What’s your favorite new TV show? I am so, so overwhelmed by too many shows I want to watch. Thank God for Hulu Plus & Netflix (and, occasionally, Amazon Instant Video). We canceled our cable service a while back, so everything I watch is either available next day on Hulu, the previous season on Netflix or, if my immediate gratification kicks in, on Amazon. Here’s what I’m into right now:
Sunday night: The Walking Dead. So far, I haven’t been able to wait, so I’ve seen the first episode for free on AMCtv.com, but had to pay for episode 2. I’m probably going to have to buy the season. I wish I was a person who could just wait. So far, this season is a whole lot of “OHMYGODOHMYGOD” I’m totally freaked by the turn it’s taken, but it’s going to be awesome. And Rick needs a big, big hug.
Monday night: The Blacklist. Dang. This is probably my new favorite show. It’s pretty well written and, James Spader. I realized recently that James Spader is an actor I’ve had a crush on for a long time (since Pretty in Pink, I think), but I haven’t wanted to admit it. He always plays one of those guys who would be just TERRIBLE for you, but there’s something about him that attracts the very damaged girl inside me. I LOVE him in this. Smooth, suave, brilliant, psychopathic, snarky. Oh, and my other favorite actor on this is Parminder Nagra. You might recognize her from ER or Bend it Like Beckham. I think she’s stunning, intelligent, strong & unexpected. And she plays a bad ass.
Sleepy Hollow. Another really good show. Ichabod Crane gets witchcrafted ahead 200 years and lands in modern-day Sleepy Hollow where the Headless Horseman has been released as the 1st Horseman of the Apocolypse. He and a modern-day detective (beautifully played by Nichole Beharie) discover they’re the 2 witnesses referenced in Revelation and have to try to stop the release of the other horsemen. Oh, and Tom Mison‘s accent is knee-weakening.
Tuesday night: Supernatural. Yeah, I became one of these. I did a major bender watching all 8 seasons a while back and then rewatching them again before the season 9 premiere. I love this show so much. Though not because I find the “Js” attractive. Because I really like the storylines, I love that they combine serious business with meta irreverence about what they’re doing. I think Jensen Ackles is hysterical, Misha Collins‘ Castiel is awesome and I just love all the other demons/angels that pop in. Crowley, Lucifer, Balthazar, Death, Abaddon, Alastair, Trickster. They all bring in so much awesome.
Wednesday night: American Horror Story: Coven. Yeah. I know. But it’s SO. GOOD. This is another one I can’t wait for, so I’ve been buying each episode on Amazon on Thursday morning. I’ve watched the 1st 2 seasons and I’m just hooked. I mean, Jessica Lange, Kathy Bates and Angela Bassett in the same scenes?? Holy schnikeys. And Patti LuPone is supposed to join at some point. I honestly don’t know if that much awesome will fit on one screen, but I’m willing to find out.
Thursday night: There’s nothing I must see. I will watch Parks & Rec, though.
Friday night: Grimm. I worked through the 1st 2 seasons and I think I like it a lot. I love the premise a lot. The acting is above average, the writing is average, but the stories are cool. I really like Monroe & Rosalee & their relationship (plus, a Fuchsbau is BEAUTIFUL) and Captain Renard grew on me. Sometimes I really like Nick and sometimes I don’t at all. But I’ll keep watching it.
And, nothing on Saturday night. I’m also catching up on Once Upon a Time. Again – the acting and writing is often trite, cliched and just plain laughable, but I love the premise. I love seeing the different interpretations of such well-known characters. Regina is pretty cool & Rumplestiltskin is awesome. Oh, and Grumpy makes me smile. I’m halfway through season 2 right now and I want to finish it before I start season 3 or the new Wonderland spin off.
I’ve never been gone this long. I know. If there’s anybody even still out there following me, you probably thought I died. Nope. Not dead. Just feeling terribly lazy, unmotivated to write, distracted by other things and before I knew it, it was October. It’s sad, but true.
I have been distracted but this time it’s been by good things. I’ve been doing a lot more crocheting and actually sold a bunch of my hats. I had a garage sale, which of course took a ridiculous amount of time & energy. And ended up not being as profitable as I’d hoped. But at least I got rid of a boatload of stuff. If only that meant my house was cleaner & more organized.
I also got sucked into Tumblr. What a time-suck that is. I would spend hours there, doing absolutely nothing of consequence, just looking at GIFs of celebrities I love, fandoms I’m part of and other random crap. I found that spending too much time there isn’t really good for me. It really ignites my obsessive side and I find myself unable to think about anything but Mads Mikkelsen, Jason Isaacs, Alan Rickman & Tom Hiddleston. Which isn’t terribly conducive to functioning in everyday life.
