Archive for February, 2012

Davy Jones has died.

He was the second person I planned to marry, when I was a kid (the first being, as I’ve noted before, Speed Racer).  I fell “in love” with Davy Jones through watching the Monkees on TV, and his appearance on the Brady Bunch, and listening to their songs ad nauseum. And by then I had figured out that marriage to a cartoon character wasn’t all that likely, and Davy Jones seemed like the next best thing. (We’re not going to mention Keith Partridge, aka David Cassidy, who was, at best, a distant third. I think I love you! um, where was I? oh, yeah. Not mentioning David Cassidy.)

Davy Jones was just so damned cute. That irrepressible grin, moppet head–reminded me a bit of Donny Osmond (oh, no, we’re so not going there. Not mentioning the Donny Osmond posters plastered on my walls, because he was a distinctly distant fourth after David Cassidy, whom we’re also not mentioning). Only cuter. He was. Donny Osmond had those teeth. Well, I suppose he still has them. He did the last time I saw him. Davy Jones’s teeth were just the right size.

So farewell, Davy. You made a lot of kids and teenagers happy with your smile and your songs and your stupid little tambourine that you played with such joy and vitality.

DISCLAIMER: When I say that my childhood has officially ended, that does NOT mean that I’m not still a 12-year-old boy. I am, at heart. I still burp and laugh at fart jokes and snort sometimes when I laugh. So don’t despair, those of you who love my inner 12-year-old boy. He’s still here, and is staying put. That’s why I don’t need to put up poems about wearing purple when I grow old, and spitting on the sidewalk. Because I already wear purple, and I think spitting is kinda disgusting. But I promise to laugh–inwardly, if I think a hearty outward laugh would embarrass you–if you make a loud fart. And I’ll continue to score your burps, but just know the highest I’ve ever given was a 9, and it was impressive.  In fact, I’ll never give a 10, because that unreachable 10 belongs to Chase, and I fully anticipate that by the time I meet him again, in whatever life lies beyond this one, he will have mastered that 10 and will regale me with it as soon as he sees me. (Love you, Chase, and miss you like crazy!)

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For years and years and years and years and years, my favourite colour was purple. No ifs, ands, or buts. Purple. Purple, purple, purple. When I was a kid I wanted a purple bedroom, but my mother refused, saying it would be too dark. Piffle. I didn’t care. I wanted a purple bedroom. 

I wanted purple hair, so in my 40s I got purple streaks in my hair. It made me happy.  I have a lovely purple amethyst cluster sitting on my desk. I have plenty of purple shirts.

And then all of a sudden something happened, and I realised my favourite colour is no longer purple. It’s red. Rich, vibrant, energetic red. I’ve been buying red and black jewelry, red and black shirts, red and black accessories for the living/dining/kitchen area of my home. Red fills me with excitement.

Don’t get me wrong. I still love purple. It’s just moved back a notch.  I wonder if the change has anything to do with all the changes I’ve been making in my life. Whatever the reason, I have been rejoicing and glorying in red.

This morning I remembered the Color Quiz and decided to take it.  Here are my results. What say you?

Your Existing Situation

Needs excitement and constant stimulation. Willingly participates in activities that are thrilling and offer adventure.

Your Stress Sources

“Needs to meet people who have the same high principals and values as herself, but finds the need unfulfilled. her need to feel dominate and superior leaves her feeling isolated and does not allow for her to give freely of herself. She would like to surrender and let go, but sees that as a weakness she must not give in to. Holding back will allow her to stand out for the crowd and earn a higher status, recognized by others as unique and important.”

Your Restrained Characteristics

Current events leave her feeling forced into compromise in order to avoid being cut off from affection or future cooperation.

Giving more than she is getting back and feels misunderstood and unappreciated. Feels she is being forced into compromising and even her close relationships leave her feeling emotionally distant.

“Believes her hopes and dreams are realistic, but needs reassurance from others. Has strict standards when looking for a partner and wants guarantees that she will not be disappointed or lose.”

Current events leave her feeling forced into compromise in order to avoid being cut off from affection or future cooperation.


Your Desired Objective

“If motivated, she will easily and quickly learn new skills. Is very intense person who seeks excitement and sexual stimulation. Wants others to see her as an exciting and interesting person, who is also charming and can easily influence others. Uses her charm to increase her chances of success and gain other people’s trust.”

Your Actual Problem

“Impressed by unique and one of a kind things, and by people with exceptional personalities. Tries to takes the characteristics she likes in other people and apply it to herself as well as coming across as a unique individual.”

