Sunday, March 31, 2002

Blind dates....

I have only been set up by three people in my life, and for once it has worked. The first two ended up being well...jerks. This one is different. I need to call and thank my pastor for setting me up. Who knew a pastor and his wife would make such a wonderful match maker?? I have never connected with someone like I have with this person. Now, I am not talking marriage any time soon, or even ever...I don't know, but I am happy with a guy for the first time in a long time, which is a good thing.

Now, with my peace said on that, why I am blogging. I was the kind of person who did not think that a blind date could lead anywhere..but hey look at me. Not to mention that my bestfriend has also been set up on a blind date, and is now in a happy relationship. So, now I believe that blind dates are much more than good television.

Marriage Material

I think it's dangerous to make sweeping generalizations, about anything, and regard them as absolutes. Of course there are relationships and marriages where both the husband and wife contribute equitably to the union. Of course there are marriages where each partner is satisfied with the other's level of contribution (whether it is, from an outsider's view, equitable or not). I think that by writing "all husbands" and "all wives" Maushart discredits her point of view.

With that said, however, based on my experience and that of many of my friends, even the most independent-minded women are surprised, and confused, when traditional marital roles sneak, surreptitiously, into their marriage. I am in my early thirties. I am divorced after a pretty-good, but not completely satisfying, 6-year marriage. My parents had a "traditional" marriage. They got married while at university. Mom didn't finish her degree because she had a child. Dad did. Dad was the primary breadwinner. Mom stayed home with the children until we started school then she worked part time. Even though I saw this as a model, I was told, by both my parents, and by outside influences, "You can have it all. You can have a satisfying career. You can travel. You can find a partner who will respect all these things, help with the housework, be kind, sensitive, and present for your emotional needs." This may be possible. I didn't find that person.

Both my husband and I automatically fell into roles we had seen our parents perform (even though we consciously tried not to). The role of "wife" was new to me. Though I had been told one thing, I had seen another. Many times, the role I had observed was the role I took on. So maybe marriages in which division of labor is more equitable will be more common in the future, where young women and men will have had role models for this behavior.

In hindsight, however, I wonder, hmmmmmm. I was told about all the benefits I would derive from a wonderful, modern-day marriage. Yet, I wasn't told about the sacrifices I would need to make (because there are many). I wasn't told how much work our relationship would take. I wasn't taught how to compromise. How many people (women and men) are taught these things? How realistic are our expectations? How hard are we willing to work to accomplish them?

Elevating from the comments

I'm elevating this discussion of marriage/men/women from the comment box to post level for further noodling. The conversation spawned from Anita's post that discussed the book Wife Work by Susan Maushart, which was reviewed in Salon. The book is also available and reviewed on Amazon.

In the Publisher's Weekley editorial review on Amazon, we read this about the book: "Wifework, 'the care and maintenance of men's bodies, minds and egos' is a one-way street, says Maushart, something wives do for husbands at great cost to their mental and physical health, with minimal reciprocation. According to her, even fully employed wives do a disproportionate amount of housework, in addition to 'child-care drudgework,' 'monitoring His physical well-being,' "deferring to His agenda in day-to-day conversation,' maintaining 'His extended family relationships,' etc. Maushart (The Mask of Motherhood) counters that he, in contrast, is merely a 'volunteer' in the marriage; apart from providing an income, he's really only expected to 'turn up" at family events.' "

I agree with the comments by fellow blog sisters that said we all bring our own unique perspective to our interpretations of messages like this. But still. It bothers me too. This isn't what being a husband or a wife is about. It seems she has an axe to grind against men. And in reading all the reviews and comments, it's clear that Maushart, having her way, would do away with marriage. I might buy the book--but more than likely I'll wait until I can get it at the library. It wouldn't bother me as much if she had said, "my marriage..." or "inadequate husbands..." or "wives who have had their self-confidence ripped away at the hands of damaging husbands." It's more her approach of Wives are this, and husbands are that. Men do nothing. Women do everything. P-u-h-l-e-a-s-e. Am I the only one who doesn't buy that?

Comic Relief
With envious {{{hugs}}} to the happily married, here's a great one liner from the "Pearls Before Swine" comic strip in today's paper:
Do you realize that the phrase "Married for Life" and "Marred for Life" are separated by just one letter?

Saturday, March 30, 2002

Blogsticker Thomas

Could you spare $19.00 (U.S.) to help a kid raise money to battle his cancer (and others', if he has a lot of success), in a way that illustrates the power of the Web? If so, visit Thomas Pacheco's site (which just went live yesterday) and Blogsticker Thomas! If not, definitely give him a link. Also, see Gary Turner's due diligence about the whole endeavor.
He, She It.
While it didn't get great reviews, I really liked Marge Piercy's sci-fi novel that intertwines the myth of the Jewish "golem" with the contruction of a cyborg that winds up being every woman's dream man (or at least as close to it as the main female character/scientist can get him to be). Since we've been posting about our struggles with men in relationship to us I thought I'd mention He, She, It. What if we could build and program our own?
A Book for Couples
This post sort of deals with issues raised by the previous two. While I admit that my experience tends to validate Mushart's findings (see previous post), I am not without hope that things can be different.

A Book for Couples by Hugh and Gayle Prather is one I wish I had read early in my marriage. Of course, it wouldn't have done much good unless my husband had read and internalized it as well. But since then, I've given it to my daughter and her husband (they both have read it and it continues to inspire and inform the way they relate in difficult times). Last month I loaned my copy to a friend who recently ended a relationship that she had high hopes for. After reading only a part of it, she went out and bought four more copies for people she knows who are stuggling to find ways to make their marriages do more than just survive. A marriage becomes a third entity: there's him, her, and the marriage; both people have to give equal attention to that third entity. So, that's my recommendation for your reading "pleasure" after you read the Salon article mentioned by Anita in the previous post.

Why do women wed?

For your reading pleasure over the weekend.

A new book "argues that women put much more work into marriage than men do, and asks why they bother." Called Wifework, the book by Susan Maushart has been reviewed by Ann Marlowe of Salon.

An excerpt: "Maushart tells us that men think they are doing a favor by ineptly "helping out" around the house; men do the fun child-care tasks like playing and avoid the diapering, bathing and disciplining. Men trivialize the work they don't like, including cleaning, but are happy to enjoy its fruits. They won't "do intimacy" but require constant emotional stroking. They impose their food preferences on the whole family. They forget about foreplay as soon as they're married. They put their children to bed in their day clothes and wash dishes without detergent. It's a sorry litany, but also an old one, of which the most original part is Maushart's indictment of men's inability to reciprocate the emotional care they receive from their wives."

Read the whole article here.

Friday, March 29, 2002

Movies

I went to the movies tonight and saw "The Rookie". (Go see it, its long, but really good) The lead character's wife, said something in the movie that just made me think of all of my blog sisters.

"I'm a Texas woman, I don't need a man to take care of me" Which goes back to my whole, I don't need a man in my life right now. (and I don't need to get married) When she said it, every woman in the place was like, yeah that is so true....I just found it funny. I guess it was the fact that when she said it the only thing I thought about was, blog sisters.

I Made It

After 2 of the almost longest weeks of my life, I am finally all moved to my new funky apartment in Bellingham. It's in an older building, maybe an old hotel from the 20's or 30's? Hardwood floors, lots of original architecture. Brand new appliances in the kitchen, new sink and tub in the bathroom. A tiny bedroom that pretty much only can contain my bed. Boxes everywhere. Can't get my satellite dish to work, so I'm watching Adult Swim cartoons that I've recorded. Boxes are everywhere. I can't find anything. My hands are all beat up and my muscles are sore from carrying all my junk. Why do I own so much junk? I'm tempted to swear off all earthly possessions. Except for my laptop, so I can still blog.

Happy thought

I had the most amazing day so far, and the fact that I am about to leave to go shopping makes it even better! (Georgia is tax free today and tomorrow!! How cool is that??) I just wanted to say something that would make all the sisters out there as happy as I am. I just can't think of it. Oh wait! There it is!!

I hope that all of you out there have a wonderful weekend!! Smile and everyone will think you have done something.....and it makes things more fun!! Have a good time with what ever you do! =o)

Ok, so I am a little giddy for the fact that my doctor gave me an almost clean bill of health today! (and I had a good time at school for the first time in a long time)

So, just smile, smile, smile and be happy!!

Thursday, March 28, 2002

Original Blogger

What follows is a transcription of an answering machine message received last night from my 92-year old grandmother, who for as long as I can remember (and longer, obviously) has kept a "little plaid book" where she chronicles milestones and minutiae. She frequently reminds me that "on this day in 19__, you [graduated high school : knocked out your front teeth on the back fence : etc.]."

-Denis-ee, it's Nani. Are you there? No. Ok...
-Well, I just wanted to tell you I was looking in my little plaid book and on March 27, 1965, you were one week old, and I was there taking care of you and your mother.
-I was talking to you all the time, and your mother said to me: "Why are you talking to the baby all the time? She can't understand you." And I told her, "Denisee understands, she understands everything."
-So, just wanted to let you know. Ok honey? Ok. Give a big hug to Rich. Ok? Bye, honey.

