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Category: mutterings (page 1 of 3)

This Is What A Feminist Looks Like

A friend of mine posted about how the UPS man wouldn’t hand over her package until she told him what was inside. He played that game. And I have to say, having experienced this sort of interaction more times than I could attempt to count in my 47 years on this planet, it’s probably one of the biggest contributing factors to my Face of Stone that makes people somewhat afraid of me when it surfaces, like a submarine rising to battle above the waters. Because fuck you, dude. Oh, I can hear it now. “He’s just flirting!” “He’s just having some fun.” “He’s just playing around, he probably likes you.”

You know what? I’m reached the age in life where IDGAF, because stuff like this, societally, blames me and says, “let’s excuse bad behavior because you’re not in the mood to put up with it.” And what dictates that I should be in the mood? Because I’m a woman, and I should welcome a man’s attention and interest and playful banter, even if all I’ve done is answer the goddamned door to receive a package, something I PAID FOR. No. Just, no. How about saying something like, “I hope it’s something you’ve been looking forward to!” or asking, “How’s your day been? What do you do for a living?” Because holding a package hostage under the guise of “just playin'” immediately tilts the balance of power. It says, “Until you give me what I want (the answer), I’m not going to give you what you reasonably expect to receive without issue.” It’s like holding a package high above a kid’s head and making them jump for it. And you can argue that on the grand scale of things, this is small stuff, but if someone thinks it’s ok to do, I really don’t want to know what other boundaries they might ignore. And I resent being “That Witch” who calls your supervisor to complain, or “That Cunt” who won’t play along with your idea of fun, or “That Humorless Bitch” who just won’t smile for you. The real problem, in my opinion, is that I’ve endured it enough that I could feel my anger as if it were happening to me.

Boundaries. Respect. This is what a feminist looks like. Basically the same shit everyone wants and expects from the humans they come in contact with.
Bighairjen

When Will It Be Enough?

We’re inching ever-closer to some of the movies we thought would never happen – I’m thinking specifically of Natural Born Killers. The frenzy climbs, and media attention – even posthumously – seems to be the currency of the day.

I watched part of a video on CNN, the live feed of the reporter & cameraman being shot to death today. I recoiled, horrified, and cried at my desk. I want nothing more to do with any more video. I want to know nothing about the man who committed this crime, who posted more video on his Twitter account before going on the run and eventually killing himself.

I thought 20 children being killed along with their 6 teachers was when enough would be enough. I don’t even know what the answers are? But something has to change. This is heartbreaking.

Pumpkin Muthahfuckin’ SPICE

Yeah, it’s White People Month when this stuff comes back to Starbucks, you know it, there’s 800 variations of memes and pictures and squeals of happy happy happy on Facebook once the Heralded Return Of Pumpkin Spice Lattes, like the swallows of Capistrano, baby. Now, I appreciate my over-priced, delicious beverages as much as the above-average-income JoCo soccer mom, but it’s got to be “right” to fully enjoy it. And daytime highs of upper 70’s/mid-80’s ain’t it. For me, Pumpkin Flavored-Everything Season starts when I feel a chill letting the dogs out in the morning, and I see my first red blaze of autumn leaves. Our weather has been unseasonable since summer began – a milder, cooler version of last year, so much so that I really worked hard not to bitch when we got some hot weather, because days on end of 100’+ weather was torturous. Now we’re warming up and cooling down and warming back up so the tomatoes keep on putting out fruit and it’s almost October.

Sometimes I think about how lovely it would be to live in certain climates, where it never freezes or blisters hot, where it’s sweatshirt-and-shorts weather most of the time, and I think that while I’d enjoy it, I wouldn’t love it the way I love a true Fall. Fall is my favorite season of all, despite it’s symbolism of death and decay and ripe life coming to an end, (boy I can really put a damper on shit, eh?) But I LOVE IT. It fuels me and buoys up my mood. The smell of leaves on the ground, moistened by a fall thunderstorm, turning into compost that will re-energize the ground next year. Puffs of smoke from chimneys, the smell of wood in the air, it alerts the senses. Sounds around us change, the wind sweeps through branches and bring a shuffling of paper, the natural evolution from the velvety sounds of green leaves rustling in a summer’s breeze. As the humidity leaves, sounds become sharper, unmuffled by the damp air and heat that keeps windows shut and doors pushed tightly closed. Fall ushers in a return to cooking; soups and stews and warm dishes that take on the new flavors of squashes and root vegetables, complemented by the harvests of summer, transformed into jarred and frozen bags of produce that bring the brightness of summer’s hot sun to bursting flavor in chili, peppers and tomatoes taking on new forms. And it brings with a renewed desire to knit, to work with wool, to create and draw the calm from the meditative repetition of needles and yarn moving in unison.