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What is it?

If you’d asked me, a year ago, whether I was a feminist, I’d have answered with a hearty, “Hell yes!” And I believed it.

But over the past year, I’ve realized how much of my existence has been spent reporting to men, by virtue of the fact that they were men and I was a woman. And I didn’t question it. That’s how it was, and that’s how God ordained it, so I accepted it.

And in this same year when my eyes started opening, I started doing a lot of study and research. I’ve started standing up for myself, and refusing to back down. There was a time or two when my conditioning made me back down, but it didn’t take long for me to realise what had happened, to get angry about it, and to stand back up again. (Tubthumping, anyone?)

I refuse to feel guilty because I have a weight problem that requires, in addition to the lap band I had done a year ago, that I go to Weight Watchers. Guess what? Weight Watchers works for me. If anyone thinks that the lap band alone should have been enough to get all of my excess weight off, too bad. I have to change the ways I think and the ways I eat and the ways I move. The lap band is a tool. Weight Watchers is a tool. I’m going to use whatever tools I need to achieve my goals.

I refuse to submit myself to a man solely because he is a man. I refuse to constantly sacrifice my dreams and goals and wishes and desires to the patriarchy that would keep me down in the name of leadership and guidance. I have a brain. I’m a smart cookie. I’m a hard worker. I’m creative. I’m a great cook. Those are all good things. There are qualities I like less in myself, but if they bother me enough, I can work on changing. But I’m not going to change them solely because someone else tells me I should.

So here’s a little food for thought until next time:

Feminism directly confronts the idea that one person or set of people [has] the right to impose definitions of reality on others.  ~Liz Stanley and Sue Wise

I myself have never been able to find out precisely what feminism is:  I only know that people call me a feminist whenever I express sentiments that differentiate me from a door mat or a prostitute.  ~Rebecca West, “Mr Chesterton in Hysterics: A Study in Prejudice,” The Clarion, 14 Nov 1913, reprinted in The Young Rebecca, 1982

Feminism is the radical notion that women are people.  ~Cheris Kramarae and Paula Treichler

It was we, the people; not we, the white male citizens; nor yet we, the male citizens; but we, the whole people, who formed the Union…. Men, their rights and nothing more; women, their rights and nothing less.  ~Susan B. Anthony

One of the things about equality is not just that you be treated equally to a man, but that you treat yourself equally to the way you treat a man.  ~Marlo Thomas

There are very few jobs that actually require a penis or vagina.  All other jobs should be open to everybody.  ~Florynce Kennedy

The world has never yet seen a truly great and virtuous nation because in the degradation of woman the very fountains of life are poisoned at their source.  ~Lucretia Mott

Women are not inherently passive or peaceful.  We’re not inherently anything but human.  ~Robin Morgan

Every time we liberate a woman, we liberate a man.  ~Margaret Mead

If all men are born free, how is it that all women are born slaves?  ~Mary Astell

Men define intelligence, men define usefulness, men tell us what is beautiful, men even tell us what is womanly.  ~Sally Kempton

“You can do one of two things; just shut up, which is something I don’t find easy, or learn an awful lot very fast, which is what I tried to do.” —Jane Fonda

“Don’t compromise yourself. You are all you’ve got.” —Janis Joplin

“I can honestly say that I was never affected by the question of the success of an undertaking. If I felt it was the right thing to do, I was for it regardless of the possible outcome.” —Golda Meir

I have never experienced racism in the feminist movement, so it concerned me to think that I was unable to see the subject clearly because I came from white, middle-class privilege. —Betty Buckley

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I have the best boss ever. Seriously. She is just awesome. As she moved out of the position she was in, when I first started working with her, she took me along with her. This means that I’ve learned quite a lot about how things work in the particular value streams I support.

From her I’ve learned a lot about how to deal with people as well. I realised that today, as I was talking with someone else to get some information about the value stream that is supported by the position I have applied for. She was asking some questions that she suggested might arise in the interview, and as we went through them, it became clear how much I’ve been influenced by E.

I know I can do this job. That doesn’t, of course, mean that I will be their choice and get the promotion. But it does mean that I feel good going into the interview, and any other interviews that will come up as I continue to apply for advancement in the future.

I’ve also been studying up on how to answer those hard questions–tell me about yourself, or what is your greatest weakness, and how are you working to overcome it.  If you’re in the same situation I’m in–job hunting, or else gearing for promotion–may I suggest MSN Careers. They have a lot of really useful information, what to do and, perhaps more importantly, what not to do. I feel a little more confident about those tough questions.