I have a digital answering machine with no tape, no way to save or transfer the messages. But now Nani's here with the rest of us, who well appreciate the importance of the milestones and minutiae.

-P.S.: On her own answering machine, Nani continues to wish us all "A Saint Paddy's Day" on March 17.

Strange things...

18 is such a strange age. I know that I don't have that many years under my belt, but still I have a voice, things to say and my own thoughts. I am at an age where I think, I need to find the person I am going to spend the rest of my life with. Hey, I am 18, I have a long time before I need to start thinking about getting hitched. Right? My older sister who has been married for 2 years, has been with her husban since she was a freshman in high school. He was her first "real" boyfriend, and he was her first love. I think its wonderful for her that she fell in love then and is still in love now.

Now try to explain that to my parents, and my pastor, who both think I am never going to be married, and will be an old maid. There are so many people out there who don't find the love of their lives until later on in life. I don't get why eveyone wants me married. I have been doing just fine with out any guys in my life for a long time. Yet....for some strange reason everyone wants me married. My pastor has even gone as far as hooking me up with one of his friends. (my pastor is really young) The guy he set me up with is really nice, but then again garbage would be nice after the last guy I was with. Two days after I have even talked to the guy my pastor is talking about my wedding. I have a life to live alone right now....so back off. They just don't get the fact that I am happy alone. Don't get me wrong the guy is really sweet, and very nice looking, but I am not at the point I want to think about spending the rest of my life with someone.

I have friends who are married, and who are engaged....and I think its wonderful for them, but its just not for me right now. I also don't want ot have a child. There are so may girls in my school who either have kids or are expecting. Why?? You are just a child your self. I understand that its a blessing from God, but I mean come on.....at least get out of high school before you do things like that. I know its to each his own, but that is just something I feel strongly about. It all goes back to when I was in the 8th grade and there was a girl who was with child. She already had one, then after she came back from having the second she was already preg. with the third. That was a real eye opener for me. (the baby's all had different fathers as well) I know that the youth of today does things that they should not do,and that we all have to pay the price, but you would think after the first two she would know what to do to keep it from happening again. I am not bashing anyone who has children who are not married, my sister was born before my parents were married. They waited to see if they were really in love before they did it. I know that when the time comes for me to get married (if that time does come) I will know it. Or at least I like to think I will know it.

I think that is all I have to say...yep...thats all folks! =o)
Why ARE we so quiet???
I was wondering that myself, Anita. Maybe BSers are commenting but our comment feature keeps coming and going?

Maybe because we save all the good stuff for our own blogs? Maybe we've run out of things to say?

I've been ruminating about all of that myself because we starting out sharing all kinds of interesting and sometimes personal stuff. And I liked that because we weren't dealing with discussing the technology itself -- which is what many other blogs I read do. We were demonstrating how that very technology can be used to form a dynamic community that could never exist anywhere else.

So where is everyone? Watching the A&E "Biography" program on Mary Magdalene that they taped on Tuesday? (Just a reminder that Salome is featured tonight.) If I had access to the comments, I would look back at one (of course, I can't remember who posted the comment) recommending a novel based on the female in question's take on biblical events. What I wanted to say was that, while I find those kinds of fictionalized histories great and affirming reads, what I'm really interested in is what the "whole" history really is -- that is the history that hasn't been told because the original tellers were men and therefore writing from their perspective and for the purpose of promoting their own agendas. I'm not talking about "revising" history; I talking about expanding the perspective (through more inclusive research) of what we have accepted (and are accepting) as accurate history.

So, in that vein, I'm very curious to see what "Biography" does with Adam and Eve, as well, which was scheduled for Friday but has been replaced with Dudley Moore, who recently passed away (at an age only four years older than I am now.) I would imagine that they will be doing Milton Berle next week. Uncle Miltie was a weekly staple on our black and white miniature TV back in Yonkers, New York in 1948. He brought transvestitism into our very living rooms and we loved it. He is the icon of Drag Queens. He played right to the camera with his zany "off-side" remarks, and we laughed and loud and loved every minute of his stap-stick antics. Good-bye Uncle Miltie.

So that's what I'm thinking about. What are you thinking about???? Huh?? Huh??

all's quiet on the BS front...

it's amazingly quiet in here... has everyone gone for lunch?

Tuesday, March 26, 2002

Blog Benefit No. ___.

It helps you remember things. Like the fact that a month ago this night, Jeneane was frantically selecting templates, sorting out code glitches, and wondering what would happen when she sent out invites the next fateful morning. Happy Anniversary, Blog Sisters!!

Love It Or Leave It
OK. I went for the t-shirt.
Since I already drink my tea from a Geekforce mug, I just ordered a BlogSisters t-shirt. Can't wait to wear it around out in the real world. Maybe I'd better do a little hand-out to explain what it is.
My cup runneth over...

My Blog Sisters mug arrived yesterday and I can tell that my husband is envious of it.

“Wow… what’s this?” he said, picking it up from the kitchen counter. He turned it all around and read the words on it.

“My new Blog Sisters mug; you know… that collaborative journal I told you about.”

“Ooooh, yeah. That girls’ writing club kinda thing you joined. So I guess this is a special, magic cup for drinking cranberry juice from when you get a bladder infection, right? Or for holding your stash of chocolate kisses during PMS week?” he chuckled.
He then nudged me and smiled teasingly.

You know, it would have bugged me if another guy had said that. However, my husband looked so darn cute standing at the sink with big yellow rubber gloves on, suds up to his elbows, admiring that new mug… how could I get miffed?

Yes, yes… the official Blog Sisters Mug. Men can wash it, but they can’t drink from it.

Get yours today! :)

Men....

Ok, I know that blog sisters is not set up to be a place for "men bashing" but....sometimes, you just have to bash. I don't like to be lied to. What person does? Yet, I always seem to find men who lie to get everything they want. They just don't lie to me, they will lie to anyone who has what they want. I am not going to sit here and say that I never lie...I do, but its never to get something. Ok, I'm sorry, but I think I just have this banner on me that only sleezy men can see....not that all men are sleezy. (The ones that I know that are not sleezy are my best friends) I think that is my problem with men. All of the men in my life think of me as "one of the boys." I guess the fact that I am a female that can change a tire and re-bulid her own engine in her truck, means I am not a girly girl. I can be. Its just that I enjoy working with my hands and I am not worried about getting dirty. Oh well...life will go on. I have plenty of time to get in and out of relationships with men. I just need to grow out of my "tom-boy" part of my life...and one day I just might.
Does anyone know if this is for real?
I got the following email from a friend. Has anyone else heard this? If it's true, we should publicize it; if not, I'll let my friend know so that she can communicate the truth back to whoever sent the mail to her.

This is something from the State Police -- Please read this "very carefully"...then send it out to all the people online that you know.

Something like this is nothing to take casually; this is something you DO want to pay attention to. Think of it as a bit of advice too. If a person with the screen-name of SweetCaliGuy4evr contacts you, do not reply. DO not talk to this person; do not answer any of his/her instant Messages or e-mail. Whoever this person may be, he/she is a suspect for murder in the death of 56 women (so far) contacted through the Internet.

Please send this to all the women on your buddy list and ask them to pass this on, as well. This screen-name was seen on Yahoo, AOL, and Excite, so far. This is not a joke! Please send this to men too...just in case!


????

Monday, March 25, 2002

History is the story told from the perspective of the teller (or writer).
I just watched a "biography" of Jezebel on the A&E channel. Later tonight, I will post something on my own blog related to "herstory." Meanwhile, Jezebel's story will be repeated this Sunday at 7 p.m. Bios of Mary Magdalene, Salome, and Adam and Eve air during this week at 8 p.m. The schedule's on the web site. Not to be missed for women who are tired of having history told by some "men of faith" who have skewed the telling of it for their own purposes. And if you're really interested in hearing a well documented "other side of the story," you might want to read the very scholarly book: The Feminist Guide to Mythology edited by Carolyn Larrington. For more accessible writing on similar topics, check out Barbara Walker's books -- Women's Encyclopedia of Myths and Secrets and The Women's Dictionary of Symbols and Sacred Objects. These books are bound to broaden your perspective on the things we have been taught about the place of women in the spiritual (and political) development of the human race.

vast bunch of linkssssssssssss

Lots of women-and-net related Links I've just begun exploring. (p.s., I emailed and asked them to consider adding Blog Sisters.) Warning: Time kind of slips by as you get lost in this web of resources!

-j.
At My Age, This Is Hilarious
A 75-year-old man went to his doctor's office to get a sperm count. The doctor gave the man a jar and said, "Take this jar home and bring back a semen sample tomorrow." The next day the 75-year-old man reappeared at the doctor's office and gave him the jar, which was as clean and empty as on the previous day. The doctor asked what happened and the man explained, "Well, doc, it's like this: First I tried with my right hand, but nothing. Then I tried with my left hand, still nothing. Then I asked my wife for help. She tried with her right hand, and then her left, still nothing. She even tried with her mouth; first with the teeth in, then with her teeth out, still nothing. We even called up Earleen, the lady next door and she tried too, first with both hands, then an armpit, and she even tried squeez'n it between her knees, but still nothing. The doctor was shocked! "You asked your neighbor?" The old man replied, "Yep, but no matter what we tried, we still couldn't get that damned jar open."

