Monday, September 4, 2017

Spinning My Wheel...

I spent today spinning.  I'd like to claim it was a concerted effort to #makeeveryday, but it was really more like "procrastinate (or maybe distract) the day away." (procrastinate away from things like migrating this blog over to a WordPress platform, the process of which feels obtuse and insurmountable to me, or distract away from the fact that my daughter--have I mentioned?--is in LAS VEGAS, without me).

Spinning is an ancient craft wherein you take fiber, stretch it out, twist it, et voila! turn it into yarn.  The fiber could be plant (flax, cotton, hemp, bamboo) or animal (silk, cashmere, wool, alpaca, angora rabbit, mohair, even dog fur).  Today's spinning started when I went "stash-diving," a process in which people who engage in fiber related crafts try to forestall an impulse purchase of YET MORE fiber or yarn by reminding themselves exactly how much they already have, amassed and unused.  In my case, I actually went stash diving as a precursor to "destashing," a process by which the overly-stashed decide to sell off some of their unused hoard to other fiber crafters, exploiting the other crafters' moments of weakness while attempting to recoup a portion of the considerable money they have as that least liquid of assets, craft supplies.  In the process I sorted out a significant quantity of fiber to destash, and smaller portion to keep (#kondoeveryday) and a single braid that I decided to spin, right now, today, even tough (or more precisely, because) I had other, more pressing and pragmatic things to do with my time.

Friday, August 25, 2017

Rebel Mom

I’ve just left my firstborn in Las Vegas.  LAS VEGAS, a city I was proud to have never set foot in until nine months ago, when at the age of 44, I took my daughter there to tour the college. University, rather, a huge one, 30,000 students, the size of the entire *city* where I attended high school.  And now she’s here, on this campus, in this triple digit heat, a quick two miles from urban chancre that is the Strip.

I’m writing this from a quiet hotel room, a modest Courtyard, where I sit ALONE.  I am alone with a pool, a king sized bed, and enough disposable income to purchase any manner of alcohol, chocolate, or bath salts I might desire.  Years ago, when the children were wee, I would’ve given 1.5 ovaries for this very setup—silence, personal space, and maid service—and yet I sit here alone, missing my daughter, who is striking off into this next chapter of her life.

Monday, October 17, 2016

Common, Not Normal

TRIGGER WARNING: Graphic description of sexual assault.

We can clutch our pearls all we want over the grotesque misogynous circle jerk of Howard Stern and Donald Trump, but our quivering with moral outrage seems a tad disingenuous when one of those men is this year's Republican Presidential candidate and the other served as a judge on "America's Got Talent," where he somehow managed to serve four years without referring to a single competitor as a "piece of ass." Perhaps we simply feel no need to state out loud what we already know: There is, by and large, very little consequence for misogyny.  Brock Turner's judicial abortion of a sentence was outrageous not because it was an outlier, some monstrous anomaly, but precisely the opposite: because it was so utterly predictable, just the most recent in a long line of egregious examples of how utterly consequence-free rape is.

For the rapist, anyway.

To describe the consequences on the other side of that inequality, I don't think I can touch the statement penned by Turner's victim in terms of its eloquence or power.  But maybe I can shed light on what precedes sexual assault for so many women in America--not the immediate precedents dissected by juries, the media, and legions of armchair psychologists, things like clothing choices and intoxication and dating history and race and socioeconomic status and and and.  But the cultural morass that normalizes sexual objectification, degradation, and ultimately assault from virtually the moment the doctor says "It's a girl!"

What follows is one person's experience only--mine--and I offer it up, like the Brock Turner sentence, not because it is anomalous, but rather precisely because it is so utterly, devastatingly commonplace.

Sunday, September 4, 2016

44, The Year of ZFG

I can’t decide if the hair was the cause or the effect, but this:

Is definitely the official hairstyle of Zero Fucks Given.  As I’ve described before, I began my transition to grey hair on the day my father died.  What I may not have described is the decades of hand-wringing that went into that eventual decision.

I found my first grey hair when I was away at summer swim camp.  I was 12.  By 23, I was sporting enough grey hair that, when I finally dyed it, a coworker gushed, “Oh, honey, that hair color takes 10-15 years off of you!”  “So I look like I’m 10?” I asked.  The confused look on his face made me realize that he honestly had no idea how old I was—or more to the point, wasn’t. 

After my first divorce, at the age of 25, I chopped my hair into a short pixie and let the grey grow out.  I noticed an immediate shift in the people who hit on me.  More women for starters, but also a different subset of men.  Some older, some younger, but all had a certain non-conformist streak.  And that’s when I realized the value of Appearance As Filter.

Saturday, September 3, 2016

Dear Universal Studios: Does Everything Have to Be So Rapey?

Right around the time Brock Turner was getting a stern tsk-tsking for sexually assaulting an unconscious woman, a group of us went to Universal Studios to celebrate one of my best friend's birthday.  I was dreading it maybe just a smidge, because even the lure of Harry Potter World was struggling to offset a four-hour round-trip drive to mill about cheek-to-jowl with thousands of other people on the hottest day of the year to date.

But I went! With my friend and three of our collective four daughters,  And Harry Potter World is all that and a box of Chocolate Frogs, seriously, totally worth the trip and the exorbitant price of admission.