So, Pumpkin Season, I realize you’ve “Arrived”, and I still love you, but you’re going to have to wait until it’s truly time.

An Open Letter to Andrew and Dan:

In the recent issue of “Kitchen Notes” in Cook’s Illustrated, you told us all how AWESOME it is to cook bacon this innovative way: put bacon in pan, cover bacon with water, turn on the heat and let it go! According these dudes, the water keeps the bacon meat from shrinking, and then as the water dissipates, you just let it sizzle and crisp up and ZOMG you have bacon like you used to have in your Easy Bake Kitchen Suite, only your real-life bacon is made of meat and not rubber! OMG! This is so not how it fucking works! Let me save you from this experiment! Right after I go choke these foodie dudes to death with a set of circular knitting needles.

Because what happens is that the meat bubbles along in the water, and it looks nasty-ass and foamy, but you think, ok, you’re essentially par-boiling meat, it’s going to do that, it’s MAGIC, remember, and then? The water cooks off and you don’t just float into nice-and-crispy with a Zoey Deschanel ‘I’m-so-twee’ skipping move, no, my friends, you now see the fat start to render and cook off the bacon. Which is what bacon does in a frying pan. But what did we have in the pan already? Yes? Are we following? WE HAD WATER. Have you ever accidentally gotten something with too much moisture into hot oil before, have you? Do you know what happens?

BURNING HOT FAT EXPLOSIONS is what happens, that’s what. Good thing I didn’t do any tours of duty or it would have been ALLLLLLL torn up in there, what with the spattering cracks of pain and PTSD and the flashbacks and the napalm and the screams.

And, because your meat has absorbed water at varying levels, you will now balance hot burning fat explosions with the fact that parts of your bacon are charring while other parts are looking like parboiled rubbery white fat. So you try to hold the over-cooked parts out of the pan with your tongs, while the blubber tries to catch up, and you dodge esplodyness of epic proportions.

NOT FUN. Bacon, we used to be good friends. I know it’s not your fault. It’s the endless pursuit of foodiness and trying new things, but I’m never going to do it again and Andrew and Dan better never pop out into a back alley to get a quick smoke, because I’m going to be waiting. And maybe not with knitting needles. With a pan of hot bacon fat. We’ll all have matching arm scars!

Busy News Day

Good News: Most of the recycling had already been taken out by my husband, leaving me with one bag of trash and some recycling I had in my car.

Bad News: Asshole people walking their dog(s) didn’t pick up their dog’s shit, which I squarely stepped in, as I took out the trash.

Buried News: I did not notice I had done this.

News with Foreshadowing: I returned to my car, and as I started to drive to work, I thought I smelled something. Something very bad. Very very very bad. My brain puzzled perhaps it was a skunk. The one part of my brain that was apparently functioning on all cylinders puzzled back why we hadn’t smelled it when depositing the trash.

Newsflash: Shit on my shoe. Had to be. Oh god, there’s a big leaf also stuck, and it can only be one thing gluing that to my shoe: shit. Shit shit shit shit shit shit.

Feature News Piece: I am driving, and it’s trash day. There are people out and about, and I hang a sharp right into the northern part of our neighborhood, desperately looking for a spot to pull over, exit my vehicle and rectify this HORRIBLE SITUATION. I didn’t want to pull in to a driveway, and I needed to pull over, but not in front of a house where a car was in the driveway, or where someone was walking out to put out their trash. Commence mouth-breathing. Drive by friend’s house, discover I have not gone this way in a long time. Finally find a suitable spot, get out, start scraping and hopping about in a generally disgusted manner while waving arms wildly that can only be accentuated by the bell sleeves I’m wearing..