"This is for every nameless, faceless woman of color who now has a chance" -- Halle Berry

Did you see it? Did you watch? Washington, Berry, Poitier...something that has been very wrong with America was set straight last night.

Sunday, March 24, 2002

A Blog Sister at Least

Finally I've managed to get myself on as an official blog sister. A funny story today from Tish. A male friend in the midst of a divorce was talking to Tish and her sister Jane. After his endless stories of how rotten his first wife was, he said he really hoped to find an independent woman. Jane turned around and said, "Oh, someone like Tish maybe." Jeneane, you remember Tish, the queen of independent women. The guy stopped dead in mid sentence and didn't know what to say. Suddenly he was looking at a living definition of "independent woman" and maybe reconsidering. Be careful what you wish for. I am new at this blogging thing, but in awe of its power to connect people and give voice to our thoughts. I will attempt to put a link in to my blog, Writing Workshop
Hello! Wow! I feel very special today for the fact that I, a young southern girl, can be in this wonderful setting with all of these brillant women. I am in such shock right now that I don't know what else to say! Except Hello to all my sisters!

Friday, March 22, 2002

A Fractured Fairytale...

Spending my afternoons watching old movies probably wasn't a good thing. They reminded me how impossibly high my standards were set when it came time to find a significant other. I can't blame it all on the old movies, though. I am a woman after all adn I was a little girl at one time and don't all little girls dream about Mr. Right at some point? I'm not a romantic, per se - too damn cynical for that, un hunh. I can be an idealist, though, and on certain days, especially rainy afternoon/playing hooky/phone off the hook kind of days, I can spend the afternoon watching old movies and crying like a baby for what I think I missed out on.
Anway, it got me thinking (between Kleenex) and it spawned this....just thought my sisters might be able to relate.

Wonder Woman Lives
At least in olde time postcards.
I'll teach these hounds of Hades what it costs to insult an Amazon! SMASH!

The Kindness of Sisters

I posted this on my own blog.

Why Blogsisters Flock Together...

"Friends are much more important to women than men, and they talk about highly personal topics," said Dr Michael Argyle, psychology professor at Oxford University.

"Men don't have friends like that."

This research might explain to an extent why women flock together. Check out what else the good Dr Argyle has to say.

Now, we also have research to back us!!

This other report should be even more encouraging: "Women know what they want from the internet and spend less time than men getting it, according to analyst firm Jupiter MMXI."

Thursday, March 21, 2002

Let's get on with it!

I posted this as a comment, but decided to blog it too.

You're so right Andrea. I think like a lot of terms, feminism has been abused, twisted and contorted, thus creating so much confusion, cynicism and disapproval from segments of people. Whichever side of the fence you're on, there's a problem. And to top it all, its really uncomfortable sitting on top of it!

It has different connotations for everyone and rather than agree or disagree with people, as long as we know what we are all about, 'they' can't really do much damage. The minute we 'label' ourselves as something, there's bound to be trouble and controversy.

Since we've resolved (and know) what we're here together for, maybe we should now get on with whatever we want to do. Y'know, exchange recipes, talk about relationships, and be ourselves, just like in the ladies room!

I don't see why a bunch of women yakking together should create so much of a ruckus anyway. But maybe, it's a good sign too ;)

Defining Feminism

A little post-blog-sisters-political-bashing reflection.

A few posts back, Jeneane made the remark that she didn't really consider herself a feminist. I threw in my little comment to that post, mentioning that I didn't particularly consider myself one either. Then this person named Deb Gussman followed up with this comment:
I'm new to reading Blogsisters, and I'd be interested in hearing more about why you don't consider yourself a feminist. It seems to me that nothing that goes on here could be considered "anti-feminist," at any rate.

Excellent comment, and though that may perhaps have been directed at Jeneane, I'm going to respond to it anyway.

Yesterday, I was reading something on Anita's blog, and she had a quote from the estimable Burningbird:
Anyone who believes that women should have equal opportunity for work, equal pay for said work, equal opportunity of religion, equal opportunity to education, equal opportunity to medical care, equal opportunity to speak, equal opportunity to vote, control over what happens with her body, equal say with what happens to her family and her children is a feminist.

I think that is probably the most positive definition of feminism. Now go watch a flick like I Shot Andy Warhol and tell me what the definition of feminism there is. ;-) Even better, you can read this manifesto online.

"Feminist" is a political word. Just like "Democrat" or "Republican", it implies a particular political agenda, an approach to society, economics, and governmental ideology. Unfortunately, all those three words do not contain any absolutes. You can have Democrats ranging all over the political spectrum on different issues, Republicans that believe that, say, abortion should be legal and Republicans that believe it shouldn't. The same with feminists (it's not a perfect analogy-- feminists aren't necessarily a "political party" like the other two). Some feminists believe that men are disgusting pigs and should be wiped off the face of the earth, some are like Shelley and genuinely want equal treatment. Some claim they want to be treated like equals, but then still want the door held open for them, too.

I've done some very pro-feminine things. I've been a part of women's discussion groups, I've been in Take Back the Night Marches, I've lived in a Christian women's community in college. But I don't like the "feminist" label. For me, I don't consider myself a Democrat, just like I don't consider myself a feminist. I do consider myself politically liberal/left-leaning. I do consider myself interested in women's issues in politcal and other arenas. I shy away from the labeling words, however, because it's so nebulous. I don't want to describe myself to other people in a way that has so many conflicting definitions, especially in such a divisive way.

Like Anita, I like to think of myself as a humanist. If I make the mental distinction of feminist, I find myself slipping into the trap of everything being "women this and women that" or "men blah, men blah blah." I've schooled myself to think "person" instead; not because I think that gender should be completely ignored, but because I don't want it to necessarily be the significant defining characteristic when I first look at someone.

Wednesday, March 20, 2002

The Hyperlinked Mom

I wrote this a while back and don't know if I ever shared it. It's kind of a birdseye view of my crazy life that mixes telecommuting, motherhood, wifery, and, um, other stuff I forget right now. Wish I could get it to an editor at a pub that would p-a-y. Ah well, this place makes the effort worth while. gotta sleep now sisterssssssssssss.



A Different Kind Of Wired

Jane Farrell-Beck and Colleen Gau were interviewed on Fresh Air recently about their book Uplift: The Bra In America. Talk about your support systems. They touch (no pun) on things like '50's bullet-bras, and how when bras first came about they were a liberating relief from the forty-some pounds of corsetry and petticoats they usurped. I guess the logical question is, what's next? Perhaps this forward-looking group could spearhead some sophisticated and even more freeing MagLev system...

a few days late and you don't want to know how many dollars short

Geeze, I don't read for a few days and all hell breaks loose. Going back to earlier topics: I'm glad, in a way, that this site has been challenged. Personally, I needed to look more closely at why I blog and how I blog, which these challenges and insults have made me do. Reading everyone else's whys and wherefors has been illuminating. I agree, this site is a conversation, and as my sister-in-law says, conversation is a lost art. Perhaps the immediacy of the Internet has exacerbated that loss. I've blogged about this, and please forgive me for not wanting to write it out twice...but like I said, whoever joins this site does so because of who she is, not what she feels like discussing at the present moment. Jeneane (or someone -- sorry, couldn't find the reference) asked awhile back for us to share what makes us angry. More than anything else these days, what makes me grind my teeth with rage are people who expect women to only be reactive. To our partners, current, past or potential. To criticism. To categorization. "You're a woman, so you should only talk about X, X and X." "I'm a woman, so whenever I have a chance to hang with my girls, we're going to talk about sex." I am who I am (am I channeling the divine or Popeye? never sure), and I will continue to seek out that person as I grow, and will seek out the company of others on that same quest. We'll talk about racist language and foreign affairs and our homes and sex drives and friends and fears. And that's as much time as I'm going to spend defending this endeavor, which will merrily go on irregardless of anyone's approval or bitter condemnation.

Tuesday, March 19, 2002

Heehee

Fishrush dubbed us the "blognunnery." Heh! Fishrush rules. And I'm not just saying that because he links to me. ;)

Aussie Gov OK's the N-Word

I found this article from my hopefully soon to be country-of-residence kind of interesting: http://www.smh.com.au/news/0203/20/national/national18.html

Personally, I think this never would have happened in the U.S. The n-word is way too verboten. I don't agree with the idea of completely eliminating the word from the language by banning books which contain it. One of my most favorite, influential novels contains it: The Enormous Room, by e e cummings. However, I disagree that it's "not necessarily racist." It has so many roots in racism, that I find it hard to disentangle it from racial issues altogether.

The sign in question, which contains the inflammatory N-word (for those who don't want to read the whole article), contains the nickname of a certain rugby player, who was quite caucasian-looking, but happened to use a certain brand of shoe polish called "Nigger Brown." The thing is, while the sign isn't there to be racist, the name of the shoe polish has undeniable racist connotations. Right there, deep roots in racism, even though the moniker wasn't intended as a racist one.

I think that the fair thing to do here, would just be to replace the sign with the rugby player's given names instead of a nickname. Odd that that wasn't a satisfactory compromise.
Why Christine is Here
Oh yeah! Oh yeah! I echo Jeneane's welcome blog.