Now I’m studying up on phone interviews, as I’ve never had one of those before.

Whether I get this job or not, I’m glad to have the opportunity to apply and interview for it. I’m appreciative that E, knowing of my ambitions to advance, told me about the position and encouraged me to apply, while at the same time telling me that she has no idea how she could possibly replace me. Like a good mentor, she is telling me of opportunities that suit my skills and background, instead of keeping me in her group.

I have to say that I would glady work for E forever, given the opportunities for advancement that I seek. And even if I end up moving to this other position, I’ll continue to turn to E for advice and guidance. She is amazing.

Thank heavens for wonderful bosses and even more wonderful mentors!

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What Can I Do?

Whether one believes in an afterlife or not, presumably one wants to make a difference–for the better–in the world.

I wrote yesterday about choosing Amnesty International as my charity of the month. And it’s easy to get online and make a quick cash donation. And don’t get me wrong–that cash (if one can afford it) goes to do good works.

By the way–bear with me–this post may hop around a lot.

Yesterday I was reading the blog Margaret and Helen, and something Helen said really jumped out at me. She was referring, if I recall correctly, to having a neighbourhood get-together, and said that it’s important to know one’s neighbours. Too many people live in isolation, not knowing the names of even their closet neighbours. I can tell you that the night our house caught fire some people came over to talk to us (while others stood staring, which made me very uncomfortable and vaguely resentful), and I learned the name of the boy I’d been waving to every day for years. I was ashamed of myself. If I’d waved to him every day for years, why did I never once stop and talk to him? I always told Joe what a nice boy he was, but I never even knew his name. Cody. That’s his name. And he is a nice boy. Young man, now; he’s attending classes at the local community college. I haven’t seen him since the night of the fire–on the few occasions when I’ve gone to visit the house, I’ve hardly seen anyone. But I’ve thought that it would be fun, once we’re back home, to see if we can pull together a block party or something. A way for us to connect as neighbours, not just strangers who live on the same street.  (That would be totally separate from our house-cooling party, which I intend to hold once we’re back home.)

And then this morning I was also thinking of someone I met several weeks ago. She works in the administrative office of the local Big Brothers, Big Sisters organisation here.  And I’ve always meant to sign up to be a Big Sister, but never got around to it. I have now started the process, and hope that fairly soon I’ll be matched with a little sister, and can make the kind of difference in her life that others have made in mine.

And I thought about the play I helped write, “Las Mujeres de Juarez,” that told the stories of the women and girls who lost their lives, the families who lost mothers, sisters, and daughters, to the horrible murderers in Juarez, Mexico. I referred to it yesterday, when I was talking about Amnesty International.

Then I thought of animal rescue groups. All of the dogs we’ve adopted were rescue dogs. I’m so grateful to the organisations that find homes for abused animals, give them the medical treatment they need, and then find loving homes for them. When we adopted Emmylou, we actually had to fill out an application, with references and with the contact information for our vet. They checked with our vet before we were allowed to finalise the adoption and go pick her up.  Someone I know from work is a devoted cat lover, and every Saturday you can find him at the Petsmart closest to my house, working with a cat rescue group.

Money’s good. All of these groups can use money. It takes money to dig wells, to feed the hungry, to provide counseling to children who’ve lost their mothers, to treat sick animals. In the past I’ve made substantial (for me) donations to Susan G. Komen that will now be going to Planned Parenthood, who provides desperately needed medical attention for women in poverty, or who don’t have medical insurance.

But time is good, too. Just before my nephew Chase passed away, I was very excited at the prospect of providing respite care for his parents. I cannot tell you enough how much I love Chase, and still grieve for him every day. Sadly, he passed away and I didn’t get to see him before then. I waited too long. One of the charities I support is Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, who are desperately trying to find a cure, to provide health care and resources for people who suffer this terrible disease, to help the families. Then there are various groups who make dreams come true for terminally ill children. I can’t praise them highly enough.

So I have initiated an application with Big Brothers, Big Sisters.  Maybe I’ll check out the volunteer opportunities at Amnesty International. I don’t know if there’s something that will fit into my insane schedule, but maybe there is. I won’t know until I try.

My company provides matching funds for cash donations up to $250. That means I can make a small donation every month this year, and it will be doubled. They also provide matching cash for hours spent volunteering, up to 250 hours. I appreciate that they do that. They recognize the importance not only of giving cash, but of giving time. Now I need to make the time part of it more important.

