Tag Archives: women

The Day After Christmas

Christmas Love

My bed was warm and cozy this morning. I managed to sleep until almost 8 a.m. I have made an executive decision that most of the day will be spent in my flannel pajamas and thick fluffy robe, tube socks, and slippers that are faux fleece lined. They look ridiculous because several years ago I covered them with green felt when I went to a Red Hat sleep over. I wore a huge sleep shirt with a picture of a gigantic frog perched on a lily pad. The slippers were converted to frog feet. There were toes at one time but I had made them too long. I kept stepping on them and almost falling so they now have a toe-ectomy. Since no one will see them, I continue to wear them because they are the most comfortable and warmest in my closet.

I’m staying in this attire because it is the warmest and coziest outfit I can think of. I have given up trying to stay warm in my house when the thermostat is set on 68. As the years go by, I have made staying warm more of a priority. It is now set on 70 and the furnace is running almost constantly since it is in single digits outside. My home is as insulated as I can make it, but there is still a slight chill. I give thanks for warmth on cold winter days.

Every once in a while I am given the gift of realizing that I feel really well…not just physically but also spiritually. Today is one of those days. Even though Christmases are a little hard for me, I found comfort in this one.

A birthday buddy I found about seven years ago has included me as part of her family. She has reunited with her estranged father and so she hosts a dinner for him and his wife. After so many years there seems to be a bond forming between them again. I kind of envy that since there was never enough time for me to experience that with my own father.

After the dinner the two of us went to the candlelight service at church. It is the same every year, but this year I felt a solace that I don’t usually sense. Ill feelings about Christmas go all the way back to childhood. It was a little sad when she confided to me on the way home that she is thinking of changing churches. There has been much conflict the last couple of years in our congregation and we split almost in half. She stayed as I did but she is thinking of moving on.

Yesterday I was invited to the gathering at another friend’s home across the street. She cooks a huge pot of tortilla soup, tamales, beans, and makes wonderful chip dip. They buy a honey baked ham which gives me my pork fix for the year. Her family and friends arrive whenever. I walked across the street around one and had a nice visit while all was calm. It was very nice visiting with her and watching huge snow flakes fall outside. As the day went on, her two daughters and their families appeared, and a short while later two more relatives and their families arrived. The house was getting crowded so I decided to come home, full of her delicious food.

Her home is a little more drafty than mine so I had wisely chosen to put on another layer of underwear. By the time all those people had gathered, I was getting a little toasty. My introversion kicked in and I realized it was time to move on. I weary after four hours with any group.

Before I went to bed, another friend called to share her success about hosting her family for Christmas. She has so many best friends I can’t count them all, but she has chosen to add me to her “club”. It is one of those rare honors one is given in life to find a friend like her.

Back in 1968 I was dating a young Marine. He surprised me at Christmas and came home on leave. It was during that time we got engaged. Since he was in officer’s school and knew he would be heading to Viet Nam, I had no idea what to give him as a present. I decided to borrow a negligee gown and wrap from my aunt, (which had remained unworn in her drawer for several years), wrap a ribbon sash around me and sit under the tree with a gift of a big smile. It was a wonderful Christmas. I believed I had been given the gift of love. Things didn’t work out with him, but if I concentrate, I can connect with the good feelings of those few days.

I woke up this morning realizing I had been dreaming about him. I realized that the dream was probably because of “King of the Hill”. John reminds me very much of Hank Hill.  If I wake during the early morning around 4, that show is usually on. I guess I was hearing it in my sleep and started thinking of my love. After all these years I accepted the fact after fighting it for almost fifty years that for a number of reasons there will always be a part of me that loves him, but I realized today that I am setting myself free. Maybe the memories will now fade and I will recognize that that relationship also had its toxic moments that I have too long suppressed and all worked out for the greater good.

Whatever the cause of my feelings of joy today, I am grateful and will relish every minute. It is a new feeling to associate with Christmas and I will hold onto it as long as possible. I hope your days were as blessed as mine. Namaste. Attic Annie

holly

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What to Wear on Christmas Eve

sue's sweater

…and there it was, hanging right in front of me.

Once again it is Christmas Eve. I have been invited this evening to a friend’s home for tamales before going to the Candlelight Service. I have known this friend for about six years. I think this is the fourth year of invitations. I have been trying all day to figure out what I want to wear. It makes little difference at our church. There will be many in jeans and several in new outfits with every style in between. I guess that’s one of the reasons I like going to this place. I have never felt any sense of pretension. It really isn’t a matter of what one wears.