Blog Sisters Adds News Page

To keep our members and readers "in the know," we now have a News page, which will be our spot for sisterly news, happenings, events, and/or whatever else we all think should be there. Currently, the page houses our first press release discussing our organizational restructuring.

We aim to serve.

Why I am glad you are here, Christine

Because your voice is genuine and beautiful.
Because your concerns are heart-felt and noble.
Because you have examined your relationships with others.
Because you aren't afraid to share what you've learned from those relationships.
Because you understand this blog.
Because you have a sense of humor.
And because you told people to stop writing their posts in the comment boxes.

For these reasons and more, I am so glad you are here.
Why I am here...

I’m not a writer; I’m a visual artist.
I’m not a feminist; in fact, I heartily disagree with much of what contemporary feminism stands for.
I’m not a techie; I barely know enough HTML to keep from screwing up my own weblog on a daily basis.
I’m not politically correct or on the cutting edge, I’ve tried to be and it just isn’t me.

The reason why I wanted to join BlogSisters is because for the first time in my life, I felt like I found a good opportunity to belong within a group of women, even if it is at a distance. Over the years I have built several wonderful, enduring friendships with men, however I have avoided or ended friendships with women because of what I repeatedly observed when some females got together in groups. They had a tendency to belittle one another, gossip, and generally act catty. They often indulged in male bashing. They could not disagree on issues without things becoming personal. That kind of atmosphere just doesn’t appeal to me.

What does appeal to me, however, is genuine expression from a genuine soul, whether eloquent or not so eloquent. If I can sense authenticity in another person’s words, I’ll listen to them no matter what the topic may be. What I would like BlogSisters to be is a place where all women can be whomever they are and say whatever is on their mind at the time. I’d like to see everything from parenting tips to commentary surrounding current events. I also enjoy reading good-natured ribbing between friends and jokes seen from a female’s perspective. In short, I guess I am looking for a sense of community among women here that I have never been able to find elsewhere.

One other thing on my wish list while we’re at it: can we all stop writing in the commentary box so much? I’ve read some wonderful “comments” that would have made great entries on the main page and would stimulate some lively conversation. Simply put a “Re:” in front of the entry and respond to the topic you wish to discuss. Don't be shy, ok? :)

Anyway, that's my two cents for the day. ::plink plink::
More to follow, I'm sure!

Monday, March 18, 2002

Now there's one of the good guys
We've gotten a rousing cheer from b!X. I should damn well hope so. Everything I know about the web and blogging I learned from him. He continues to be my hero.

More on what we're doing

Elaine uses an important word more than once below: Conversation. Blog Sisters is a conversation; it's not a club. It's not the weight watchers site or an adult children of alcoholics forum, where, to draw an analogy, we hug and support our way through or specific challenges of BEING women. (By the way, I am not dissing those sites--I'd bet some of us have homes in those places too). Those types of communities are very useful and amazing groups of people gather there for a shared purpose. And certainly here, we can and should support one another rather than lapsing into the "heavy handed verbal sparring" Elaine mentions below. I agree that constructive debate and disagreement are positive things and will do my best to tow the line.

The difference with Blog Sisters is that we *feature* women. We are not necessarily *about* all things women. This is a conversation among women, not a conversation about women necessarily. As for our members--those who have accepted the invite to post if and when they feel like it--we have an amazing range of ladies here. Our youngest, Emily, is 15, and the eldest I'm aware of (she shared her age on her blog recently) is Elaine at 62.

Think of it! Think of the possibilities for learning and growing from shared conversation among this group. Imagine. I've learned so much already.

For the record, and I've said this before, I don't consider myself a feminist. And I'm sure we can debate what that means. I believe there are significant differences between men and women; I've been married to a wonderful man for 16 years and I consider him the head of our household; and women who whimper about being women drive me crazy. At the same time, I have noticed that the posts of women bloggers are often overlooked when it comes to linking and discussion in the greater world of blogging. And I think that's wrong. We do have something to say. And thanks to the net we have many places where we can have our say. Blog Sisters is one of them.

In number, let our voices resound.

Even more on focus and freedom
In a Comment, burningbird asks if we are doing women a service if we "tone down" blog discussions the way that some teachers "tone down" math with the mistaken assumption that girls can't compete in math on the same level with boys.

Again, rather than only Comment to her Comment, I'm putting my response here:
I guess I don't see why we can't have it both ways: play equally with boys when we're out there and still have a place where just "us girls" can come and schmooze. (I guess I must have really liked those one-sex dorms.) We learn to join the pissing contests out there because that's the rules that the male majority set up. (I'm not talking about "majority" in terms of general population; I'm taking about the various power places, including the internet.) Most men can deal with pissing just about anywhere, but most women seem to prefer a Ladies Room. Maybe that's how we should bill Blogsisters -- "A Ladies Room for Bloggers."

Sunday, March 17, 2002

More on focus and freedom
I was going to add this as a comment on Jeanene's previous post, but I think that it's better to post it up front, and I encourage any any continuing conversations about the current issue to also be posted rather than commented.

While it has to be OK for people to disagree on this weblog, I hope, as well, that the disagreements among ourselves would be respectful and care-full. I say this because I, personally, see this blog as a place where some of the less assertive female bloggers might feel comfortable entering into a conversation -- perhaps for the first time. So there has to be some kind of balance between healthy, strong debate and providing a positive and supportive environment in which the non Alpha Females can feel comfortable participating. See my post on my own blog tonight. I guess it's just my cybermom/teacher tendencies coming out. There's plenty of opportunities for heavy handed verbal sparring out in the larger blogworld. Do we have to/want to do it here as well? If we want to wrestle each other to the ground, can we do it through our individual blogs -- maybe with an invitation to join extended through this one? I'm really asking these questions because Meryl made some very valid points in her comment. Yet I know that there are women who need to feel that this is a safe place to express themselves. We can't be all things to all people. Personally, I'd like to err on the safe side right now.

As focused as we want to be.

Meryl says this about the Blog Sisters blog over at Shelley's place: "It turns out that Blogsisters' problems are exactly as I feared: It lacks focus and coherence, and there are too many authors--who probably don't have a lot of time to spend outside their own blogs. If I had my druthers, I'd rather see a women's issues-oriented version of Metafilter, where women AND men could post links to a wide variety of such issues and create comment threads to discuss them. And not feel guilty about lurking for long periods of time. But I think you need the Metafilter format, not Blogger, for something like that. And frankly, most men head for the hills when a discussion about women's issues is raised. So I'm not going to hold my breath."

Meryl goes on to say some good things about what we're doing here, and she has participated--there is a comment below by her of recent. But I look at it this way: Conversations are not mutually exclusive. You can discuss women's issues over on metafilter AND post on blogsisters, or another team blog, or make a second blog of your own. And if some folks take a breather here on Blog Sisters and don't post for a while, then step in and SAY something. Passive aggression will not do. And I've seen way too much of it online lately.

As for the "lack of focus and coherence," in the last few days we've shared links and opinions on the rights of gay adoptive parents, women in education, blogging, women and sex, online relationships, and more. Do these strike anyone as unfocused and incoherent? This is the kind of comment that makes others reluctant to post, for fear they will be perceived as incoherent. Or won't be good enough. And I won't have that. Not here. Anyone who posts here has the perfect right to say what she thinks, to invent as she goes, to wish she'd said something differently and try again, and to do so without repercussion.

I made Elaine co-administrator of this blog earlier today, before I read any of the negative posts out there. Elaine, hope you still want the job. :-)

in defense of this blog

Thank you Burning Bird for standing up for the Blog Sisters in light of Jonathon's rip on Blog Sisters. Jonathon says this about us:

You and I both know, Dave, that the breathtaking hypocrisy of "Where Men Can Link, But They Can't Touch" isn't going to get "looked at" any time soon, not by the BlogSisters nor by anyone else in the blogging universe.

His was a response to this post by Dave Winer.

Well shit. Bird says it well enough in her post, but I feel a RageBoy coming on. Jonathon, have you ever heard of having FUN? That's what we're here to do. And in the mean time, we hope to learn some, grow some, help some--you know, those little womanly tasks men like you give us credit for. I can hear him now, "I wasn't making it personal..." Yah, well, it *is* personal. It takes a lot of juice to make this thing hum. I resent your comments. And I resent you.

Men are free to comment here, but posting privileges are reserved for the women of the blog universe. And I'll say it loud and clear to you: We are too often overlooked in the witty posts and link exchanges between and among the men of the blogs. I'm one of the fortunate few, but there are plenty great women bloggers out there who get overlooked because they're not writing about code or how they impressed their girlfriends.

You know, this tops the email I got the other day from someone I had listed in our sister roll asking to be removed. "I didn't agree to participate," she said, and went on to say she didn't like the notion of defining herself by gender.

LIGHTEN UP, PEOPLE!

No woman here is making Blog Sisters her halfway house. We all have other blogs. We all have real world lives. And we *are* getting "looked at" and linked to, which is why we hit number 3 on daypop our first day out, and why there are 27 comments over on Shelley's blog discussing the topic.

