Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Adulteress - rewriting history

Just finished what I would term a super light summer read "Scarlett Letter Society" which weirdly enough posed a lot of deep questions.  The basic premise is that this group of friends get together and read books about famous adulteresses and they are also all ones themselves.  I am not going to give it away but some are only so in their heads. 

To me the best part of the book was the discussions on the books that were about adultery, which they often did not read - in each one the men usually get off fairly unscathed and the women let's see;

Gets to wear the letter A on their chests and are an outcast - poor Hester (Scarlet Letter)
Loses everything must throw self under train - Bye Anna (Anna Karenina) 
Kills herself - rip Mme Bovary
Gets STD - really Judy Blume even you who so well treats growing young women until Wifey

If you go through modern or classical literature this is pretty much always the theme - woman is in a marriage or relationship that is not satisfying her emotionally or sexually (ooh I know women actually may like sex - break out my red J) finds that satisfaction elsewhere - the end of her life as we know it.  It annoys the women in the book and it sure annoys me too.   All except maybe for Fear of Flying which they also read  - I read that for a college class, personally did not love it found it bit dull then but then again in college I was reading Stephen King and Jackie Collins (judge me not it was easy between classes and having to study).

It got me thinking of re-reading some classics and about the fact that even in our more "modern" societies we still do not want to hear about women's physical desires - without punishment. Even our newly bazillion books sold Fifty Shades of Grey trilogy is about a virgin and lucky for her he came along.. seriously?!! 

Now I am not advocating that all women go out and get lovers but I am going to say as a woman and as a mother of boys at some point we need to let our children know that their bodies and the pleasure they get from them as they get to be adults are are important to nurture as their emotional well being. That if we start to treat women not as breeders whose bodies people try to regulate by laws but as people who make good and bad choices based on their needs, ooh radical kind of like men do, then it can only help our societies become more equal and thrive.  

So let's write slightly different endings to the above books;

Hester - starts own clothing line of monogramed shirts - the letter can be your name or the thing you desire - is super successful - throws over Puritan fundamentalists -- becomes famous fair trade company that still exists - starts minimum wage and 3 day weekends that will define the US 
Anna - takes that train and leaves it all behind to go to another city where she successfully meets a new lover who is also a judge and gets her son back for her for joint custody with her husband, who then has to have monitored visits since he cannot stop bad mouthing Ana and is seen as unstable influence on child.  She then meets Trotsky and they come to power instead of Lenin and eventually they create a Sweden like socialism instead of what it was 
Emma Bovary - is taken in by a church in town where kindly nuns teach her how to become a doctor herself - starts Doctors without Borders and has lot of lovers all over the place - never remarries
Sandy (Wifey) - has lover wear condom, misses STD and leaves dentist husband to become dentist herself - after many condom wearing relationships finds one man who actually does not bore her and marries him  - heads Dentists without Borders 

Let us empower women to be ok with who they are, not feel badly for what they want and ensure their partners give it to them equally to what they provide to them.  More sex and less violence .. now that is a novel. 

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

The Splitter

Bet so many people will think different things seeing the title and then wonder at the picture.  Some will think of a gymnast who does splits well, some maybe an ax or something else that cuts wood, a type of baseball pitch, the person who got between you and your honey.  All valid none accurate for what I am thinking of.

I saw a movie a while ago, which I had to buy the soundtrack for (love good soundtracks but especially really good ones that were original music), called Begin Again.  The movie basically is about how the music business is more business than music, I know eye roll duh who doesn't know that - I think artists keep hoping it isn't, and this young girl who came over with her boyfriend from the UK to the States as he starts his meteoric rise.  Predictably he goes on tour and of course he succumbs to the adoration.  She is a song writer and meets a label owner who is a drunk, a basic fuck up but who knows his stuff.  Movie is not rocket science but I will not give away the parts that were not predicatble - they are worth seeing and trust me the soundtrack is good.  You will walk away feeling slightly giddy and how many movies these days can claim that?!