I have not bought any new clothes for Christmas in more years than I can count. Actually after twenty years of being unchurched, it has only been eight years that I have attempted to attend. My memory of Christmas Eves does not extend much beyond that.

I have a black long sleeve tee that is decorated with an embroidered cardinal and sequined white poinsettia  flowers. The cardinal is the state bird of Illinois, my home state, so it is a little connection with home, even though I haven’t lived there in thirty five years. The cardinal is a beautiful symbol for Christmas and winter I think.

“The cardinal makes a fantastic animal totem. It reminds us to hold ourselves with pride – not ego pride. Rather, the cardinal asks us to stand a little taller, be a bit more regal, step into our natural confidence as if we were born to lead with grace and nobility”. I tend to hold back in crowds. I thought perhaps if I wear the cardinal I can be a little more joyous.

“As we observe the cardinal – particularly against the backdrop of the stark winter months, we are reminded that even when things appear bleak or isolated, there is always the presence of beauty, hope, and love”. The tee was a gift from my cousin’s family. She transitioned two years ago. The top still had its tags on. I had been with her when she bought it. The cardinal was her favorite totem. I wanted to feel close to her tonight.

I mentally went through other things in my closet. It’s not supposed to get really colder until tomorrow when it might snow. I don’t think it will, however. I think any snow will stop about forty five miles north of us around Denton.

I washed a couple of loads of clothes and hung them on my rack in the laundry room. And there was my answer hanging right in front of me. The very last time I saw my cousin she was wearing a new sweater. When we hugged, I was amazed by the softness of the weave. It felt so like her. Her husband asked me to take whatever I wanted when I left because by that time it was a matter of weeks. I couldn’t get myself to take anything without feeling very uncomfortable. I kind of felt I would be in the deathbed scene of Scrooge when the chambermaids were stealing the curtains before he was even dead.  I did ask him to mail me a couple of things when he was able to get around to it. That sweater was one of the few things I felt I truly wanted.

So tonight I am wearing that sweater. It will be warm enough to wear without a coat as opposed to the thinner tee. It will be soft and cuddly and I will be sharing  the service with Sue once again feeling her loving arms wrapped around me. The number of people I share this holiday with has almost entirely dwindled away but the spirit of my gentle, talented cousin will be with me to the end…at least until the sweater and the tee become too tattered to wear. Merry Christmas, y’all. Namaste. Attic Annie

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Is There No Respite? Not in Politics!

politics

The battle between the candidates just ended. Thanks to donors with unendingly deep pockets, there were, it seemed, hundreds of ads on TV every day. Every show seemed to have something to say. There were heated discussions on talk and news shows. Social media was completely sated with “Friends” expressing their own viewpoints. It was grueling and unending. It even made a little girl, who reached her limit of tolerance of Romney and  Bronco Bamma, cry.  Truth be told, I was ready to cry with her.

The President hasn’t even taken office for the second time. He doesn’t renew his oath at the inauguration until January 21, 2013. The world may end a month before then anyway.

So, are we taking a break from politics to allow us to get over our PTSD? I’m not belittling those who are suffering from PTSD. I’m just adding the American public to the list of those who have been traumatized the past couple of years by the constant bombardment of politics.

Heaven forbid that politics be allowed to slip out of our consciousness for even a little while during this festive time of year.

I often fall asleep with the TV on. What do I hear the first thing when I wake up this morning? MSNBC has a panel that is discussing Hillary Clinton and her run for President in 2016. It was not the first news show that has begun covering that issue. They were also throwing around the names of Joe Biden, Jeb Bush, and several other possible candidates but the primary topic was Hillary.

Can’t we give it a rest? There are three years and eleven months before the next election. I have nothing against Hillary. I have been impressed with her intelligence and leadership abilities for as long as she has been on the political scene. I even forgave her the tacky (newscaster’s adjective, not mine) comment about baking cookies and holding teas. But, GOD, are we going to have to listen about her constantly until the next Democratic Convention? As far as I have been able to google, The Dems haven’t even decided where to hold the convention yet. That doesn’t stop us from talking forever about who is going to be the front runner.

The only reason I can see for politics to be constantly thrust at us is to keep the American public stirred up. If we start arguing candidates now, our attention won’t be as focused on everything else that is happening around us.

This season calls for Peace on Earth. Can’t we have just a little time to settle down before we prepare to do battle again? Can’t we just “live in the now” a little while before we become so engrossed with the future? It certainly would be nice to listen to the news and actually hear the news that is happening, not opinions about future political events. Come on news media. At least think about giving the public a little break. OK?

peace on earth

Namaste. Attic Annie

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It Should Pain ALL of Us

Syria-Kid-Close-up-Face-Paint-Girl-English1

http://www.democracychronicles.com/hillary-clinton-attending-meeting-about-syria/

Hillary Clinton says “It pains me.”