We're not lame dolts with nothing better to do. This isn't a male-bashing forum. But you make me want to turn it into one. Trust me Jonathon, you don't want to take me on. Not this month. And not today. I'll rip you apart.

I'm pretty sure you posted what you did so that you could pump up your own standings. Hope it works, whimp.






Comment on Comment
Marenoire commented this on my previous post:
I can do *hugs* only so often but there are times where I find my voice isn't exactly a common one. I know that I like reading about what other women are thinking, especially if they are in a place where I aspire to be. Sane. Heh, kidding. This is a diverse entity, I hope we acknowledge, appreciate, and respect the voices especially if it isn't ours.

I replay it here because this is just the kind of conversation I hope to get going, and I also hope that she doesn't mind my calling attention to what she said. I know that it's easier to comment than log on with an actual blogpost, but I also know that some readers never get to the comments. So, it might be possible that Blogsisters will do away with the Comment feature so that nothing important gets missed.

And what Mare said is important. I think we all aspire to what she hopes for -- to acknowledge and appreciate all voices, even those that aren't ours. Now, I'll state my biases right up front: I'm a staunch political leftist, and I am not open to conservative rhetoric. So, the best I can do when some surfaces is keep my mouth shut. I am also a "nurturer," and happy giving comfort and support when it seems to be needed, so *hugs* are sure OK with me. They just need to be balanced with constructive and thoughtful ideas, perspectives, and questions. So, in the black sea out there, I hope Blogsisters can be a beacon.
Another Where
Once upon a time, there was a clever young blogger whose address was www.opinebovine.com. She's disappeared off the web as far as any of us know, and she disappeared purposely. She made herself disappear because, as she explained before she packed up her bags and blogs and moved on, that she was being cyberharrassed and didn't know how to make it stop. It makes me so mad to think that all of that pain is following us here. Is there so safe place for women?

I ask because I believe that Jeneane saw Blogspot's Blogsisters as a space where web-savvy women (or, in my case, aspiring web-savvy women) could share what they have in common and explore, together, what they don't have in common.

I can't help wishing that more of you would share, in both real and web life, what makes you angry ? What drives you crazy? What drives you to Prozac? What do you wish there were more of? Can we, collectively, become a force on the web?

Here's an example of what we might blogjam on:
I happened to stumble on this as I was looking at some stuff about gender differences in learning:
We've had an interesting experience with a listserv here. The listserv services a computing subject with a mixture of students - young, old, internal, distance education, male dominated but some female. A mature female de student sent a friendly "hello, I'm so and so, I have x kids and a dog", sort of message and got FLAMED by two younger (we think) males who rubbished her and said who cares etc etc and complained that a listserv should only be used for content not social things.
Interesting sociological research potential. If women arguably need the chatty, supportive side to their learning, will being flamed by young males result in dropout?


On the other hand, I dropped out of a listserv of all women that had no intellectual content whatever. It was more "supportive" (virtual hugs) than any actual support group I've ever seen.

Research shows that women, generally, learn, communicate, and solve problems differently than men. Not necessarily better or worse; just differently.

We each have our own strong blogvoice. Blogsisters gives us a chance to make some really jazzy music together. I thoroughly enjoy solo performances. But there's nothing more energizing than a good blogjam!

Friday, March 15, 2002

Where
Oh, where will Thompson go now? I'm so mean, when she's on tv, I count how many mistakes she's made. She doesn't seem to care that they're pretty much live and acts like it's no big deal if she reads something wrong.

Maybe she's going back to acting?

Thursday, March 14, 2002

Re: Let Him Stay!
i think the boy should be allowed to be adopted by the two men who have raised him since infancy. to remove him from the only family he has ever known would be an outrageously cruel act.

however, i also think that Rosie O'Donnell needs to stay the hell out of all of this. if i have read things correctly, she is using this particular circumstance to advocate that the entire ban against gay couples adopting should be lifted. that's just as ridiculous as someone saying that all straight couples should be eligible to adopt kids, too. we all know how ignorant a generalization like that is.

in my opinion, the ideal situation is for a child to be adopted in families with a woman and man who are married. i realize this isn't always possible, though, so we need more options. why can't we go by the standard that sane, healthy and responsible couples should be the people eligible to adopt children and leave it at that? the fact is, things like this need to be decided on a case by case basis. if the couple has proven over a certain amount of time that they can handle being a parent, that they can provide a safe home for a child, and that they honestly want to love and share their life with a child, more power to them. let them adopt as many as they feel they are capable of raising properly.

that is all that any adoption should be based upon.

i, for one, am sick of celebrities promoting their veiled agendas. in this instance, i believe what Ms. Rosie wants is more rights for gays and lesbians, not children. i don't care what she says; i know a political mouthpiece when i hear one yapping.

Let Him Stay!
Florida does not allow gay couples to adopt children, although they do let them take them in as foster kids. This couple has several foster children, one of whom is now, I believe, 14, has been in their care since he was nine days old. They would love to adopt him, but Florida says no,and is actively seeking other families to adopt this boy -- essentially taking him away from the only family he has even known.

Rosie O'Donnel has made a big stink of this on her show and encourages everyone to visit this site, read the story, and "Take action" -- which will send a letter to the Governer's office putting pressure on them to change the laws. Time to push the envelope a little more. Go to the the "take action" page and click a little poke in Dubya's brother's eye.

Push My Button


cover



Thank you RageBoy for helping us to bridge that gender gap.

Wednesday, March 13, 2002

Hey, Henry Jenkins Gets It.

Yah, okay, I hate the "gets it" thing too already, but there isn't a better way to explain this article by Henry Jenkins (let's all use his name and push him up the daypop top 40 list) on what bloggers are doing and how important it is, especially today when mainstream media is homogenized beyond repair. This sister thanks RageBoy for the link.
Hey! It Ain’t the New York Times
In my younger days, I used to be a big fan of Cosmopolitan magazine. The condensed novels and short stories were just the things to skim in that lazy pre-yawn hour. Simple plots, sexy men – just the thing to switch mental gears and prepare me for pleasant dreams.

And then, after I finished the fiction, there were still those dozens of glossy pages of fashions, horoscopes – and all of that sex advice. Except, as it turns out, it wasn’t only the short stories that were fiction.

Meryl Yourish pointed me to an online article by Liza Featherstone, Faking It: Sex, Lies, and Women's Magazines, that reports, according to various women’s magazine editors,
…many of the people discussed in these [sex advice] stories simply do not exist. The former Cosmo editor says that when the qualifier "Names have been changed" appeared, the characters in the story were composites. But a fact-checker at another top-circulation women's magazine says, "'Composite' gives it too much credit. It's much more invented than that. 'Names have been changed' can mean anything, including 'Totally made up…."Hey, it ain't The New York Times," the Cosmo loyalist says in her former employer's defense. "We should not be in the business of misinforming people, but we are publishing an entertaining, popular magazine that people want to read."

The comments reported by Featherstone took place at a
….cocktail-hour panel of women's magazine editors, hosted by Mediabistro.com, a media networking organization, and held at Obeca Li, a trendy nouvelle Asian restaurant in lower Manhattan. Audience members, mostly senior-level editors and writers for women's magazines, joined the panelists in voicing many familiar complaints about the industry: too many skinny models, even more emaciated feature stories, and too much advertiser influence on editorial content. Laurie Abraham, executive editor of Elle magazine, however, had something else on her mind. The worst thing about women's magazines, she asserted during the panel discussion, is how much "we lie about sex."

Even more oddly,
Once, discussing a prospective personal essay with a Marie Claire editor, a writer was asked to change a reference to a female lover -- turning her into a man. "Women's magazines have a very specific idea of what's 'normal,'" says a Glamour writer. "Anything that deviates threatens the stability of the universe.

Apparently, writers of these columns and articles did just what I probably would have considered doing: They sat round with their friends, concocted interesting salacious anecdotes -- some spun off the actual experiences of these friends – and then attributed them to fictional women of the age appropriate to the magazine’s readership.

Imagine all of the young competitive women who felt inadequate as they measured their sex lives against the myths of magazine lore – or, even worse, who used these columns as a guide to fulfilling sexual behavior and relationships.

One recent Marie Claire headline, Featherstone writes in conclusion, stood out from the newsstand's usual breathlessness: the truth about women and sex. A bit ambitious, perhaps, but emphatically worth a try.

From what I have read so far, Blogsisters tell the truth! Right? Right?

Tuesday, March 12, 2002

Stop me if you've heard this before.
This is a laugh for all those women out there who so look forward to that wonderful time, once a year, when they get to be "intimate" with their OB/GYN doctor! In Sydney, Australia one of the radio stations pays money ($1000-$5000) for people to tell their most embarrassing stories. This one netted the winning $5000........

"I had an appointment later in the week with the gynecologist. Early one morning, I received a call from the doctor's office to tell me that I had been rescheduled for early that morning - 9:30 a.m. I had only just packed everyone off to work and school, and it was already around 8:45 a.m. The trip to his office took about 35 minutes, so I didn't have any time to spare. As most women do, I like to take a little extra effort over hygiene when making such visits, but this time I wasn't going to be able to make the full effort.

