

Recent comments about Aguilera have not been flattering. She is being criticized about her weight. I would like to know why. Depending on the camera angle she may now have a hint of a double chin and rounded face but nothing that maybe losing five pounds wouldn’t take care of. She is very normal looking for a thirty one year old.

Her pictures remind me of Mae West. Mae was certainly very sexy for her time even as her weight appeared to fluctuate in her photos. She definitely knew how to be a woman. She definitely knew how to be sexy. She definitely knew men did not appreciate a string bean.

Aguilera seems to have the same attitude. It is the entertainment media who seems to view her weight as a “plight” rather than her. She says she comfortable in her own skin. I applaud her for not caving in the the media moguls who want big boobs and an 18 inch waist before they give any woman the time of day.

Do I think weight is important? Yes. Believe me, I know the consequences physically, emotionally, and socially to being overweight. Have I been “comfortable in my own skin” as Aguilera claims she is? No. To some, she is a very accomplished vocalist. I am not familiar with her works. I’m not really into the dirrty hooker images for young women which are so prevalent these days. I yearn for the years when they were just suggestively sexy. But I do feel a woman should be judged, if she must be, on the health of her body, the generosity of her spirit, and her talent. Not her weight. Namaste. Attic Annie

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We Have Only Today

I was watching TV last week and came across an episode of 8 Simple Rules. I never watched it when it was on the first time. I soon realized what was happening. The wife played by Katey Sagal was deciding she couldn’t sleep in her bed because it was the first night after the funeral of her husband, played by John Ritter. Since that was the only episode I have seen, I realized the series was using the death of Ritter as part of the script. I remember how quickly he had died. On the series, they took the attitude that life goes on.

Last week a member of the choir sang two solos during church. He has been through some very rough spots in his life but as he sang, it was obvious that he was in a very good place. Things were coming together for him. One of the songs he sang was Carolyn Arends song “New Year’s Day.”

I buy a lot of diaries 
Fill them full of good intentions 
Each and every New Year’s Eve 
I make myself a list 
All the things I’m gonna change 
Until January 2nd 
So this time I’m making one promise 

CHORUS: 
This will be my resolution 
Every day is New Year’s Day 
This will be my resolution 
Every day is New Year’s Day 

I believe it’s possible 
I believe in new beginnings 
‘Cause I believe in Christmas Day 
And Easter morning too 
And I’m convinced it’s doable 
‘Cause I believe in second chances 
Just the way that I believe in you 

This will be my resolution 
Every day is New Year’s Day 
This could start a revolution 
Every day is… 

One more chance to start all over 
One more chance to change and grow 
One more chance to grab a hold of grace 
And never let it go 

He’s the type of guy who can really make others feel good. We believed him when he sang of changing and growing and grabbing grace. He made  us all feel good. He made us believe that every day we should resolve that this is our best day. That was Sunday.

Yesterday morning he posted on FB for his friends to pray for his daughter. She had stopped breathing and was rushed to intensive care in Tennessee where he had spent days at Christmas. She was on a ventilator. He updated last night that neurological signs were not good. An hour ago he posted that his daughter was with her mom among the angels in heaven.

The 8 Simple Rules script had the teenage children talking about the last things they said to their father. They were deep in grief for suddenly losing him.

I’m sure my friend is in deep mourning for the loss of his daughter. As far as I know she never regained consciousness. I wonder if he remembers his last conversation with her.

Our lives can be as normal as ever and then suddenly without warning everything can come to a screeching halt. Both the show and my friend’s loss brought that home to me. We are not able to always have that last moment to say good bye.

My father and I were not on the best of terms. He was in the hospital and I should have gone to see him even if it would have been out of a sense of filial duty. However, I really didn’t feel like it. I remember exactly where I was when I decided I would wait until the next day. After all, the doctor had said he was doing OK.

About six hours later we got the call from the hospital that he was dead. I did not take the time to say good bye. I can’t remember my last conversation with him. Those times during my senior year in college were few and far between.

I had that one day. Only one day. To tell my father I really did love him…to ask him if he really did love me. I let that opportunity slide by.

I talk with my son a couple times a month and email him a few more. If you have adult male sons you know this is very normal. He is living his own life. But one thing I have realized that we do more often is end up writing or speaking “I love you.” He often initiates it. He is able to do something I had great difficulty in doing. He is teaching me the importance of letting him know and his letting me know that we love each other. It is then that I realize we have only today. If I die suddenly he will remember that the last time we communicated he ended the conversation with love. Namaste. Attic Annie

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The Reunion of Shirley and Jennie

Whenever I see videos like this one I am so moved by the idea that all creatures are capable of love. How could any scientist or animal behaviorist prove else wise? I’ve seen it in dogs staying with owners who are injured or other dogs, ducks who  remain with mates, cats who adopt baby bunnies…You Tube is filled with such videos. How can we be so blind as human beings not to notice relationships around us because “only humans have spirits”?

Shirley and Jennie were truly fortunate to find each other. It is the story of a friendship that never died. Their undying love for one another is obvious. It is a very moving story.