Breaking News: The beep of a car horn sounds behind me. Oh fuck, what now? Oh hai. It’s my friend Robyn, with her daughter. They slow and ask if I’m ok. (of course I’m ok. but I’m NOT ok, oh, lord.) I stammered something about dog shit and bodily harm to those who don’t clean up after their animals and after determining I was only crazy in the sense I’m always crazy, they went on their way. I grabbed Wet Wipes from the back seat, and attacked my shoe, as well as the pedals. GAH.

Slow News Day: Arriving at work, I could only splutter. I then spent ten minutes washing my shoe, five more minutes washing my hands, and went on with my day.

Headline of the Day: Sushi lunch. Yum.

Leisure News: Get out of work a bit early, come home, turn on television, and five minutes later, something is definitely wrong with the tv.

Bad News: The tv is fucked. Internet search turns up a common problem. Holiday tomorrow, no options.

Good News: Said tv was purchased from CostCo, prior to the change in their television return policy. Locate scanned receipt. Note to self, somewhat smugly, this is why giant box has been in storage. Call store and get confirmation that television is, indeed, returnable for a full refund.

News Wrap-Up: Collapse in heap. Revive, pull out tiny flat screen tv and hook up to various components. Band-aid, at best, but it will do. And a whole lot better than the dog a-poopeh on mah shoe.

New Day, New Decade

We spent last week, and much of the weekend, watching many of the programs dedicated to the memory of 9/11.

I spent a lot of time in tears, and despite that sadness, the explanation I have for that choice is simple. I feel, as a citizen of this country, that it is my duty to know as much as possible about what happened that day, and to never forget it.

Because here, in flyover country, that day was as blue as the skies in Manhattan.

And as I drove to work, listening to the DJs in confusion and not having anything visual to go on, I just kept  yelling, “WHAT IS GOING ON?” which probably sums up how most of America felt that day.

When the first tower fell, I was sitting in our conference room. My mind went blank and all I could think was, “All those people.” I started to cry. Nobody else was crying. I still don’t understand that, everyone around me was silent and stoney-faced.  Maybe it was the horror, the shock, just being in the workplace – but none of it was a barrier for me. I went to my office, shut the door, tried to call my friend still living in Manhattan. All the lines were down. (He was fine, I found out later.)

So I called my father. The man who always had an idea, a solution, greater knowledge of the world and what to do. This would be the only time in my life with him that he didn’t have an answer. “Why is this happening? What is going on?” I could see  him shaking his head as he told me he just didn’t know, that it was terrible and awful. Things we both knew, small words that couldn’t capture the enormity of it all.

I left work, listening now to reports that our president was flying all over the country, and I was angry. One of the shows we watched last week was on NatGeo, and it was an hour, interviewing George W. about that day, and despite my feelings about his politics in general, it was an excellent show. It really explained the chronology of events, how information was being gathered, how that day unfolded, how even our government was in shock, reacting, doing everything possible to keep our president out of harm’s way, while trying to prevent more of the same from happening.

Later that afternoon, I called James. We had been dating for two years. He still lived in Clinton. He described walking out onto the playground and looking up at the sky, seeing all the hairpin vapour trails from the planes that had left MCI, and then turned back around, grounded. Hearing the fighter jets take their place, departing out of Whiteman AFB.

For the rest of the night, I watched the news, horrified but unable to turn away. Also, unable to knit, I could only wind yarn. I still haven’t worked on that project, but for the first time, I think I can again.

Ten years later, all I’ve got is this: Love, Solidarity & Wisdom. They all came with a painful price tag.

Matching Crazy for Crazy

Since I’m at home all day, I get to see things firsthand, not hear about them after the fact. You know, it’s like “24”, and I’m Kiefer Sutherland, and all events are in REAL TIME.  Yesterday was Delayed Garbage Day, due to the holiday on Monday, and the Wo is in charge of trash. I had taken advantage of the nice weather and wheeled out a huge bin of recycling the evening before, but we never put the trash out earlier than possible, since Feral Cat City across the way will destroy it in their efforts to find things to eat. We hadn’t had problems the past few weeks, but all of that changed. Just like the weather had. So my head actually exploded – yep, brain matter, bright spots of blood everywhere – when I looked out the window and saw this after the garbage trucks had been by:

Thanks, feral cats.