I rushed upstairs, threw off my dressing gown, wet the washcloth that was sitting next to the sink, and gave myself a quick wash in "that area" to make sure I was at least presentable. I threw the washcloth in the clothes basket, donned some clothes, hopped in the car and raced to my appointment. I was in the waiting room only a few minutes when I was called in. Knowing the procedure, as I'm sure you do, I hopped up on the table, looked over at the other side of the room and pretended I was in Paris or some other place a million miles away.

I was a little surprised when the doctor said, "My, we have made an extra effort this morning, haven't we?" But I didn't respond.

When the appointment was over, I heaved a sigh of relief and went home. The rest of the day was normal - some shopping, cleaning, cooking, etc. After school, while my six-year-old daughter was playing, she called out from the bathroom, "Mum, where's my washcloth?"

I told her to get another one from the cupboard. "No!", she replied. "I need the one that was here by the sink. It had all my glitter and sparkles in it."

Monday, March 11, 2002

Virtual Love

I was going to post a comment to Valerie's online relationship post, but then I realized I just had way too much to say on the subject in the form of useless background information and other kinds of silly babbling to squish it all into a comment.

I'm definitely coming from the perspective of "TheNewerVal" in Valerie's sample conversations. I learned to socialize online, and gained a lot of self-confidence through my online friendships. I also made some bad choices with people online. They weren't any worse than bad choices others have made in meeting people in meatspace. But those bad experiences also give me a perverse little bit of cynicism about online relationships. I don't see them as a replacement for "real life" friends, but I do see them as a great way to meet new people and augment my current social life.

I don't think I ever suffered from a disorder that kept me from socializing-- my problem wasn't chemical. When you grow up on a sail boat and then move around a whole bunch before age eight, when you're a pretty intelligent kid with a weird imagination and more skill at talking to adults than people your own age, it's kind of hard to make friends with your peers. I was skinny, precocious, outspoken, I dressed funny, and I didn't let other people's opinions make me change who I was. But I still wanted to be liked for who I was, and that led to a lot of emotional suffering during most of my formative years.

Flash forward to 1996. It's my senior year of high school, I've already been playing around with that BBS stuff, downloading games. My friend Jeff and I have been mailing floppy disks back and forth containing bootleg games and little programs written in BASIC. My family has just started dialing into an ISP and downloading web pages from the WWW at something like a 9600 baud rate. Then, a classmate of mine says to me, "You should get AOL! It's great! You can chat with people in real time!" and I begged with my parents and we signed up for what turned out to be overpriced per minute charges at slow speeds and constant busy signals with access numbers. But in the midst of all that, I started hanging out with a bunch of people who did online roleplaying.

I know what you might be thinking. Online friends and roleplaying? How much further can you sink yourself into the Kingdom of Loservania? For me it was a big step up. The roleplaying was good for the creative writer in me. It allowed me to put myself inside another personality, to play with traits and impulses in me that had been subsumed by shyness and isolation. Unlike the opinions of idiots like these (warning, scary site ahead, which can be thoroughly debunked by this site), roleplaying can be a pretty healthy activity. And for the record, I've never participated in murder-suicides or been possessed by any demons, to my knowledge.

During that time, I made some really good friends, one of which became one of the closest friends I've probably ever had. Those friendships gave me the confidence to start interacting more with folks IRL. It clued me in that I could be a relatively likeable person when I wasn't trying too hard, and it got me used to dealing with and relating to people from all different kinds of backgrounds (believe it or not, 14 year olds are not the only people who roleplay-- two of the people who ran a particular game were a married couple with a son in high school).

I won't say that my online friendships (and subsequent romantic relationships) were the solution to my shyness. But they gave me a relatively pressure-free training ground to work some serious stuff out. If things got too dicey for me, I could always log off and write an email after I calmed down. And there's also something about online interaction that encourages a kind of honesty and intimacy that's hard to reproduce in the real world. Those kind of experiences later lent depth to my real world friendships.

Yes, there are people who lie online (and not all of them are marketing jerks creating blinking banner ads). I've had some scary experiences with that. A college friend got involved with a guy she'd met online over spring break and decided she was going to marry him after a week. She went to visit him and ended up being pushed into having sex against her will. Did this happen only because it was an online romance? No, of course not, take out the "she met him online" part and you have a pretty typical story about a girl with low self-esteem who just wanted somebody to love her and threw her common sense out the window. I've had experiences of my own that were fairly similar (though, fortunately, didn't result in rape). In retrospect, you can spot an online liar pretty much as easily as you can spot a liar face-to-face. All you need is a good lack of naiveté and a wariness when someone is telling you exactly what you want to hear.

After a lot of experience, I developed a few personal rules for my online interactions. I don't expect these to be universal rules, but they've worked well so far for me. One is that I hardly ever turn away anyone who wants to chat with me (one of the few exceptions is people who are obviously trying way to hard to get into cybersex-- those, I just mess with their heads. I've met some really interesting people from random ICQ messages.

My second rule is that if I'm going to meet someone from online in person, I need to have an escape route or a backup plan, in case things go incredibly awry one way or another. It doesn't even necessarily have to mean that the person is questionably trustworthy; it's a good general long-distance-travel rule as well. My final rule is that if things take a romantic turn, I definitely meet that person as soon as I possibly can. With that kind of relationship, nothing replaces the gut feeling you get when you see the other person eye to eye. My first "boyfriend" was a guy who lived on the other side of the country that I never met for two years. That ended up in a miserable mess that I won't get into because this damn post is already too long. My current boyfriend is one I met online as well. We met in person a few months after we decided we were interested, and when I first saw him at Heathrow airport, sparks flew, and they've been sparkling since.

Amazing Card Trick
I've got this on my blog too, but it's just too good not to share here as well. B!X friend Shannon figured it out. Can you?

FAQ Blog

Just found this unofficial "Blogger FAQ Blog." All kinds of helpful information there about how to make your Blogger blog behave itself (or at least stay off the furniture).

Sunday, March 10, 2002

online relationships - legitimate or insignificant?

So I've created this fake instant message conversation for a class assignment. It explores, in a very corny way, the nature of online relationships. I'm trying to make people understand that they're not all empty and untruthful. The final drafts (I have two versions) are here and here.

But I think the general population will continue to misunderstand. These, I think, are the less serious instant message users. Or those who are prone to believe everything they hear. There's an interesting commentary in the Yale Daily News about this. The author is obviously an instant message user, and one who uses it often. But she still doesn't trust it. There are liars, etc. There are liars in real life. There are guys who won't call. It's easy to get your point across if you know what you're doing, if you know how to write. People need to express their misunderstanding, not just pout and take offense.

Why are people so resistent to accepting and working with the technology? Why is it automatically evil? No one liked the telephone at first either. Do people here value and trust the connections they've made online? Or are they more empty connections, convenient for times of boredom?
BloggoSuction
I enjoyed my outing with BlogSkins - not difficult, but you need to set aside some time to add your links and other toys back into the template when you're done (and to mess around with where to put them to make things look passable). Definitely back up your old template beforehand, as applying a BlogSkin is like a "clean install." Also, only a few of the Skins have an archive page counterpart. This means if you have a separate archive page, it will still appear in the old format until you select and apply an archive skin (which may not match your main page, as there only are a few archive skins posted now). The other "skinning" tool I've looked at that has some interesting templates is Blog Designs. It's the same idea - an open-source forum for designers to submit their work for non-commercial use by the likes of us. Unlike BlogSkins though, these aren't set up to give you a direct substitution of your Blogger template. I think you download the code and do a cut-and-paste job instead.

growing the roll

I added more women bloggers to our sister roll today. Still searching around for them. So many great women-written blogs out there! Remember, if I missed any or screwed up their names, please let me know. Off to get ready for Peter Pan. (and popcorn!)

If you're hating your job...

May I recommend you simulate a typical day of work at McDonalds? I chose to drive home fast and dream in color.

Denise skinned her blog!

Denise's blog has a new look thanks to blogskins. Awesome--you can click the colors up at the top to put the color *you* want on the blog while you're reading it. So how hard was it Denise? Anyone else playing with blogskins or other blogger.com-friendly redesigns? allied needs a face lift.

I think we may take Jenna to see Peter Pan today. Funny, I don't have any recollection of that movie from my childhood. When did it come out? I know it has to do with a rather feminine boy who wishes never to grow up. And I think he flies, Right? But other than that, I'm cluless. Nonetheless, it's about the only "G" rated movie out right now, and popcorn's popcorn after all.

I didn't sleep much last night. Issues with the extended family--mom in particular--are not getting better, maybe worse. How did life get so complicated? I need to make some money so I can get some more self-help books. Any recommendations?

I'll blog later, after I snoop around and see what's up in blogland. Post on sisters.

Saturday, March 09, 2002

keep track of your progress

i saw this interesting little thing and thought it might be a moral booster for those of you who are in the process of going smoke-free. now... if they only made something like this for Cadbury Mini-Eggs... ;)

women, girls, gals and such.