What about you? What charities do you support, either with time or money or both? What drew you to those charities?

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I decided in January that I was going to make a donation to a different charity each month.  Last month’s donation went to Why Water (linky goodness, if you want to check them out). Ally, the company for whom I work, matches my donations up to a certain amount per year. That means when I make my $20 donation, it turns into $40.

This month’s charity of the month is Amnesty International (again, linky goodness if you want to check them out). I first became involved with Amnesty International when I was part of MoMenTuM and working on a show about the horrific homicides of women and girls in Juarez, Mexico.

Why donate to Amnesty International? They speak out against global human rights violations.

Featured Action
June 3, 2011

Free Liu Xiaobo

Liu Xiaobo, Chinese scholar and 2010 Nobel Peace Prize Laureate, is serving an 11-year sentence for “inciting subversion of state power”. Urge Chinese authorities to free Liu Xiaobo immediately.
February 22, 2012
For peacefully raising a flag at an annual Indonesian ceremony, Filep Karma may spend the next decade or more in prison.
February 21, 2012
Call on the King of Bahrain to protect the rights of Bahrainis to assemble, speak, and protest government policies. Bahrainis who choose to exercise their basic human rights should not face the risk o…
February 17, 2012
Ralph Kasambara, lawyer and prominent critic of the government, was arrested, charged with assault and released on bail. Hours later he was rearrested at his home by armed police.
These are just a few of many, many–too many–human rights violations. You can get involved in any of a number of ways. If your company, like mine, makes matching funds available not only for cash donations, but for hours spent volunteering, your impact is doubled.
You can search their website for different causes that speak to you for whatever reason. You can write letters. You can send money. You can attend events. You can volunteer for whatever the needs are.
If, like me, you’re fortunate enough to live in a society where your rights are respected, for the most part, it can be easy to forget how many people suffer inhumane treatment and indignities. If you have any spare cash, please consider sending a little to Amnesty International.
And if you have any charities that are near and dear to your heart, please leave a comment. I want to spread my limited funds far and wide this year.

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Lemme Tell You…

how the cow ate the cabbage. Seriously.

There have been so many changes in my life over the last year that I almost am not the same person. Only I am. Just different. 🙂

Anyway, I’ve done a lot of reading, a lot of studying, a lot of research, a lot of thinking, and I’ve been finding people out there in the blogosphere who give me a lot to think about.

Today I discovered the lovely and highly opinionated Margaret and Helen. These two delicious ladies have plenty to say, and it’s well thought out and provocative. Go. Read. Think. Thank me later.

That is all. You may now return to your regularly scheduled lives.

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I approached the end of 2011 with the utmost confidence that 2012 was going to be My Year! A year of discovery, a year in which things would go well, a year in which I wouldn’t have so many of the negative things that happened in 2011.

But just changing the date on the calendar, changing the year, doesn’t magically mean everything changes. And the last few weeks have been incredibly rough on me.

Don’t worry–it doesn’t mean I’ve given up on my dreams. I haven’t. Yesterday, heart in my throat, I applied for a supervisory position at work. I don’t meet all of the minimum requirements, so if there is someone applying who does, that person would have an edge over me. But I am confident that I can do that position, and if given the opportunity, will prove myself. I had nightmares all night pertaining to the interview process, and today my heart is in my stomach, bouncing around, making me feel queasy.

Joe’s been frustrating to deal with lately. I mean even more so than usual. He’s wigging out over my shoe situation. See, my left knee is an artificial knee. I fondly (or not-so-fondly, depending) refer to it as my gimp knee.  And I wrenched it quite badly last week after wearing heels two days in a row. I got the okay from my boss to wear sneakers until the absolutely adorable pair of Skechers I ordered came in. So yesterday morning, when Joe saw me put on my sneakers with my black work pants, he had a conniption fit. To save the peace, I ended up putting on a pair of flats. The only problem is, the flats are as hard on my knee as heels that are too high. Fortunately, my new Skechers came yesterday, and they’re cute and extremely comfortable. But according to Joe, they’re not good enough. They could be the difference between my getting the job and not getting the job. Is he right? I don’t know. I doubt it. But he’s so genuinely distressed, because he genuinely wants to help me be better than my best, and achieve everything I want to. So after work today we’re meeting at DSW to buy me new work shoes that have just the right heel height. If they’re even half as comfortable as my cute new Skechers, it’ll just be a bonus.

