Sunday, July 25, 2010

On the Cheap

My friend the Modern Muse (see link in sidebar) did the June Food Stamp Challenge and at the end she asked all of us out here (there?) in reader land if we would ever do certain things to feed ourselves if we were hungry. Well, MM, I have to confess, I have done most of those things you describe. I was not a single mom, but I was a grad student birthing thesis and dissertations. Because I have done them before, I made the choice to do them again as I write my novel. $101 dollars to feed oneself for a month just isn’t real, even with a garden, even with all the coupon tricks, even with three-bean salad that I can’t look at ever ever again. And boxed Mac and cheese just makes me want to hurl at the thought of eating it. But it got me through school.

I still think paying over $10 for a t-shirt is waaaaay too much. I love the thrift stores, even though I have the added problem of being plus sized. One can find amazing deals in the racks (last Thursday a Michael Kors silk tank in a color that works with my almost but not quite red hair and skin really well – with an orange tag – which meant half off that day - total cost $4.50 – original cost new $85). I make my own granola, grow my own ‘matoes, jar my own jams, knit hats and scarves and potholders for gifts, do alterations and sewing repairs, can unclog toilets, fix window sills and screens, change out spark plugs and so forth. I learned to do all of this not because I wanted to be the New Martha Stewart but because I was too poor to hire someone else to do it and too proud to admit I needed help. Or the alternative, owe someone for something I should learn to do myself, because you may not always like the payment asked for.

I will admit that I borrowed a lot of the Martha Stewart and Carolyn Roehm books from the library, so I could learn to do these things in a somewhat artistic way. Some of the stuff I just rolled my eyes at, because really, who needs to learn to stack wood in an artistic pattern? That is just stupid. But a lot of stuff was really helpful in terms of how to do things correctly, and how to make some money on the side. I have sold altered notebooks as journals, knit goods, food, swim lessons, garden expertise and even once helped make a telescope for a neighbors kid in exchange for an old lawnmower and some lumber that I made vegetable gardens out of. I am a big fan of the barter system and my artsy friends and I trade art all the time.

In grad school had the added benefit of being able to sell my body. And my main John was well known. I was a triathlete sponsored by a major protein bar company. My job in the military (now THERE is some quiet poverty) asked me to do some amazing things, and I did them. By the time I was ready for grad school my body was trained and able to ride 112 miles, run 26 and swim 2.5 all in the same day. I didn’t do to many of the full sized races, as many of them did not have my division (back then we were called Clydesdales – nice, right?). At 5’11” and in full training mode, I stand at 183 lbs. Well over the average of most women, and this means I need more food than the average woman, with the lesser amount of money that a grad student has to live on.

My point here is that once you have known poverty, there is a certain amount of comfort in knowing you can and will survive and that you might even me able to do it with style. The modern Muse is amused that she is now being touted as eco conscious because she sews, cans, and gardens. knits, cooks and has the Modern Domestic Skills. I laugh, because, like her, I have being doing these things forever, not be trendy but because I had to. I do them now, partly to save money while I write, but also, honest truth, I kind of like it.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Grow up

So WHAT? I mean it. So WHAT that Bud Keene when talking to Shaun White used the F word among other expletives. yeah yeah yeah I get it that the Olympics is supposed to be sparkly clean and all, but as an athlete I know that althetic language is NEVER clean, and this is a grown up talking to another grown up that he has coached and known for how many years. Let us point out that Shaun White had just won another Gold Medal. Yes I know his reaction is news, but were you seriously surprised when this got said? Bud White moved in front of his athlete to say this privately, and NBC turned up the volume to hear them. So I gotta ask you, who is the idiot here?

collusion in one's own oppression

A survey of 1000 households in London resulted in the finding that a majority of women believe that if a woman has been raped it is at least partly her fault.

(sound of my head exploding)

This is sexism and is a blatant example of how women collude in their own oppression. This is how women perpetrate violence on other women; by making allowances for it in their cognitive world. The thinking is that men hurt women. e.g. That is how it has always been, and men would not do such a thing if it were not deserved. If a woman is hurt it is because SHE did something, never once asking why the man thought it was okay. This forgives violence from men, and allows women to become scapegoats in the social epidemic called rape.

Under NO circumstances does ANYONE deserve violence, especially violence of a degrading nature involving the use of sex as power. It is never okay to commit a violent act against anyone, but it especially not okay to commit violence as a show of force or domination.

When phrased like this many women agree, but then fail to make the connection between this statement and the idea of rape, often confusing the act with sex. this is exemplified in that the article went onto explain that these women believed that she deserved it more if she had had sex with the guy before the rape. Implying that once you have sex with someone you are under an obligation to always have sex with him, even if it was bad sex, with someone you are not married to, or if the first time you had sex with the guy, you weren't sure how to say no. And what if you were raped the first time, does that mean you have be subject to the rape over and over again? Really?

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Don't be Common

A friend on Facebook just posted that her boss left his door open while having a private conversation about his daughter banging someone in the bathroom at school.

Urp.

Now I am a feminist and I believe in the sexual freedom that women enjoy today, but I am also a Southerner and think that manners are manners are manners. And if the Dad leaves his door open to publicly have what should be a private conversation, then it is no wonder that his daughter did, in effect, the same thing.

This might just be a rant about manners and displaying yourself publicly for no good reason other than you have no manners. Displaying your bad behavior publicly for a political reason is a thing that I understand and even applaud, since my feminist roots are mired in punk (which, by the way is a philosophy and not just a type of music). However, I fail to discern how showing your hoo hoo or being doggie-fucked in a bathroom at your high school is even close to political.

I think it is bad manners and just plain stupid.

As my Steel Magnolia of a mama would say, it is just common, and THAT, to a Southerner, is the worst crime of all.

This, I will grant you, is an extreme case, and does in fact, argue the point in quite a graphic and almost psychotic way. So moving into a realm of sanity, I will point out that if you are going to have bad manners about something that you want people to take you seriously in, like a political gesture, then it is in your BEST interest to have good manners most of the time. This is so when the bad thing happens, people will not dismiss it as you just being you. It also gives a certain amount of credibility to your statement as not crazy, because you have always behaved in such a decorous manner before.

This is a lesson I learned a little too late in life, (although boinking in a bathroom was never my style) and is why I am the Debutante Gone Wrong.

Thursday, February 4, 2010