Kathie Heijtink has this to say about how we refer to ourselves, and how there really isn't a great parallel to the word "guys" that guys get to use to say the were hanging out with the guys, so to speak. She examines the PC-ness of "girl," and takes it from there into our perceived and expressed notions of race, ethnicity, belonging, exclusion, and the like. Nice.
Hood ornament?
Someone mentioned this news story to me the other day. I truly thought because of it's unusual circumstances that it was fake. It makes you wonder, what the hell was this nurse's aide was thinking. The driving drunk thing, unfortunately, is a common occurance. However the taking X and keeping a human stuck in her car makes you really wonder what's in that stuff.

I'll be a meany and blame it on her being in Texas. Heh.

Blogger has been sucking and other things

Is it me, or has blogger--love them as I do--been sucking oranges since this upgrade thing? Every time I have a good thought, I go to blog it and can't get in or on or around my blogs. My thoughts are hard to come by, dammit, and they don't stay long between these two ears. We're paying our share here. They need to kick the hamsters up a notch. If you're listening, blogger, please, huh?

If you're having trouble getting in, try going to pro.blogger.com and getting in that way. It worked for me just now.

So you think you know your old dog, and you think you know your kid. Then you leave the room for a minute while the dogs are eating and the daugther, who knows never to bug the dogs while they're eating, is on her computer. Dogs are almost done eating. You don't think twice. Then the scream. HOLY Sh...! Thank God, no blood, just a couple marks on her cheek where old Diva decided to do something she's never even thought of in her 11 years and snap at our daughter. Part 2 of the story--what do you think my little golden child was doing to get the snap? Taking one of those party toot-toots, you know, the kind that make noise and roll out like a long toungue, and blowing it at the dogs while they were finishing their dinner. Wasn't until she went up and did it to Diva that she got the surprise of her life.

A little ice and a lot of hugs later, and she's as good as new... which is pretty good:

cover


Still, I kick myself. I know rule number one of kids and dogs. But she knows better, and they know better, and they were almost done, and she was just playing a computer game. And look how quickly it could have changed. I'd say the dog missed her eye by a half inch.

So now, I never look at my old dog the same way. She's the most patient, loyal, obedient mutt you could ever want. And still, I look at her now and think, you're old and you're not the dog you were.

Thank goodness I get to have a second chance to pay attention!

Also interesting: male brain (two versions)
1.
2.

I haven't found the male brain yet... wonder why?

interesting? I think my chocolate sphere is a lot bigger.
O Yeah. Check Her Out!
Lyn Lifshin -- prize-winning poet I just re-connected with (online, of course), since she moved away from this area a while ago. If you're into poetry at all, you've got to read Lyn. I remember taking a workshop that she was giving years ago when she appeared for her finale/reading dressed in her old wedding gown and high enough to turn the reading into a mangificent performance. She's reading her stuff not far from me next month, and you can be sure that I'll be there. She is amazing.

Friday, March 08, 2002

blog roll growing

I added some new sistas to the blog roll. Amazing blogs out there. What's up with the coolest thing going--letting the reader "skin" the blog, applying a new looksy-feely whenever they want. Holy killer app, Batman! I'm learning stuff every day, and it's simply amazing what the women bloggers (and the men who love them) are doing. Just stroll through the blogs listed here and see if you aren't amazed.

Another comment--about comments--see what you think. Lots of GOOD writing and thinking is getting burried in the comments feature. Although I love the YACS comments, you just never know about the permanence of such things. At least I don't. So all I'm saying is.... If you got something good to say, post it. Top level. Say it lound and clear. Rock on with your bad selves. On Gonzo Engaged, I purposely left a comment feature off because I wanted to force the team to vibe off of one another's posts. But this is a different place, and I think the comment feature is important. It lets the guys talk. It lets people leave feedback on posts. But if what you're commenting on is of any significance--you know, that witty, flavorful stuff you're all known for--then post it as a post.

Onward and outward we reach.

on to my other blogs.... (what am I *doing*?)

Thursday, March 07, 2002

Celebrating the power of womanhood

Being ahead of most of you in the time zone,
I get to be the first one to wish everybody a very
Happy Women's Day!

Whether you're a daughter, mother, lover,
mistress, wife or friend - strive to be the
best woman and the best person
you were meant to be!

Tasty Drink from my Blog Sisters Mug.



No makeup. Bad hair day. Crummy camera. The usual excuses, but mmmmmmmmmmmmmm, i love coffee! You?

No Woman No Hack

Should women hack 'cause they can? Only if it's really a good one, hmm? (Not sure this would make the cut.)

Wednesday, March 06, 2002

smoke freedom

Helen, I feel for you, right down to the leg cramps, headache, and bitter mood. I am a pro at quitting, and unfortunately quite adept at starting again too. Longest stretch--4 years. Stupidest reason for starting again--Jamaican vacation with much drunkeness. Age of first butt - 12. Age of last butt - 15 minutes ago.

It sucks, I hate it, I am so fed up with being unhealthy, I'm an ass, Stupid stupid stupid, what am I thinking? Shit. Stinking tobacco companies. Stinking me.

Right now I'm under the impression my family is trying to kill me with massive amounts of stress. I'm just helping them along with my little habit. Perhaps it was the family therapy session today, minus step-dad, where nothing was resolved and wounds were left open to ooze another three or four weeks? Do ya think? I had all but quit again right before that.

Suck ass, I'm going outside for another. More power to you Helen. I will be needing your advice soon, as I'm resolved to leave these fucknozzles behind me, even if I will miss and the distraction they provide for me.

The one thing I remember from my longest stretch without smoking is how nice it was to realize that I CAN do one thing at a time and be happy. I had never really done one thing at a time. I was always smoking and doing something else. It's nice to be able to be in the moment, which you can't be when you're wondering when you can sneak out for another.

oh hells bells.

I hope to see you on the other side.

j.

"The World Must Be Peopled!"

(Kenneth Branagh's line from Much Ado, and the highpoint of the movie.) Except by the likes of the **fucknozzle** who commented - nonsensically, and in spineless anonymity - on your excellent writing below.

don't wait too long

My husband and I were married 11 years before we even really thought seriously about having a child. One of the great gifts and burdens to women of our generation is the birth control pill. As a gift, it has many medical pluses and keeps the "should we or shouldn't we" issue of having children a distant but lingering thought as long as we want. Therein lies the pickle and the burden. Unlike with our grandmothers, many of us have to make that quantum leap not to take that little pill anymore in order to entertain the possibility of having a baby.

For me, the making a conscious decision to "see what happens" was a bit easier because at 36, with my uterus full of fibroids, my doc said it's now or never. Get pregnant now or foreget it. Fibroids only increase in size and number as we race toward menopause, since estrogen (which feeds them) is on the rise until we pass over to the other (post-menopausal) side. Fibroids of my number and size also make a rather unhospitable environment for a growing fetus. Usually, the babies make it. However, my doctor warned me, I might not even be able to conceive because of the placement and types of my fibroids. And if I did, miscarriage was a greater risk, not to mention pain. A lot of it.

So, I stopped taking the pill that day, figuring, if it's meant to be, it's meant to be. I'll wait to freak out until it happens, which it did, in just 16 weeks after stopping the pill. Holy cow. I still remember being in our new house, totally unprepared for the result of that little stick I peed on, which showed two pink lines. "What?! WHAT?!" If you think you're ever prepared, you're not. Not unless you're actively trying (ovulation prediction kits and the like). If you're like me and you leave it up to God and some good swimmers, you stare at that little stick and say, "What??!!! No. No way. What??!?!?!"

The first thing I did, before I even pulled up my pants, was to turn to the bathroom mirror and pray that I would be a good mother. I remember it so clearly, I can see myself standing there, little pee-soaked stick in hand, staring at my mother-to-be self in the mirror like it was yesterday. I ran with the stick to my husband, who was still sleeping, and said, "Wake up--Look at this--Is this a LINE?!" He was bleary eyed. "Yeh, I think so. Why?" he asked. "Don't you know what that MEANS?!" He didn't have a clue. But once he got it, all he could say was, "Oh my goodness."

Four years (and a really close call with my own death) later, I am so glad I took the chance. The transformation of women through motherhood is an amazing, stunning thing. I have matured more in the last four years than I did in all the 36 years before them. [Parts of my journey through a harrowing pregnancy and the post-partum hemorrage that almost killed me are depicted--along with many other women's--in this book. For any women who has fibroids, it's a pretty good book because it gives the perspective from women who know, as well as the author's.]

Although I turned down all of those tests that tell you what's supposed to be wrong with your baby, I am glad for modern-day ultrasounds, which I had every four weeks to track the baby's growth in relation to the fibroids. My ultrasound technician became my lifeline to sanity. She was and is still one of the most integral figures in my life. How bizzare. To that end, women going through tough pregnancies today--which is happening more because we wait longer--medical advances are heaven sent.

But I've wondered, like Anita, if we aren't designed to have kids in our late teens and early twenties because we should. Yes, more immature. But, done and livin' large by the time we're 50. Healthier uteruses. Less wisdom to darken our parade--all those things. If the OB/GYN I had when I was married and 25 had told me what having firbroids meant to my future childbearing prospects instead of saying, "Oh, you have some fibroids, but they don't usually cause problems," I would have let nature take its course sooner. Then maybe my daughter would be a sibling rather than an only child.