Then he told me to put on a jacket or something to cover my arms because my arm flab is showing. I nearly cried. He doesn’t know how hurtful he can be. And when I try to explain it, he’s so defensive because he just wants to help me. 

Shape-ups X Wear - Hyper Active

These are the shoes that he says will cost me the promotion.


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I’m gonna gitcha, gitcha, gitcha!

That’s one of Emmylou Who’s favourite games. I can always tell when she wants to play I’m Gonna Gitcha because she’ll lie down and look at me very intently. Then I very slowly and deliberately start to move toward her, staring her in the eyes. Then she’ll rocket off the couch into the bedroom, back into the living room, around the coffee table, onto the couch, etc. Every now and then she’ll let me catch her, and I rub her tummy and then back off and we’re good for another round.  If you’ve ever seen it, you’ll know it’s just about the cutest thing ever. It’s also dang good exercise, although not great for my gimp knee.

Her other favourite game is Bite da Momma.  She lays on her back and waves her paws at me, and I wave my hands at her, and let her gnaw on my hand for a while. I’ve learned that I can’t play Bite da Momma when I first get home from work, because she’s too excited and will leave deep indentations in my hand (no blood or anything–she is very careful not to break the skin). But once she settles down a bit, we play Bite da Momma, and she’ll chew on my fingers, or my hands, or my arms, and it’s very sweet.

She’s a very long dog. When she first sees you, she gets so excited that her whole heinie is waggling back and forth. We call it “The Emmy Emmy Shake.” And the tail starts thumping. And you know that she’s just about ready to jump out of her skin for joy. She is frequently in a relaxed C shape when that’s happening, with her back side not so far from her front side.

She never met a stranger.  She’s tried to haul me up to someone’s apartment so she can ask if they will come out and play. I’ve had to go up to strangers and say, “Excuse me, but my dog would like to say hello,” and fortunately everyone I’ve talked to is happy to say hello to her and love on her for a bit. Last time Izzybella came over, we took Emmylou for a walk, and she was trying so hard to go greet another dog who was 30 feet away or so that she was literally hopping on her hind legs because the leash wasn’t long enough and my gimp knee won’t let me run with her. She loves other dogs, and is always ready to play.  When we leave the apartment, we’re definitely going to have to get another dog so she’ll have someone to play with.  I’ve taken her over to my Dad’s and Monster’s home, and their old dog is way too old to be up to playing, and even the younger dog is a bit put off by Emmylou’s exuberance.

At the apartment there is one guy who has 3 dogs, all rather big. She is delighted to see them, and wants to play with them, but is apparently rather intimidated by them, because she pees herself constantly while she’s playing with them.  It cracks me up.

She hates wearing clothes, but has figured out that whenever we make her wear clothes, she gets to go outside. She doesn’t have a hugely thick coat of hair like Molly did, and when it’s cold, it’s cold. So she has several outfits–one is a purple and pink and white striped hoodie that is so freakin’ cute; she also has a pink quilted coat; a dress with a purple hoodie top and a denim skirt; and a red and white plush Mrs. Santa outfit that she wore on Christmas day. When she sees us pick up her clothes, she starts doing back flips because she’s so excited to go out. Then she tries to gnaw them off because she hates wearing clothes.

She also loves to go for rides. It’s one of her favourite things to do.  She curls up in the seat next to me, if I’m driving by myself, and just sits there and looks cute. Unlike Scout and Molly, she doesn’t bark at people on bikes or motorcycles. If Joe and I are in the car together, she stands up on the back seat and pokes her head in the space between us, to say hello and to see what’s going on.

I can’t tell you how much I miss Molly, and Scout. But I’m so glad to have little Miss Emmylou Wiggle-butt Thumpy Tail Who to be with me.

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Just Now

Not feeling very inspired today, so I stole from Jehara:

Emmylou Who snuggled in her blankies and being adorable
current time: 12:27 p.m.
in my mug: half a cup of tea left over from yesterday that I need to take into the kitchen at work and wash
in my belly: a piece of chocolate cake that my boss made for a co-worker’s birthday
in my ears: someone near me talking on the phone
in my bag: my nook, my kindle, my ipod, a letter from GypsyGrrl that I need to answer, and our homestead exemption form that I need to send in
feeling good about: having such amazing sisterfriends, and about being given more opportunities at work that will let me shine, and, I hope, get me promoted to a leadership position.
feeling bummed about: the fact that we STILL don’t have the rest of the money from the insurance company to fix our house and replace the furniture & appliances that need to be replaced.
thinking about: changes
(format courtesy of under the big blue sky.)

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