Sunday, October 30, 2011

I just read this article - Pro-life's new tactics - on Even more than the House passage of  the "Protect Life Act" this creates second class citizenship for women.  Both pro-life and pro-choice women should be concerned about the loss of personal decision-making about their bodies and their health.  To criminalize women for making decisions about their own bodies and health care is that slippery slope that we really shouldn't start down regardless of where you stand on the abortion debate.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Just finished watching the only "chick flick" Halloween movie ever made - Practical Magic.  Based on a story by Alice Hoffman, it is a story of family love, the family of women, and has a good spooky component. I read the book a number of years ago and was surprised that I liked it. I'd not watched the movie until tonight.  Make this your Halloween treat.

Practical Magic on Netflix Instant viewing.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

OK, I'll admit it

I love reading "chick lit".  No, not romance novels, but I do enjoy Elizabeth Berg, Susan Isaacs, Marisa de los Santos.  You know, the "older woman's chick lit" genre.  But I try to intersperse some more "redeeming" books in between.  Currently I'm reading "Desert Queen:  The Extraordinary Life of Gertrude Bell:  Adventurer, Advisor to Kings, Ally of Lawrence of Arabia" by Janet Wallach. So the title is long and so is the book but it is absolutely fascinating.  I had no idea when I started reading this for my book club that I would be mesmerized both by her and by the history it contains. 

She was a Victorian era woman who both followed and defied the conventions of the times.  Headstrong, and occasionally (no, more than occasionally) annoying, she had a amazing knowledge and understanding of the culture and politics of the Middle East and was integral to the creation of modern day Iraq.   This book provides the historical perspective on why countries were created (oil was clearly the big issue then as it is now), how leaders were chosen, and why we are continuing to fight wars that were started hundreds of years ago.  I recommend it.  You'll impress your friends, enjoy a good read, and get more history of the Middle East than I ever got in school. I think you'll also end up depressed as it is clear that the path we are pursuing in the Middle East is not going to solve anything. 

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Windy beach.  It was hard to hold the camera still.  Waves weren't too high and the sand was too damp to be blowing and stinging your legs. There were just a couple of families walking on the beach and trying to salvage their vacation.  I might walk back down to the beach later if the rain holds off.
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Arrived at the beach yesterday to  forecast of tropical storm-ish weather.  Can't call it a tropical storm since it has no name, much like the almost-hurricane that hit a couple of weeks ago and from which the area is still recovering. But I actually love the stormy days at the beach. This morning is starting as grey, steely, and very breezy.  Warm, humid air streams through all the open windows. The reflection of the sky in the river is a clear grey.  Everything seems very still, despite the wind.

I need to get moving and get to the grocery store, the library, and run my errands before the storm hits this afternoon.  I've considered spending the time painting the cabinets in the bathroom as they are definitely showing their age.  I may stop by Ace Hardware and see if I can find a good color.  It would mean that I'd need to use the air conditioning as nothing would ever dry in this humidity.  I'm sitting here with  sheen of perspiration for that "glow" that you hear about in the South.  I'm one of the only people on earth that likes humidity.

I've had my breakfast, picked up the house, and need to get moving for the day instead of looking out at the river where it seems like a still-life except for the tops of the trees blowing.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Maybe we should re-read "The Handmaid's Tale"

When I read this article in the Huffington Post (House Republicans Attack Women's Health Again) on the recent House of Representatives passage of H.R. 358 restricting women's right to an abortion even to save her life, I immediately flashed back to Margaret Atwood's "The Handmaid's Tale".  I recalled that it was about the subjugation of women by religious men and that at the time I read it I found it terrifying and totally believable.  I looked up its plot summary to refresh my memory and found this on Wikipedia:

The Handmaid's Tale is set in the near future in the Republic of Gilead, a country formed within the borders of what was formerly the United States of America. It was founded by a racist, male chauvinist, nativist, theocratic-organized military coup as an ideologically driven response to the pervasive ecological, physical and social degradation of the country.
Beginning with a staged terrorist attack (blamed on Islamic extremist terrorists) that kills the President and most of Congress, a movement calling itself the "Sons of Jacob" launched a revolution and suspended the United States Constitution under the pretext of restoring order.
Taking advantage of electronic banking, they were quickly able to freeze the assets of all women and other "undesirables" in the country, stripping them of their rights. The new theocratic military dictatorship, styled "The Republic of Gilead", moved quickly to consolidate its power and reorganize society along a new militarized, hierarchical, compulsorily Christian regime of Old Testament-inspired social and religious orthodoxy among its newly created social classes.
It appears that Ms Atwood may have been prescient.  We should all be terrified.

Monday, October 03, 2011

Do I know where the crowbar is?

Today is housecleaning day.  I've read all of the housecleaning websites and know that you clean from the top down.  In my pre-retirement life I just cleaned in any old order and occasionally (more than occasionally to tell the truth) skipped steps and only cleaned the things that were visibly dirty.  But my bedroom was visibly dirty in all corners.  How do we generate so much DUST? 

So, I've now cleaned all the corners of cobwebs, I've dusted all furniture, I've wiped down all baseboards, I've "swiffered" all wooden floors (including removing all stuff from under the bed!), and it is time to vacuum the carpets on each side of the bed. 

I go downstairs to the small closet that contains the vacuum cleaners and I pull on the knob.  Nothing happens.  I pull harder on the small double door that doesn't even have a lock on it and just pushes together in the middle.  Nothing happens.  I  beat on one side of the door hoping to knock loose the strangle hold it has on the other side of the door.  Nothing.  Apparently our recent humid weather has now permanently swollen the doors and they have become one giant immovable sheet of painted wood.

And my vacuum is stuck inside......  Next step is to rummage through the garage for the "wonderbar" to pry the doors loose.  This may not end well.  I once ripped the door off of my oven when I was trying to clean it. I have a bad history when trying to "fix" things......