Granted, I was livid before I even went out the door. And I did grab my iTouch, along with plastic gloves, a huge trash bag and a scoop shovel, just so I could capture the moment for posterity.  But the weather did nothing to improve things, as I was pelted with sleet and rain, and my jeans were sopping wet from the ankles down due to puddles. It occurred to me, as I lost my temper and may have shouted a few things out loud at the sky, that I was now matching Crazy Cat Lady, toe to toe, as I swore and punched the sky and invited her to come over and help me, since she maintains the presence of these feral creatures by feeding them. I think I saw some curtains move, and I wondered what I would do if she actually DID come out, because I knew it wouldn’t be to help, but to screech at me about her poor starving kitties (that she doesn’t REALLY care for, or even bother to collar, since you can’t come near one.) That would have been an interesting blog post, for sure – and in my dream version, the rain and sleet would be augmented by the fire hydrant between our homes spraying into the air, and despite my personal dislike for him, I would play the role made famous by Mel Gibson, and Crazy Cat Lady would, of course, pick up the part played by Gary Busey, and we would end this Battle Royale once and for all. (Yes, Carmen, you can show up and play the role of Murtough.)

A Girl can dream.

The (Self-Appointed) Spelling and Grammar Police Are Having A Week.

I don’t claim to have perfect grammar, spelling, or even spectacular sentence structure. I do, however, make every effort to use correct spelling and proper grammar, and I try to limit the number of sentences I start with the word “so”, as that is a particular weakness of mine.

This week has been a bit crazy, hectic, stressful, you name it – but I have been provoked twice now to actually yell at the television because of spelling and grammar. The Fox 4 morning news crew are a fun bunch, but a couple of them just cannot get the proper use of the word “good” versus “well”. I finally had to post on their Facebook page because I just couldn’t take it anymore. Don Harmon, the weatherman, had just finished saying “Slow..ly. Slowly. I think that’s right.” And then Mark Alford responded with something like, “It’s going good out there.”  My post:

Way to go, Don, properly identifying adverbs! (slow-LY!) You are correct!
Next, let’s get Mark telling the world things are going WELL instead of
‘good’, since that is not proper grammar and it makes me yell at him.
Thanks!

To his credit, Mark actually responded with humor, saying “im well with that!” I may have to go down there with a ruler and rap some knuckles. Actually, it would be rather fun to have a paintball gun and every time an egregious grammatical mistake is uttered, KAPOW! I would also shout what they should have said, since I’m quite good at that already.  The traffic guy should be very afraid if this comes to fruition.

Which brings me to this morning, when KSHB (NBC)  flashed up two different slides (the typed-up cards on their template background that accompany the anchors while they’re talking) with horrid typos. The first one was about the new television season, and that production had “haulted” on a show. Uh, wtf is that? You can haul things, but you don’t hault them. Then, THEN, the next story was about – wait for it – BOAL GAMES. This is not the closed-captioning system translating, this is someone typing it in for the day’s stories. Seriously, I think six-year olds know how to spell “bowl”.

I think what bugs me in all of this is that even though I don’t hold my local media outlets to the standards I would hold, say, the New York Times, I do expect a certain amount of accuracy and I expect a whole lot of proper grammar. This isn’t a reality tv show, this is the news. Manufactured, selective, tilted at times, sensationalist most of the time, but you are still THE NEWS. And in ignoring grammar and spelling, it feels like we are moving yet another ten paces closer to accepting an unacceptable level of national stupidity. Why not just start typing it all in phone-texting style? Hell, start doing shots of Jager during the news, why wear a tie, or a nice pantsuit (Katie Horner, I’m lookin’ at you), just wear swimsuits or dress like the cast of Jersey Shore? Talk smack, talk trash, why have standards at all? Editorialize while you’re at it!