She was talking about her feelings concerning the “plight of women in male-dominated societies.”  The little Syrian girl in the picture above is expressing a viewpoint about desiring freedom and peace in her country. It would be very common to assume that she could also be demonstrating a feeling about being a girl if she is old enough to know what it means to be a second class citizen.

If one takes time to view the status of women in the world, it is easy to find examples of what it really means to be born female. Female babies in China are found abandoned or thrown out with the trash reported as recently as July, 2012.  In an effort to stem population growth, China instituted a one child policy in 1978. Although in cities females are more likely to be abandoned, in the rural countryside they are often just killed. If the couple is allowed only one child, they prefer that child to be a boy. The girls who are allowed to grow up are often called worthless and are frequently treated as servants to the parents.

It is dangerous for girls to speak out in these countries. Just think of the Pakistani girl, Malala Yousufzai, who was shot by the Taliban just for expressing her desire for an education.

On February 14, One Billion Rising is sponsoring a protest against rape and violence against women around the world. Knowing that to protest is to invite beatings, jail, or even death, women are still willing to rise against inequality and violence. A UN report stated that 250,000 women in sixty-five countries reported rape. That is LESS than 1/3 of all countries in the world and less than half to one fourth of all rapes that occur. Even if the case is reported, more than 97% of the men who rape never spend time in jail. One Billion Rising protests these dismal statistics.

Women in the US can not even today say that they live in equality with men. Discrimination and exploitation are still rampant. Things are improving, albeit extremely slowly. Just one example is how long it took for American women to achieve the right to vote and the treatment of those who spoke up for that right.  These were the stories that were never taught in history classes.

This is still a country where women can parade in ads on TV wearing the skimpiest Victoria Secret lingerie and well covered women breast feeding their babies are kicked out of establishments.

Yes, Hillary Clinton is pained. We should ALL be pained for all women all over the world. The sad part is for every ten men who openly abuse, limit rights, and feel superior to women there are probably at least five women who condone their behavior and accept it as part of life. Many of those who “stand by their man” are in comfortable positions with their husbands and are afraid to rock the boat.  They prefer inequality for others over freedom and personal responsibility for themselves. Just look at the number of women who opposed the Equal Rights Amendment in the ’70s.

I often wonder why men have to feel superior to women. Is it something genetic? It certainly is something culturally engrained around the world. Women are slowly rising in status. Perhaps there is hope in the world that by doing so, the world may come to be a safer more peaceful place. It will not happen in my life, and probably not in my granddaughter’s life, but hopefully seven generations from now we may see progress. Namaste Attic Annie

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It took three years to reach 365!

pen-vs-sword2

Yesterday was a milestone of sorts. I posted my 365th blog! When I started writing in 2009 I tried to post every day. I even wrote enough posts to cover my absence when I traveled to Japan to vacation with my son who was living there. I had heard of the dangers of broadcasting the fact that I was leaving my home vacant for those ten days so I arranged for my blogs to be published daily instead of just stopping them or sharing where I actually was.

In looking over my flag counter, I see that at least one person in 183 countries has read something that I have written. I reached the most people on November 12, 2009 when I had over 1,100 hits on a single day. That was one of the times my blog was chosen for being “Freshly Pressed”. I’m not good at remembering things but I think that honor happened a total of three times. Over that time my blogs have been viewed more than 122,000 times. I know that is just a drop in the ocean to those who get thousands of hits a day but for someone who has spent the majority of my life not speaking up, it means a lot to me.

When I look at the list of how many read individual blogs, there are far more that have 0 or 1 as a total than have any significant numbers. On those that have 1, I can almost guarantee that 1 was my cousin who was my greatest encourager. She passed away in April of 2010 and took her comments with her. I still miss the closeness we were achieving because of my blogs. There were so many years before the internet that we drifted apart.

This week I watched CNN heroes. Seven out of ten of the heroes were women. They have the courage to act upon their convictions. The only thing I do is express my opinion. At this point I don’t have the strength to do much more than write. Much has happened with my health these past two years when I have become more and more silent with less and less energy. It has only been in the last couple of days that I have increased my desire to write more than just a few sentences on Facebook. Facebook has given me the opportunity to still express my opinions, albeit in a much shorter form. There are times I feel compelled to write. Thanks to a new supplement, I’m just beginning to feel that compulsion returning as I feel more like my former self.