Maybe it was just that Brock Turner (or perhaps his dad, infamously lamenting his son's lack of appetite for rib-eyes after "20 minutes of action" had landed the poor misunderstood collegiate swimmer rapist in hot water) had flipped the "confirmation bias" switch in my brain, but...it sure felt like rape was everywhere.

Saturday, August 20, 2016

A Glass of Bubbly

You know your day is off to a rough start when your first phone call of the morning is to Poison Control. And you are calling for yourself.  And you are a grownup.

"I drank a quarter cup of hydrogen peroxide," I stammered, shaking, sure I was going to die right there in my bathroom, whereupon everyone would discover not only that I haven't figured out how to adequately clean grout but also what I look like naked.  I thought about writing an apology to my children in eyeliner on the mirror.

"Dear girls, I am sorry I am such a fuck-up that I accidentally drank peroxide this morning, but we had a good run while it lasted.  Also, sorry for the F-bomb.  Please put a quarter in the swear jar for me.  The one I've been meaning to start ever since I saw it on Pinterest.  Also, call 911 if I am still twitching and then clean this grout before anyone else gets here, in case I survive the self-poisoning but then die of shame.  Love, Mom."

A Glass of Bubbly

You know your day is off to a rough start when your first phone call of the morning is to Poison Control. And you are calling for yourself.  And you are a grownup.

"I drank a quarter cup of hydrogen peroxide," I stammered, shaking, sure I was going to die right there in my bathroom, whereupon everyone would discover not only that I haven't figured out how to adequately clean grout but also what I look like naked.  I thought about writing an apology to my children in eyeliner on the mirror.

"Dear girls, I am sorry I am such a fuck-up that I accidentally drank peroxide this morning, but we had a good run while it lasted.  Also, sorry for the F-bomb.  Please put a quarter in the swear jar for me.  The one I've been meaning to start ever since I saw it on Pinterest.  Also, call 911 if I am still twitching and then clean this grout before anyone else gets here, in case I survive the self-poisoning but then die of shame.  Love, Mom."

"Do you know what concentration?" the lovely and all too calm Poison Control person asked.

I squinted at the bottle through my delirium.  "3%"

"That's very dilute, and this is a very common exposure," she assured me.  "We actually give this to dogs if we need to induce vomiting!"

My brain was flooded with relief before doing a quick little click-click-click-DING! that ended with the word "vomit."

"So I'm going to throw up?" I asked.

"Well, we don't WANT you to throw up," she said, which seemed like an odd disclaimer but maybe you get a little sensitive if a good part of your job is helping people induce vomiting. "But you might throw up."

"But other than that, I'll be fine?"

"Yes, you'll be fine.  But you might throw up," she reiterated.  "Do you know how peroxide bubbles on a cut?  That's what it's doing in your stomach right now."

"Got it," I really didn't want to hear any more.

"So it's just in there bubbling away, and that might make you throw up.  But if you do throw up, it will be within the next hour, not like days from now."

I thanked her, hung up, and re-arranged my Saturday morning schedule to include proximity to a toilet for at least 60 minutes.  Then I spent the next 57 minutes successfully fighting the urge to vomit...

The peroxide won.

The pressing question, of course, is HTF I managed this.  And there's a totally reasonable explanation.  Last night, before bed, I soaked my dental night guard in a glass with some peroxide (roughly 1/4 cup of 3%, in case you're playing along at home).  Then, after I removed the night guard from the glass and went on about my evening ablutions, I thought to myself you'd better dump that out so you don't mistake it for water in the morning.

And, apparently, that's as far as I got.

This morning I stumbled bleary-eyed into the bathroom, shook a Synthroid into my hand, grabbed the glass of water sitting on the counter, and knocked it back.  Although it looked like water, it burned like peroxide, and I instantly realized my mistake.

I think this is an example of what my therapist, a big fan of "recovery language," calls "a God thing."  Meaning, as near as I can tell, something intended to be a "sign" or a "lesson." And while (if memory serves) the God of Abraham and Isaac seemed to do His "thing" through locusts and floods, in my experience the God of single moms apparently prefers to work Her magic via bodily functions.  I suppose it's a good trade, all things considered; my first born is still safe.

So what exactly is "the God thing" in this case?  I think it was a sharp wake up call to slow my ass down and pay attention.  Recently my friend Karen and I have been discussing the perils of ignoring "The Voice" (not the television show).  The Voice is the wisdom within you that prods you in the direction of better decisions...but usually these better decisions turn out to be less palatable in the short term, which is why you need prodding in the first place. The Voice tells you not to try to anesthetize your sorrows through binge-shopping or binge-eating or binge-whatever.  The Voice nudges you when a relationship is cratering and you'd prefer not to notice.  The Voice whispers in your ear when your job is no longer a good fit.  The Voice also, on occasion, lets you know when you're being an insensitive ass, or a distracted parent, or maybe just lazy.  And--apparently--to toss out the damn peroxide before you groggily chug it the next morning.

So Karen and I have a pact to listen to The Voice.  And right now it's telling me there is no good picture to include with this blog post, but I know that no one reads a post without pictures, so...



If you need me, I'll be in the bathroom.