Regrets are useless though--especially when we've been blessed with our perfect sweet daughter who puts the world in perspective for us every minute of every day. Anyone wondering if you should take the plunge, I say yes. You wouldn't be wondering it if you didn't want to do it. Realize that you'll make due financially. It won't be perfect, but it will be as close to perfection as life gets. Especially when they're asleep, lying next to you, and you smell their hair, and you rub their hands, and nothing--nothing else--in the world matters.





Ladies. Miss me? Verbiage pruned due to nicotine withdrawal. The decision to grapple with addiction deposits one at an ill-defined locale with a dysfunctional compass, no freaking map and a recalcitrant end-point that keeps hobbling out of sight. Day 14. Any lavish advice? Particularly - ahem - re how the recovering smoker might begin to perform - ahem - Certain Regular Ablutions more easily?

What an insouciant and dreadful post thus far, Miss Helen! It's all Me Me Me and, indeed, Me. I shall commence again presently when I have re-acquired the skill of inhabiting the communal realm ;) Bless, all.....

Maybe, the good old days were better!

I think it’s a matter of ignorance being bliss!

My grandmother had 11 children and lived to be about 90 without any major health problems. I doubt she did any tests, or had any special diet and probably had all her children at home.

When I was in my early twenties I always thought five would be a good number for kids. But I never got around to it for some reason or another! First both me and hubby traveled to Australia to study soon after our marriage. He stayed on for a year after I returned so it was a long distance relationship for a while. When he came back to join me, it was job search time and it took another couple of years to settle down.

Four years down the line I am still trying to settle down. Five is a very distance number now. If I can manage to squeeze in one, I’ll be happy. Unlike most others in this country (India) I don’t really want to significantly add to the population count anymore. And besides, there doesn’t seem to be enough time or money for anything these days!

Now I’m wondering whether I should have just gotten it over with when I was younger and wasn’t really prepared. Today, I might be ready mentally, but I’m not ready financially. I would really like to give my children the best and I doubt I can do so under the current conditions.

So am I right to just wait for the conducive time and circumstances? But then, don’t they say the best laid plans go awry anyway?

Elaine, I think our generation doesn’t think like the earlier one, especially when it comes to kids! We just think too much about too many things and that becomes our undoing, for the better or for worse...
The Good Old Days Were Not So Good.
Reading the posts about maternity clothes and Denise's comment that she is considering becoming a mother, I am motivated to say that having the kid is the easy part. It's the next 20 to 30 years that's the real struggle.

I recently went to visit my daughter and son-in-law who are expecting their first baby. She's 39, tall, skinny, funky, smart, and was sick as a dog and living in her pajamas for the first three months. Now, into her fifth month, she's feeling better, wearing equally funky maternity clothes, and having a great time getting all of the baby stuff ready.

When I was pregnant with her, we were really young and penniless and I worked almost until pregnancy's end. I didn't know what sex the baby was going to be, I had no idea if the baby seemed to be healthy, and I never intended to get pregnant in the first place. The maternity clothes were really dowdy, so I wore regular (a size or two larger) clothes as long as I could and then taught myself to sew that that I could make things that didn't make me look like a blimp.

My daughter spent 34 years of her life discovering who she was, what she was good at, and what she loved to do before she got married. When they finally decided to have a baby, they researched (mostly on the web) everything from the best time in a woman's cycle to try to get pregnant to what the financial costs would be to what she should be doing in tems of health to put her body in the best shape possible to be the best host possible for that "perfect little parasite" (my words, not hers). She's had tests to determine if there are any physical defects, she emailed a copy of her sonogram, and they already know that it's a boy and his name will be Alexander William.

No matter how big she gets or what kinds of clothes she's going to wind up wearing, she loves the idea of showing off that she's pregnant. (That tank top at Gap maternity is just her style.)

So, Denise, and any other blogsisters who are thinking of joining the ranks of motherhood, when the time comes, enjoy your personal pregnancy as much as you can. After that and for a long while, most of your joys are going to wind up being severely other-directed. It's certainly worth whatever it takes, but, let me tell you, it's feeling really nice on this end of the journey as well.

Innocent until proven guilty?

Heck no, not in Condit's case. Liar, liar pants on fire--he lost, and I'm glad.

Tuesday, March 05, 2002

Oh wow. I think it's worked Jeneane. Can you see me in the room? That was quite a struggle wasn't it? But worth it all, I hope :)

For those of you wondering what this is all about, I sent Jeneane about a dozen (or half) mails complaining that I hadn't got an invite. She invited me but for some undecipherable reason the message got lost in cyberspace. So after much back and forth, here I am. Finally.

*sigh of relief*

Hi everybody. This room seems really busy and crowded!

I hadn't run into this before...

what a dweeby dirtball. This site makes any number of mornonic assumptions about women, like:

- Some men are different. All women are alike.
- A man gets what he wants by acting smart; a woman, by playing dumb.
- Woman submits to her fate; man makes his.
- God made woman beautiful and foolish; beautiful, that man might love her; and foolish, that she might love him.
- There are two kinds of women: those who wish to marry, and those who haven't the slightest intention not to.

There are some interesting tidbits on his news page--the kind of thing that should scare them bout messing with us.

wanna gag?

check out gap's latest in maternity wear.

Blaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa ha ha ha ha, Blaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa ha ha ha Blaaaa ha ha Blaa ha ha (catching my breath). Does anyone in those funky cute clothes look pregnant to you guys?

Homework

Okay lady bloggers. You all have homework to do to help me with this here blog. Everyone email me some women-written blogs that aren't already listed in our sister roll. I want the list to keep growing and growing--and I am sure I missed some!!! You can leave them in the comments, but I'm most likely to add them if you email them to ewriter@bellsouth.net because of my little reminder system (i.e., i email them to myself at work--hey, it ain't for everyone, but it works for me).

Thanks!
-Tinkerbell

They Don't Have PMS in South Africa

Okay, I fess up. I sent the brothers of the blog a rather tough email when we started this blog a few days ago. It threatened mass PMS if they didn't link to us. Okay, maybe it wasn't nice, but it worked. Only problem is, brother Mike Golby doesn't know what PMS is, and, incredibly, I scared the crap out of him. Although that was the intention, maybe mike needs a little education on woman and what makes us tick--or get ticked off--every so often (in my case, every three weeks). He has a wonderful blog with a good comments feature. Let him have it!

tee hee.


I'm Cinderella. Which Disney princess are you?
Very interesting story in my local paper this morning. A MTF transgendered girl in high school wants to use the girls' bathroom, not the gender-neutral one. There's a very good reason for this, but it shouldn't matter anyway. She's a girl. She's been living as a girl for several years. It's gone beyond the point of an elaborate plot by some horny boy to see chicks naked. And I really don't think it's that she's a lesbian and, therefore, surely gets off on the sound of other girls peeing. Gimme a break. She's probably scared shitless (no pun intended, really) going in there anyway.

And it's not even the other girls who have expressed concern. It's the parents.

I really admire this girl's courage. High school is tough enough, especially in a more working class city like hers. She could have just continued using the gender-neutral bathroom until she was finished (which is a few months). But she didn't. She *asked* if she could use the other. She didn't even just start using it.

Thoughts? Comments?

P.S. Anita--we're crossing our fingers

I'm still working hard behind the scenes to get Ms. Anita Bora on our blog. So far she isn't getting the invites, but we're now trying inviting via a different email address. Maybe if we all hold hands and think positive thoughts, blogger will let her in! Ready--Ommmm Ommmm Ommmmm.

Always the last to know

I don't know if you had seen this before or not, but I hadn't. Lots of cool designs for your blog. I'm not sure how hard it is to put a new blogskin over an existing blog, but for anyone looking to start a blog, it would be a good idea to check some of these great designs out first. My favorite so far is the Chameleon, which lets readers click on the colors they want to apply to the blog. Cool! Anyone using one of these blogskins yet? If so, was it easy to apply?

lata sistas.

Monday, March 04, 2002

Crossover Post
No point in posting this twice.

Not My Boobies

Hmm... Hm hm hm. Mixed emotions as I read the article about the college girl with the drunkenness and the baring of the breasts. For one, I definitely agree with the assessment that this is in no practical way at all like rape. She was physically forced to do nothing. The analogy is ridiculous. And, ultimately, if you don't want friends, family, and total stranger to consider you a hussy, then don't act like one. ;-)

As to whether or not she entirely got what she deserved, I'm more undecided. While the article states that legal measures of privacy doesn't extend to large public crowds/events, I'm somewhat concerned about that. I don't like the idea that someone can just randomly videotape me out in a crowd and make money off that-- even if all I'm doing is picking my nose-- without my explicit consent.

We have so much discussion about privacy currently, and little has been concluded. It seems to me that privacy issues are currently perceived to be very black & white. Either something is entirely private, or it's entirely public. To me, it's really more subtle. At what point do we really draw the dividing line? Is a group of 20 people public? Is 50? 100? Is there a different level of publicity between 100 people in a bar and everyone who watches cable television? I think so.

I don't particularly feel sorry for the girl, and I think she leveraged an emotionally-charged rape/sexual harrassment accusation [ed: I forgot to type this word when I first wrote this post-- oops!] to her advantage. But the bigger implications disturb me.