Thursday, September 30, 2010


An oldie but a goodie on the radio tonight... U2's "One" which includes the lyrics, "One life, one love ... sisters, brothers, one life, but we're not the same, we get to carry each other, carry each other ... One..."

U2, of course, fronted by Bono, he of the AIDS and poverty and global health outreach.

Another song I heard today, a brand new one, on the country station by Josh Thompson... it includes the lyrics, "Our necks are burnt, our roads are dirt and our trucks ain't clean,
The dogs run lose, we smoke, we chew and fry everything ... We won't take a dime if we ain't earned it, When it comes to weight brother we pull our own, If it's our backwoods way of livin' you're concerned with, You can leave us alone ... Our houses are protected by the good Lord and a gun, And you might meet 'em both if you show up here not welcome son..."

Look, I don't think people who listen to country are Red State Tea Party assholes -- hell, I listen to country clearly -- but it doesn't take a genius to look at one side that wants PROGRESS and LOVE and to WORK TOGETHER, and at another side who wants to SHOOT PEOPLE WITH GUNS IN THE NAME OF GOD IF THEY SHOW UP UNANNOUNCED.

I would be OK with this if we could take all federal dollars, public education, food safety standards, children's health insurance and more away from these people who say they don't want it... and leave 'em way out in those backwoods... but it doesn't work that way. It's one life, even if we're not the same. We pitch in to help even those we don't understand, Mr. Thompson, because we are civilized people who don't shoot strangers.

Friday, September 24, 2010

M v W

I write a lot about femininity, but trust me, I think about it even more. What is it, what does it look like, what does it feel like. Can it be also powerful and authoritative, or does that negate its very existence? (That's a real question, by the way, because we say, oh, of course it can be!, but society and blogs and magazines and coworkers and friends tossing off thoughtless comments lead me to genuinely ask it.)

But for all that, the silent, and very real, other side of this coin of conversation is masculinity. And how broad a spectrum men are given to be real men, to be considered and seen as manly. This lovely tribute to Patrick Swayze on Jezebel has comment calling his masculinity (partly born of a football playing father and ballet dancing mother, both activities he did very well) "unforced masculinity".

This is now a phrase I love.

Because it IS the "unforced" part that makes a man so delightfully masculine, whatever kind of man he may be. (And it's not about being sexually attractive, though he may be, because it's much more expansive than a dual hetero-homo view of the world.) It's a little bit of self confidence, it's a lot of devil-may-care, it's a dash of choices made well - and if not, of lessons learned with humor - and it's an effortless grace with and true interest in talking about, experiencing, viewing, reading, feeling and enjoying both ends of the gender spectrum in ways we see it - weeping and punching, nurturing and seizing, listening and talking, dancing and footballing.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Totally Cool.

Despite keeping a blog and loving my digital internet-based devices, I also dearly love books. My fantasy house has a very small library in it with a ladder on wheels, which Belle had in the Disney cartoon... but which my childhood bookstore in Montana had before that.

So speaking of books... how cool is this?! New goal on the life list? Same as Sophie's; get a book in that library.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Personal Inventory: Purses.

Perhaps I own more suitcases than purses. Perhaps.

Ok, yes.

I do. At this very moment.

But, there are suitcases now IN the trunk of the car, ready for the Goodwill drive-up drop-off!! I am down to three suitcases (S, M and L) a backpack and two more overnight/weekend-sized bags. What can I say? Suitcases represent travel, and travel represents financial flexibility, and financial flexibility represents happiness. It's a very snug, neat and comforting loop.

But, on to the purses. The classic women's accent piece.

I own six. Two are regular sized, every day types. Four are very small "going out dressing up" bags.


First, I am not a purse person; I don't salivate over LVs or Birkins or the like. But in the personal inventory department, this count seems poorly planned. Of the two normal ones, one was a college graduation gift (circa 2003) and one is badly shaped and can barely zip up (circa 2008).

But the four tiny (and adorable!) ones... they hardly take up any space! One is shiny! And gold and from my wedding day! Could I pare down to two from four? Taking a boulder of salt in hand with my first world problems here, it seems reasonable to have a 5-to-1 ratio of shoes to purses. Keeping that previous inventory at 20 means keeping this at 4. Two tiny and two normal.

Oh, I know what you're asking. Is it OCD-like behavior to create a 5-to-1 ratio? Certainly. But in a consumption-based society, without any limits, with endless pressure to buy! buy! buy! and replace! replace! replace! with new! new! new! items, I respond well to firm boundaries.

Besides, when I say it out loud, FOUR PURSES seems insane. Who needs three more things to back up the one thing they carry!? That hauls around even more stuff?! It's madness! And it's decided. 5-to-1. I will report back with obituaries on the two tiny purses that get the axe.

PS. I have not included my briefcase computer bag in all this. It's, like, a totally different thing, duh!

Thursday, September 16, 2010

One Option.

What option do you have when your mother sends you a birthday package that also includes a couple forgotten items from the most recent trip to Montana, and ALSO includes your two prom dresses? Only one option, my friends, only one.

You must try them on.

The report? Not as disappointing as one might expect. Now, neither of them fit, of course, but not by as much as you'd think! (And oddly, the junior prom dress fit better than the senior prom dress.)

Aw, c'mon. Wouldn't you have done the same thing?

Sunday, September 12, 2010


Before I return to personal inventories - which got a great, fun reaction from my readers! so on they shall go! - I am going to share a little 9/11 reflection.