In one scene the girl and the label guy are walking around the city and he convinces her to let him listen to the music on her iphone as they do this.  Woahhhh said I watching it - that is intimate.  I know they are fully clothed and it is not a sex scene but for me she may have as well stripped in the middle of the city.  I have a lot, okay a lot I know I spend money on books and music am so over having to explain to anyone why this is not a bad thing because if you ask the question you cannot possibly understand those of us who find these things essentials to our well being.  I have a lot of music on there - much of it transferred from my cds, other bought as MP3s.

So for me to share this with someone as they scroll through the music well that really is as intimidating as that first time you have to take your clothes off in front of someone.  You know the moment after the kissing takes a break.  He is there (or she or both I do not judge), maybe lying back on the bed.  You have known each other for a bit (defined by you of course as hours or weeks or whatever), enough of a bit that not only are you about to fool around, you are (am so thinking men do not think this much at that moment but I know women do) wondering did I wear the matching panties bra set, is the lighting ok, goodness how long can I hold my breath and really is there no invisible giant vacuum that I could have in back of me to make me look total taut, why is he looking so intently (my understanding from the male friends I have is they usually are thinking through all that - umm get undressed already cause I am so happy to score)?  That is how I feel if someone wanted to look at my song list.  This is because 1) you would only get that close if I felt that intimate with you 2) much like the other scenario it could be firework awesome and we could love the same ones, have you nod your head impressed at some, ask me about others and laugh out loud at the bad choices or you could be too quick a glancer no real interest like a premature dismisser or worse make a snarky remark not understanding that at some point I danced and still will sing along to Ace of Base.  

So what is a splitter - it is a small device you plug into your listening device of choice and you can have 2 people plug their headphones into it.  I picture myself either in the city enjoying the walk and the people and the laughter of trying to not be separated or the beach sitting next to one another, smell of the ocean in front of us, sand at our feet, reading books and connected by a splitter - like a little life line.  I got flushed just thinking of it.  Take a look at your playlists and song choices and then who would you share your splitter with ????

Raising Independent Kids

Let's start with I do not know where you grew up but where I grew up in the late 70s and 80s in NYC times were NOT safer.   The crime rate for a while was out of control, the city was falling apart, there were garbage strikes where I remember the nasty rats having feasts, crack and AIDS .. ok you got it - yes it was that bad graffiti subway laden thing you see in movies but with some "special" odors for effect.

It was the time when we cheered on vigilantes and supported groups like the Guardian Angels because at least someone seemed to not be overwhelmed into fear of the crime that was happening.

Ok got the picture - if you didn't Serpico/Death Wish/Sat Night Fever are all excellent movies for you to watch or read Bonfire of the Vanities.  Now amid this we had parents that loved us a lot.  I mean a lot.  I also, total dork alert, looked it up kidnappings/child kind were higher then and sexual abuse occurred.  So unto this those of us who lived in NYC or any place like it were left to run outside.  There were no play dates, my mother and father worked and basically I had to come home when the streetlights came on.  I wandered these streets a lot as a kid, to parks, my friends' homes, to public pools, alley ways (as I got older) and even into the city (it's a NY thing if you live in a borough Manhattan is the city) on the train (same it's a subway) with friends at really young ages.

We knew it was nasty - and I as I got older I knew it was dangerous - but I still wander as far as the curfew let me.  My friends and I got home, often to empty apartments, and took care of a snack, doing our homework, watching some tv.  We had lists of chores for both our days off and daily.  We did them, often unsupervised.   I knew how to go to the bank at like 12 years old and deposit money for my parents - those days before ATMs when you had to plan on when to go during the week to get and deposit money before the weekend.

It is partially my nature but it is also this experience, shared by many, that makes me independent and very self reliant.  I got my own apartment, understood alternate side of the street parking and can negotiate a subway system in almost any part of the world.  I wonder what kind of children we are raising at times.  We have become hyper-vigilant, not because statistically it is merited but because the media and internet coverage has to some degree caused hysteria where there should be awareness. For the most part, and do not let publishers sell you on how this is a US way only I talk to friends in other places and it is global, we manage our children's lives in a way that the President of the US's personal admin could use as a guide.  We have started to believe that we are not only our child's advocates but many think they are now doctors, educators, psychiatrists and know better because we have access to some random information on the net.  We want to partner with the education system from the day it is Music Together to the point where some want to help with the job interview process.  That is partner not just listen and understand that these professions and professionals know more than us, unless we too are in them, and to ask questions but partner as in equal at the table.