Nevermind me, I’ll still be getting my real news from NPR. I have never heard Steve Inskeep say “Things are going good!” And I’m GREAT with that.

How To Merge

This would ordinarily count as a public service announcement, however, I may wind up cursing so much, the lesson will only remain appropriate for truckers, sailors, and Marines.

First, a message to the old man leaving Price Chopper on 103rd in your little white truck: FUCK. You. Thank you for not understanding the general concept of merging, so I was forced to hit my brakes and send my leftovers flying off my passenger seat, to leak and smear on all the papers in my bag. Fuckyouverymuch. Punching it to get out of the parking lot? I get it. Getting into the middle lane and pulling into my lane while there was still room? That’s awesome. Except you didn’t do that, did you. You went below the speed limit and made like you were coming over, then went back into the middle lane, then came back over again, as I was wildly gesturing and screaming at you by that point and sending all my belongings on to the floor of my car.  I got to play the “Is he coming over? Is he waiting? He isn’t going a consistent speed? I am? But now I’m not, as I don’t want to wreck my car?” game.  And, for the record, I was going below the speed limit. I got to come home and scrub things, after calling you numerous, colorful terms that would have made even George Carlin pause and look at me in admiration. Have a splendid evening, douchecanoe.

Merging. I have witnessed this problematic element of driving quite often of late. Let me break it down for you. The whole fucking point of merging, especially when getting onto the highway, is to be TRAVELING AT THE SPEED OF TRAFFIC. This is why those goddamned red lights on the entrance ramps are the bane of my existence, even though I get the reasons behind them. This isn’t a putt-putt-putt along lane, slow way down maybe stop if it doesn’t feel right. We are not doing the goddamned double-dutch jump rope and you get to pick and choose when your feet are going in.  Get your ass going. And to all the rest of you sailing along in the right-hand lane? Get the fuck OVER. Y’all don’t seem to understand how badly I wanted a driver’s license as a child and it was denied to me. I studied the inserts Shell Oil used to run in Woman’s Day and Family Circle, using Goofy to show how to properly accelerate (imagine an egg between the pedal and the floor! Press down slowly!) I ate up every bit of information on what to do in accidents, when to use flares, how to stay safe on the road. So to say that I studied the Iowa Motor Vehicle License book would be an understatement. I absorbed it. I can still see the line drawing for merging onto the highway.

Here’s the one from the Missouri booklet, it’s quite similar:

mergemofos

This is not that hard, people. Driving isn’t a right, it’s a privilege. Let people in as they’re merging, and if you’re a merger, speed the fuck up so you’re not creating a potential 20-car fender bender and sixteen more high-blood pressure cases.

So. In case you’d like the full-blown directive from the same book, here you go:

ENTERING THE HIGHWAY
Entrance ramps are short, one-way ramps used to get on the highway. At the end of most entrance ramps is an acceleration lane. Use the ramp and acceleration lane to increase your speed to match the speed of the vehicles on the highway.

As you are speeding up, watch for an opening in the highway traffic. Switch on your turn signal, and pull smoothly into the traffic. DO NOT stop at the end of an acceleration lane unless traffic is very heavy and you have to stop.

Drivers already on the highway should give you room to enter, but if they don’t, DO NOT force your way onto the highway. You must yield the right-of-way to them, even if that means stopping at the end of an acceleration lane.

Namaste, motherfuckers.

C’mon, Fall!

I don’t know about you, but I am ready for cooler weather.

wreath
Apple cider and hot tea, soups and stews bubbling on the stove.

Knitting that can pile up in your lap and you’re happy for the warmth.

The smell of fallen leaves, the wind bringing a whiff of smoke from a neighbor’s chimney, the cool dampness that follows a rainstorm as the leaves begin to decompose.

Ward Parkway (edited)

The taste of warm caramel, a sip of hot chocolate. Maybe homemade pie.

Best Apple Pie, Ever

Hand-knit socks and layers.

Warm Toes!

It’s going to stay in the upper 80’s (and hit 90′ today) this whole week, and I’m being selfish, I want the whole season, not a fast-forward slide into winter. Hurry up Fall. We’re waiting!

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