Two pieces of context:
  • first, I went yesterday to an interfaith vigil at a mosque in Portland, with about 350 other people and listened to mini-sermons from 11 religious leaders from all different religions in the city. It was quite lovely, and I think was in large part due to how focused on the future is was - how we can be compassionate, understanding, embracing of other religions (and non-religious-altogether folks); how we can build a respectful community today in Portland that grows outward and onward;
  • second: I am reading "The Forever War" by Dexter Filkins and it is blowing my mind. It is a long book entirely comprised (so far) of on-the-ground reporting from his years as a journalist covering the Middle East, NYC, Pakistan and everything in between. I already, a mere three chapters in, have a better understanding of Afghanistan as it really exists in modern history than I have in my whole life. (Take that, cable news!)
So... 9/11.

Yes, it's a cultural touchpoint. Like Kennedy's assassination or the Berlin Wall coming down. (The first of course I wasn't alive for; the second I remember being sternly instructed by my father to "Watch; and remember this" in front of the TV one night.) Such moments are important to the collective human narrative, to the American experience. 9/11 can bridge gaps between individuals and inform their intimate conversations. I have spoken with feeling about what that day was like for me with others, and heard what their days were like. I remember well contrasting the sunny Montana day with the collective fear; I remember the whole world changing around us, college students at the start of a new year.

There are citizens who lost people in NY, DC and PA. They have a unique story and connection, and have the right to live their grief process free from those in this country who wanted/want "in" on their personal pain. I know someone who lost a parent on a hijacked plane that day and for that very reason, never asked about it. It's not my grief; I was not in NY, DC or PA and I did not lose a friend, neighbor, family member or acquaintance.

With the memorials on TV, billboards, radio, blogs... with "we/I will never forget" plastered all over Facebook... I am taking a classic Pig of Success stance here and calling shenanigans.

Yes. It was an act of terrorism. Yes. It was frightening for generations of Americans in an absolutely new way. Yes. It's part of the cultural narrative in an epic way.

But. If you lived in Israel, Lebanon, Pakistan, Sudan, Somalia or any of dozens of other countries on earth, terrorist attacks, suicide bombs, surface to air missiles, war rape, a level of fear, a widespread lack of safety, all could be part of your life, every single day. And this isn't a slam against patriotism, it isn't a slam against the military or guard, it's a slam against taking the feeling of violation that happened on 9/11/2001 and not letting any one else have it. As if Americans are the only ones who have ever been violated or attacked. As if physical violence on a large scale had never happened to a society before. As a good friend put it today, acting as if the intensity of victimhood on that day and the power of grief in those weeks belong only to those who deeply felt the pain of 9/11, and to no other nationality, and no other persons in history.

That's what I think on 9/12. Just me?, I wonder...

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Personal Inventory: Shoes.

Heading into my 29th year next week, it feels like a good time to take some personal inventories. And what easier way to start than with the tangibles? So we begin with... shoes.

Oft called a woman's favorite thing, I have not normally given them too much thought. However, with a professional job and princess-and-the-pea feet who steadfastly prefer fine brands, this is as good a place as any to take stock, and start a new trend of consuming consciously.

Current count: 21 pairs. This includes two pairs of flip flops, which need to be tossed and replaced with one quality pair. It includes one pair of Sorel winter boots (because you will never really be able to take the Montana out of the girl), and one pair of heels that will be given to Goodwill after they are worn in a wedding later this year. It does not include a pair of ski boots or a pair of scuba diving booties, as I think these are sportswear and not footwear, and it does not include thoroughly beat up, mangled, old, scuzzo sneakers that live in the car permanently -- in case it breaks down in the middle of nowhere and I need to walk a distance (again, see girl + Montana).

In my heart of hearts, I'd like to own no more than 10 pairs of shoes at any given time. However, even for me this is pretty ambitious, the ugly American that I am, so I'm going to start with a solid 20 as the limit. From here on out, if a new pair gets bought, an old pair gets tossed. It already gives me goal... one old Payless pair of sneakers for real athletic shoes and the other old Payless pair for cute (non-running) sneakers; one old pair o' scuffed boots for work-appropriate fancy-lady boots, etc.

So, onward! And next up: purses. (We may as well get the classic women's wear out of the way first.)

So of course... if you'd like to share... how many shoes are in your closest(s) and trunk(s) and garage(s) and hallway(s)?

Monday, September 6, 2010

Watch this!

Last fall and winter, I was working on a web series, and I know I mentioned it here. Well, do you have a few minutes? It has hit the web! It "airs" every Tuesday for seven weeks -- there are seven episodes in season 2, the season I worked on -- and the first one is up.

Check it out here, and if it gives you a laugh, tell some friends!

The End of Rock n Roll.

Even though I am one-year-plus away from turning 30, my long-holiday-weekend ability to rock 'n roll might be gone. Case in point: we were away camping this weekend, and the first night, I went to bed at 1:30 AM. The second night, at 11:30 PM. And the third night (last night when back at home) at 9:30 PM. Goodbye, youth!

At lease I can comfort myself by noting that John retired anywhere from 1-2-hours earlier on each of those nights.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Remember This?

Two months ago today, I posted this poll question.

And we have an update! One check was a donation to a cause that had restrictions on when they could cash it; they cashed it as soon as they could, and all was well.

However. I am now resorting to public shaming, in the hopes that the second check will get cashed. It was a wedding gift for a couple who are now in their second trimester with the first baby! Shaming? Or blackmail, perhaps! No baby gift till the wedding check is cashed!

Now we wait. Will it work...