Our children have access to an amazing amount of information and technology yet because we are so ingrained we monitor that to CIA level tactics.  They make no plans that we are not aware of or somehow a part of.  They do not know many times how to entertain themselves because should they come to us with "I'm bored" or "I don't want to play what little friend who I have over does" too often I see us trying to fill that void.

Now some of this is good parenting and all of it is parents who are trying to do the best they can.  The technology is a friend and foe and should be handled correctly.  Though lately I am trying to see how to help my children identify dangers more themselves (ok with some spying - get over it).  I have recently wanted to have my kids manage more of their own time - I mean if you do not get your homework done then it's not just about me but you lose recess.  The boredom thing I am over - if you are bored it is good, life will be boring and you should learn how to embrace down time.  My almost 11 year old has been encouraged to make his own plans with friends and then just check in to make sure it works with me.

We do this because as parents we want the world to be safe, it is not, and caring, it can be or can be brutal, and most of all because we want it all to go smoothly for our children.  Our kids though will not have lives like that and much like we did you hope that the bad things they encounter or chose to do are life lessons they can bounce back from.  I am working on making them see the potholes and then knowing how to swerve around them rather than rushing ahead of  it to pave it.  This is not to say our parents did not worry but they did us a great service in our ability to get it done for ourselves.  The children of today will need to know how to forge new relationships, seek out information in a work setting and basically not look to someone to get what they need but know instead they need to look to themselves to get it done.  I am working on this myself because as a parent there is also great pressure to make sure that my kids are safe and protected in a world that can be rougher than even adults to can handle.  My goal is to have kids who are independent because that will make them great contributors to society in whatever they chose to do - as long as I have helped them know that they are responsible for the choices.

Friday, May 8, 2015

The Sister Wife Club

Mother's Day week so worthy of being a 2 blog week.  

Of all the things that I have discovered about being a mother, total all engulfing love/patience/yelling at my kids/repeating some of the things my parents did and carefully avoiding others and so on, the biggest surprise for me has been the Sister Wife club.

To start I love that we took a misogynistic concept where women, and much too young girls, are given no choice and put together as wives to serve some man are termed Sister Wives and turned it on it's ass.  We own it now and boy that would make those men shudder .. yes!!! 

The Sister Wife club is essential in my life as it is in the lives of my fellow Sister Wives.  It is about the sisterhood created in this town for our children and for ourselves.  It is the way we split up responsibilities - you take the kids to baseball because I can't get there in time from work and you work from home and I will drive them after practice ends.  It is one of us gets sick or hurt and the others don't bat an eye at offering everything from driving duties to wine to get you through it.  The sisterhood comes in to offer babysitting to one another. Sometimes for a few hours and other times for an overnight or longer.   

There are the communal watches -- that's right kids one of us always knows what is going on and will take measures should you need them.  These include covering one another at the school trips some of us cannot make as we cannot take that day off and the other sister wife can and making sure we include the kids whose moms didn't make it that day of presentations into our family circle, telling the kid the mom asked us to make sure we let them know she was thinking of them.  That smile from the kids was priceless - they were not without parental representation. The sisterhood lends clothes to kids and each other. They swap or sell things to one another and have a resource for everything with a review.  

My sister wife circle, there are a few circles but they all will jump in as needed,  is made up of my friend Dori (whose kids and mine know each other as cousins by their own choice) and I cannot tell you how many times we have leaned on one another.  My other is Michele whose family we no longer envision not being on our summer vacations and who we can easily jump in for one another as needed.   I also have cousin wives like Deb who baseball would not be happening without, Anna and Karina who ensure that I have a smile on my face at any given event and will corral children with me, Jill who we rely on to balance the siblings as the small ones and big ones can have their own time but at the same time. There are my best friends Elli and Julie, who live no where near me but I know would jump at the chance to help me and have.  There is my Virtual BFF Kris who understands my need to vent at 7 am about the sock problem our children seem to share.   This town is full of them. There are my work wives who cover for me so I can leave as needed as I do for them and who have listened to me fret and who are as good at medical and educational information as any reputable website - but with a hug at the end. 

