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projects.

21 November 2009
tags:

i may be just a little crazy.  why?  because i’m taking on projects when i should be doing nothing but reading.  but i stitch during church.  and i do need an occasional t.v. break.  so here are a few projects i’m planning on in the next month or two:

for my baby C:

head bands for my nieces:

for my sister J, in gold:


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winter.

19 November 2009
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i live in the wrong place.  you see, i love winter.  i love cozy sweaters and wearing socks.  i love long walks through falling snow.  i love waking up to a world freshly blanketed in snow–there’s nothing like the silence of that moment.  i love hot drinks and crackling fires.  i love scarves and jackets and gloves.  there’s really nothing about winter that i do not like.  yet i live in southern california.  and my sisters, who both hate the snow, live in utah and upstate new york.

this year i’ll get my dose of winter when i travel east for christmas.  and i hope it comes with lots of snow, complete with a snowman and maybe even a snowball fight.  just four short weeks and i’ll be there, in the land of winter.  yay!!

disco.

18 November 2009

today it’s only wednesday.  and it’s been a long, yucky wednesday.  so i’m going to go to bed and sleep.  but first i thought i’d show you what has me plugging along this week:

come sunday, i’ll be hanging ornaments (including several disco balls) and stringing lights and playing the first christmas music of the season.  and that, my friends, makes it okay that i had a long, yucky wednesday.

excuses.

17 November 2009

i’ve been sitting here thinking about what to write about.  but the problem is that i got irritated by a man who i *know* to be an ass (which means i really shouldn’t let him irritate me), so instead of coming up with something to write about for today i’ve just been stewing.  

so i’m not writing tonight.  back to it tomorrow.

lose.

16 November 2009
tags:

in the last year, i’ve gained nearly thirty pounds.  i think that surprises people when i tell them.  because i’m tall and have a fairly well-proportioned figure, i carry the weight pretty well.  but it’s still there.  and i can’t wear most of my clothes.  i have exactly two pair of pants and three skirts that fit.  true, i can squeeze into a few other items, but not many.  and that is why i need to lose at least fifteen pounds (though i’d really like to lose all thirty).  because i simply cannot afford to buy a new wardrobe.

the only question is how.  i’ve never had to really think about losing weight before.  the only time i lost any significant amount, it just sort of happened when my lifestyle changed a bit.  this time, it’s going to take some concerted effort.  so here’s what i’m going to do:

  • slimfast for breakfast.  because a friend used it a few years ago and it worked for her.  so i’m willing to ignore the questionable taste and try it.
  • exercising at least three times a week.  i should really try to workout daily, but i know myself well enough to know that is highly unlikely.  i figure having a more realistic goal will not only make it more achievable, but also less likely to result in guilt, which usually triggers a defeatist attitude and the subsequent indulgence in sweets.  yeah.  i want to avoid that scenario.
  • in addition to working out, i’m going to try to walk more often.  i think the fact that i walked thirty minutes a day helped me lose the weight the last time.
  • cutting down on portion sizes.  i don’t much buy into fad diets that stress cutting carbs or just sugar or purges or what have you.  but i do think that cutting portion sizes can go a long way.
  • cutting down on sugar intake.  i won’t cut it altogether.  i like sweets.  and i’ll occasionally eat them.  but no more snacking on candy bars from the college vending machine or making a side trip to get a cupcake.  
  • cutting down on fast food.  it’s just too easy to run through a drive through to grab a quick bite to eat.  this will be easier since i’m relatively poor and fast food adds up quickly.  it’s much cheaper to just buy the groceries and cook.  
so there you have it.  my plan.  hopefully it will produce results and i’ll be able to wear my jeans again.  and all my cute skirts.  and hopefully the slimfast will become more palatable.  this morning i drank the “french vanilla” (in quotes because it tasted neither french nor vanilla) with a diet coke chaser.

post-gender.