I am frequently in groups where I am asked what my wishes are, how I would do anything different, how I would change the world. I am reminded one person can make a difference.

I would love to find a cause which set me on fire as much as those seven women this year in 2012.  I secretly would like to positively influence the lives of others. I would love that, for now, my writings could influence others. If I can’t do something myself, I would like the idea I lit the fire under someone else.

With the power of the internet, I believe that the adage “The pen is mightier than the sword” is more true now than it was when that phrase was first uttered. I would love to think that something I wrote made a difference.

There is a new device on the market that allows people to talk while the computer records their voice in words. I have never been able to speak with clear thoughts for  very long. Ideas just don’t come out of me that way. Put a pen and paper in my reach or a keyboard and ideas flow out of me almost instantly. Some times I have to think about what I want to say for a day, a week, a month, but eventually most of the time it comes out in my words on paper.

For yesterday and today I am grateful to write two blogs in a row. It’s too soon to say I am back, but I am hoping. Namaste. Attic Annie

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Get off our bodies and out of our bedrooms!

I am totally upset by the trend I see happening in the United States concerning the control of women’s bodies by the men (and more than a few of the women) in our governments. I’m sure there are a godzillion posts by now about yesterday’s news concerning the Komen Foundation and Planned Parenthood.

Since the 1960s, men have been losing control of women, en masse. It had been happening gradually since before women started wearing bloomers. It has been in the last fifty years that women in the United States have really asserted their rights to the control of their own bodies and their own lives.

It has not been a surprise that the men in power want to reclaim and hold on to that power. They see their position as “head of the household” as one ordained by God as the natural order. They have resisted the lessening of the women’s bonds for so many years that they now view themselves as “less than” a man when it comes to relationships with the women in their lives due to the freedom women have achieved.

This power struggle has now come to a head with the withdrawal of funds by the Susan G. Komen Foundation to Planned Parenthood. Their excuse is that they will not fund organizations that are under investigation by the U. S. Congress. Although they deny it, from what I have heard in the past twenty four hours, it is a flagrant attempt to disband Planned Parenthood because part of their services are for abortions. To do that, they are willing to sacrifice the lives of thousands of women every year who would no longer be screened for breast cancer. Life of the unborn is more valuable than life of the mother. They are making that perfectly clear. The irony is that Planned Parenthood is one of the few “crisis pregnancy” groups that do counsel the women in their three choices: parenting, adoption, or abortion.

I am not in favor of abortions. I feel that should be the very last option a woman should choose. That being said, I believe that women should still have that choice and be treated in a sterile environment. Outlawing abortions would not stop abortions. History has clearly shown that. Women have chosen abortion since at least before 1500 BCE according to written Egyptian records. It probably started happening as soon as the first prehistoric woman realized the pregnancy could be ended.

Not every child is a wanted child. Not every child can be afforded. The reason for abortions vary with every single woman who seeks out that service. Ending legal abortions would simply drive women back to the back alleys into deplorable conditions. They would seek out powerful herb concoctions. They would implement coat hangers to attempt to do the job themselves. They would desperately seek an end to their unwanted condition regardless of whether it cost them their own lives or not.

The irony of government seeking to end abortions is that throughout history, men in power, or the sons of men in power who outwardly oppose abortion, are the first ones to pay for and drive or fly their girlfriends or wives to the abortionist in the first place.

The government that is opposing abortions is the same government that is complaining about the safety nets that are in place (as fragile as they are) to keep the unwanted children that are born from starving or dying from disease once they are born. They are the ones to continue to cut funding for their education, health, and housing.They are the ones who forbid the woman from having the abortion yet punish her for the rest of her life for the sin of getting pregnant.

They are also the ones who condemn the growing number of women who choose to keep their children when they have limited sources of income to do so. They gripe at having to provide food stamps, health care, and housing, wishing always to cut funding in those areas. They speak out of both sides of their mouths. To me, that signals multiple personality disorders.

One thing governments can not do is legislate morality. In a fairy tale land, according to them, all children would be planned for and wanted and well cared for by a mother and father who have the financial means to do so. There would never be any “accidents” even if the couple did not practice contraception as some religious groups advocate. Both the mother and the father would be loving and faithful to each other until death does them part. But, alas, that is not the real world. It never has been.

In the meantime, until that fairy tale land exists, governments should get out of the business of trying to control women. It may work for a while but, as evidenced throughout the world today, there will again come a point when women will have the courage to resist such control. The backlash from the Komen decision is a good indication that that time is now. Namaste. Attic Annie

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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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