The Sister Wives are there for one another  - we support each other, we make each other laugh and most of all we enable each other to be ourselves and do for ourselves because they have our backs as we have theirs.  We don't tear each other down because life has shown us that we are much better when we are united.  We totally dress much better than the male subjugated SWs and let's face it that hairstyle becomes no one.    Happy Mother's Day to my sister wives - I love you all and love who we are when we are funny, drinking, eating, complaining and wondering how could 2 innings of little league seem like an eternity.  It has surprised me how much I need this network and how much they seem to need me too.  The Sister Wife club is all about what we need - so careful out there -- the SWs in the fundamentalist clan may look over and realize that our Sister Wife club is the one they really want to be in.


Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Adventures in the Card Aisle aka Bipolar Moments

Mother's Day is coming up - in case the numerous commercials for flowers and gifts, or your mother/the woman you made a mother/someone you think of as a mother who has left post it notes, open websites and other OBVIOUS hints have not gotten your attention - MOTHER'S DAY is coming up on Sunday.  Yes this Sunday you with the "oh crap extra $$ for rush delivery" face.

My good friend wrote a blog about funny cards that she saw in her trip to Target, I do have to say that I love that she also subtly posted pictures along with the websites of things that would say "love you Mom" to her.   I have called her from my own adventures in the Target card aisle.  As I went to find an image for this blog there were apparently a lot of us out there - just searching for that perfect way to say anything from I love you to Why are You Still Here??!!

I love a good card, the Papyrus store is a crack den for me.  Every time it is I swear this time, just this one time, I will walk in and not buy more than the one card I need, just a hit please and then I will walk away.  I walk in and small beads of sweat appear on my brow - I could always use a notebook along with the cards, yes plural cards - one is just not enough anymore the high requires more, I need to buy.  I take card buying seriously. A few people in my life get random cards from me - just because I walked in there and it was so them.  I look at the message, the pictures, the design.  Is it unique enough ?? Yes for a mass produced product.  Will the person receiving it remember the moment that the picture on the front reminded me of with them?  Is it too glib ? Too sappy? 

I have been in the middle of a relationship argument and one of those holidays required a boyfriend/husband card but I could never find one that says "No you are not my lifelong mate  because right now you're life in my head should be anything but long!".  There I stand eye rolling and ready to bitch slap the card right out of the Target aisle.  There is no card that says to a co-worker "Much like some members of my family I did not chose you but here we both are at the table near sharp objects".   My friend and I toyed with the idea of making some cards with the sarcasm we often share on the phone while in the card aisle as we "rewrite" some of them to say what we want to say for different occasions (of course we would have to dedicate our card company to the handsome, smart doctor who introduced us).  I want the card to express my feelings and yet I don't because some of those feelings will be entered into evidence if they existed and I gave them out "I love cooking for you with spices -- like belladonna".  

At other times I have found a card and it just so spoke exactly what I wanted to say - the elegant or funny or memory captured a perfect match to the person I would send it to.  I am literally giddy with the moment - I have bought cards often for the small group of friends just because I wanted them to know that they were thought of.  

So Mother's Day - of the many events you know this one has a bipolar element for all of us.  Yes even those of us with perfect relationships like the one my mother, who may read this blog per chance, and I have.  The dynamic is unique to any other relationship.  For some it is a gift and for some caustic, but for most of us at some point it may have been both.  Bipolar card shopping at it's best.  There are no cards that say can really capture it - it is perfect and awful at different times.  

If you know me and ever see me in the card aisle you may see me laugh, or be wistful, content, annoyed, perplexed, sarcasm dripping from my one raised eyebrow all in one trip  and always there for quite a while.  Oh for the PC police  -  there is also no card that says "Oh shut up" I know this is not real mental illness bipolar disorder nor do I dismiss that but it is a rollercoaster mood ride and it's mine to call what I want.  Go and buy your mother, your mother in law, the woman you made a mother or anyone who could qualify a card - sappy works ok for this group because you do not want to get a card from the one you forgot on Mother's Day that says "Sure after all I have done for you ... not even a card", that one will keep on coming like a bad flock of owls carrying a Screamer Message in Harry Potter.