15 November 2009
in the introduction to the most recent edition of the feminine mystiquebetty friedan argues that women’s progress will essentially halt until our society makes changes in men’s gender roles.  i couldn’t agree more.  but i’d like to focus my discussion of male gender roles on the possibility of women’s happiness, just for a moment.


recently, mfranti over at feminist Mormon housewives called attention to a little article in the mormon times which begins by asserting that feminism tacitly implies “that in order for women to have worth they had to be just like men” and ends with the pithy statement that “it’s interesting, important stuff, feminism, i’m just not sure why anybody ever believed it was the ticket to happiness.”  let’s start with these two lovely points and work from there.  first, i–a staunch (some would say flaming), long-time feminist–i have no desire to be “just like men.”  i’m a woman, thank you very much.  and i’m perfectly happy being a woman, even if i engage in a little gender bending on occasion.  feminism has never claimed that women will only have worth if they’re just like men, even if it has claimed for women the same rights men have.  perhaps this subtle distinction is lost on palmer.  and then there’s the question of feminism and happiness.  i’m not sure anyone has ever claimed that feminism was a “ticket to happiness,” either, though i’m sure most feminists would argue that feminism has very clearly allowed for more equal access to things that generate happiness.  but more on that in a moment.


aside from earning my scorn for its rather superficial and inaccurate treatment of feminism, palmer’s article got me thinking about the question of having it all.  contemplating the question of why it is, after 40 years of feminism, women are reportedly unhappy, palmer proposes that said unhappiness “is a product of the crashing reality that, no matter what we may have heard, and despite all our options, we still can’t have it all. No matter what we choose, it will inescapably come at the cost of something else.”  now, i’m not going to argue with the fact that making choices involves cost.  if i choose to work full time, i clearly will not be with my (hypothetical) children full time and vice versa.  but i maintain that there is a way for women to have it all–including happiness.  and that’s where men’s gender roles come in.


i’ll pause a moment for the head-scratching.





and to continue.  so what does women’s happiness have to do with male gender roles?  everything.  in a recent article examining gender roles in the workplace in the american prospect, courtney martin argues that “we have to stop using ‘work/life balance’ as coded language for ‘working-mom stress.’ despite ample evidence that men are served by investing more time and energy outside the workplace and ‘coming out’ as fathers while in it, there are very few men who are taking on this issue in a substantive, political way.”  according to martin (and i agree with her), questions of balancing the demands of work and the demands of life have too often been framed in terms of women’s needs, which ignores that men, too, are human beings with lives outside of the workplace.  so long as we equate masculinity with earning capacity and the ability to provide (coughcough–i’m looking at you, mormons), we’ll perpetuate a situation in which women (even working women) carry the burden of making the home function while men just fund it. (aside: i know this is changing because i’ve witnessed it; part of the change is simply generational; but part of the change also needs to be conscious and proactive on the part of both men and women.)


but this brings me to a point martin made in another recent piece in the american prospect: it’s not enough for us to identify what men should not (and, if my experience is in any way indicative, do not) want to be.  we (and by “we” i mostly mean men) need to develop a positive image of what a progressive, enlightened, post-gender man is.  it’s not enough to want to get rid of machismo and entitlement and patriarchy; we need to have some sense of what will take their place.


it’s tempting to simply say that men should be free to be themselves.  but is that enough?  simple freedom?  is that what the feminist movement earned for women?  in some ways yes.  we’re now free to educate ourselves and earn for ourselves and become what we want to be.  we’re free to make the attempt at having it all, while accepting the costs that come with it.  perhaps the answer is that we need to open to men what has been traditionally available to women: nurturing, educating, caring for children; maintaining and designing and operating a peaceful, productive living environment; being the primary caregiver rather than the primary breadwinner.  these things need to be options for men–real options that don’t come with social condemnation attached.


perhaps most importantly we need a society in which individuals make choices for themselves about what works best for themselves in their own individual circumstances.  if we can reach a place where both women AND men AS INDIVIDUALS are free of gender constraints, i have no doubt that we can have it all and happiness, too.  because, as martin points out, “neither heterosexuality nor fatherhood is a prerequisite for wanting a more flexible, healthy workplace. anyone who hopes to be a balanced person with relationships and passions outside of work has a stake”–specifically a stake in policy issues that allow for balancing all of the demands of life, not just those of work.


in my mind this will take two radical (radical, as in ‘of roots’ implying a return to roots) changes (especially radical for mormons): 1. the breakdown of traditional male gender roles; and 2. seeing people as individuals first rather than members of a couple.  perhaps i’ll leave you there, with the intention of following up on number two another time.  thoughts?

sir.

14 November 2009

yesterday i buzzed my head again.  i was trying to wait until january so my sister could see my curls again when i go visit next month.  but i just couldn’t handle the maintenance anymore.  and i didn’t have the money for a real haircut.  so it was a set of clippers with a #2 comb, my friend C, her baby A on my lap, and her three-year-old E throwing a temper tantrum with periodic breaks for conversation.  she was a saint to take the time to do it for me.  and now i have my edgy, gender-bending cut back.  i wonder how long it will take for someone to call me sir…

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