Shirley’s handler must have had a feeling of pride beyond anything I will probably ever feel when he said, “I don’t know who the first one was to put chains on Shirley but I am the last one to take them off.” What a blessing to know you helped free another sentient  being.

I am jealous that I feel that I have never had a friendship as close as this one. Such friendships are truly rare and a blessing. Perhaps there is still time to be able to feel such joy. I can only hope. Namaste Attic Annie

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Whose reason for the season?

I wrote this a couple of seasons ago and do not wish to lose it. It seems there are spammers out there who are finding all kinds of reasons to attach spam comments to my web site. I don’t want to just delete this copy so here it is again.

I can remember as far back as the early 1950s seeing Christmas cards to the family saying both Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays. People would freely exchange the two greetings in the days prior to December 25. I always assumed the Happy Holidays greetings included Happy New Year as well.

Nowadays there are people calling themselves Christian who insist that nobody say “Happy Holidays” to them. They MUST hear “Merry Christmas” or they get offended.

That seems OK with me when the calendar rolls around to maybe the second or maybe even the third week in December starting about the 15th or so.

Due to the conspicuous consumption forced upon us by merchants, we are forced to begin enduring the thoughts of Christmas as early as mid September.

Has anyone officially declared the beginning of “the season” yet? If the season starts in September, is that when we are supposed to start wishing each other only Merry Christmas, when the Christmas music starts blaring in the stores and the trees and trimmings are first displayed?

What bothers me is the number of people who fail to even consider that there are Christians in every nation, just as there are Non-Christians  from every nation who have made the United States their home. These people have their own non-Christian religions and holidays which have become the backbone of their own family traditions. They have the right to have their holy days acknowledged as well.

In my humble opinion, Christians have no right to usurp the calendar from the middle of September until December 26 and say that only the birth of Christ shall be recognized during that time.  After all, there was one time in the new American country where Christians themselves outlawed Christmas. Now Christians are saying that, in their own minds, only Christmas shall be mentioned during that time. The pendulum swings.

I tried to find on the internet all world holidays from the middle of September to the end of the year. I was not successful. I did find this list.

October 6 – Sunday Dassehra (Hindu)
October 7 – Friday Yom Kippur Begins at Sunset (Jewish)
October 12 – Wednesday Sukkot Begins at Sunset (Jewish)
October 16 – Sunday Sweetest Day Third Sunday in Oct
October 19 – Thursday Sh’mini Atzeret Begins at Sunset (Jewish)
October 20 – Thursday Simchat Torah Begins at Sunset (Jewish)
October 26 – Wednesday Diwali Festival of Lights (Hindu, Buddhist)
October 17 – Saturday Sikh Festival of Lights (Sikh)
October 31 – Monday Reformation Day (Christian – Protestant)
October 31 – Monday Halloween
November

November 1 – Tuesday Dia de los Muertos Mexico, Day of the Dead
November 1 – Tuesday All Saint’s Day (Christian)
November 2 – Wednesday All Soul’s Day
November 3 – Thursday Hajj Begins Begins at Sunset (Islamic)
November 6 – Sunday Eid-al-Adha Starts at Sunset (Islamic)
November 10 – Thursday Birth of Guru Nanak Founder of Sikhism
November 24 – Thursday Martyrdom of Guru Teg Bahadur (Sikh)
November 24- Thursday Thanksgiving Day US National Holiday
November 25 – Friday Muharram – New Year Begins at Sunset (Islamic)
November 27 – Sunday First Monday of Advent (Christian)
December
December 4 – Sunday Ashura Begins at Sunset (Islamic)
December 8 – Thursday Bodhi Day Buddhist
December 20 – Thursday Hanukkah Begins at Sunset (Jewish)
December 22 – Thursday Winter Solstice (1st Day of Winter) Shortest Day of the Year
December 24 – Christmas Eve
December 25- Christmas US National Holiday (Christian)
December 26 – Monday Kwanzaa Ends Jan. 1
December 26 – Monday Boxing Day Canada, UK
December 31 New Year’s Eve  
  

That’s a lot of holidays besides just Christmas during that time period, and I know that’s just the tip of all the holidays throughout the world. Perhaps, in the name of respect for each other, Christians should lower the volume of their complaints about Merry Christmas and start recognizing that the calendar belongs to every human being.

We all sing about Peace on Earth during this time. But failing to recognize that every ethnic group from every country has the right to their own traditions and beliefs is not the way to achieve this peace.

The greetings are meant to recognize each other and to wish everyone good will. Isn’t it about time all religions started being more inclusive than exclusive? I think we should invite people into our beliefs, not force our beliefs upon them.

In the month of December when a warm fireplace, a warm hug, a warm handshake does much to warm our bodies and our spirits, I think we should declare a moratorium on this cold war of the ownership of the calendar. Acceptance of the beliefs of others goes far in breaking down the barriers some are so anxious to build. Let there be peace on earth.

Happy Holidays everybody. Namaste Attic Annie

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