I’ve also been trying to better manage my depression. It comes in fits & starts and I’m fine for a while and then I’ve overcome with feeling of worthlessness and uselessness. I find myself wondering, “why bother?” I find myself dwelling on all my most negative thoughts about myself. I got my medication increased after my most recent visit to my doctor and for the most part, it’s doing a pretty good job. At the very least, I’m finding myself able to delve into what I’m feeling and try to uncover some reasons why I’m feeling that way.
One thing I’ve come to realize is that some of what I feel about myself comes from outside myself. I know I’ve talked before about how the societal image of women is so skewed & harmful. Nearly every image we see, every show we watch, every example we’re given presents the idea that the worth of a woman lies primarily in whether men find her attractive. Is she hot? Is she cute? Is she beautiful? If not, the woman has zero worth in our society. It doesn’t matter if she’s intelligent, gifted, talented, creative, industrious, hardworking, brilliant, or funny or anything. All that matters is if she’s appealing to men. It’s pervasive and disgusting.
For example, on a podcast I listen to, one of the men was talking about TV shows he’s watching and how he was watching Hostages, but switched over to The Blacklist because “Toni Collette is NOT hot. She looks like a man.” It didn’t matter at all whether she did a good job portraying the character she was hired to play, all that mattered to him was that she isn’t attractive enough to hold his attention. In fact, he was revolted by the idea of her making out with Dylan McDermott because she was not in his league. Instead, he chose the Blacklist because the female lead is “super cute”.
Another example – during press tours & panels for The Avengers, over and over and over again the male stars were asked about their characters, their motivation, the relationships between characters – all sorts of occupation-appropriate questions that addressed their skill, their talent, their intelligence. Then Scarlett Johanssen would be asked something inane about how she fit into her form-fitting costume. Nothing about how she prepared to play Natasha or the interaction between her & Hawkeye or anything about her WORK. Just about her body, how hot she is and how well she fit into her clingy suit. If you watch the interviews, when she’s not actively calling the interviewer out on their double standard, the disgust and frustration on her face is palpable
And this happens with every actress out there. Jennifer Lawrence has decided to just say, “Diet?? I don’t. That’s stupid”. Anne Hathaway gets questions like “how did you get so skinny for Fantine??” which she answers with a snarky, “I was playing someone who was DYING. I was trying to look like I was DYING. I’m not going to talk about how I made my body look like it was DYING.”Others just roll their eyes as they field another question about not eating or their fitness regime or the size of their boobs. It’s repulsive. Really repulsive.
And this is what I’m angry about. This pervasive attitude (that WAY too many women just accept and try to live up to) has created a culture that is so dangerous to women. Starting with anorexia & bulimia, moving on to rape culture & violent assault. Thousands of young girls grow up learning that being skinny, having big boobs and being hot is the ultimate goal. Even more women fight every day against the attitude that they are “less than” or “just a woman”. Women find themselves being afraid to do the things they love or just LIVING THEIR LIVES because of the fear that some man will see her as the object he’s been trained to see her as and assault her, rape her, demean her or commit some other violent act against her. I’m tired of hearing girls told “you shouldn’t have been there” or “she asked for it” when the fault lies with the person who commits the violent act. And I’m REALLY FREAKING TIRED of hearing/seeing guys respond to discussion of rape & rape culture with such pithy epithets as “she’s too ugly to be raped” or “you’ll know when it’s rape because I’ll be raping you” or any number or other “blame the victim” bullshit that’s out there. We don’t do this for any other crime. We don’t blame a mugging victim for a mugger’s actions. We don’t blame a gunshot victim for getting shot. We don’t blame a hit & run victim for “being in the wrong place”.
It’s just so pervasive. It’s everywhere. The big “song of the summer” is simply a catchy tune celebrating a woman’s inability say “no” to unwanted advances. Telling men that “no” means keep trying and women that no matter what they truly think & feel, they “really want it” and should just acquiesce to the guy who won’t get up off her. It’s all over the advertising that turns women’s bodies into objects – like beer bottles or cars or even cologne. (That last one is really, really offensive). Basically what all these (and HUNDREDS of ads like it) are teaching and reinforcing is that women are here for the pleasure of men. Women are of the same value as a bottle of beer or a car and that they are also a thing to be acquired. They don’t have feelings or worth beyond what a man needs. That women are simply boobs and butts and vaginas – and that these parts serve no other purpose than to attract men. And, of course, any woman who doesn’t look like this is not actually a woman.
I mean, I have much to recommend me. I create beautiful crochet items. I take photographs that edify and encourage young people in their endeavors as well as simply being beautiful. I create stunning and meaningful scrapbooks for my family. I have the ability to use the written word to express many, many ideas. I can sing quite amazingly. I can dance well – despite my size. Yes, I’m fat. I’m grey and beginning to noticeably droop. I am not young or firm or tight-skinned or sexy or fashionable or elegant or anything that society says would be attractive and womanly. But, despite this, I have WORTH. I am smart and striving to be smarter. I am quite funny. I am open to new ideas and even if I don’t agree with them, I’m able to respect them. I’m loyal. I’m supportive. You know what? I have worth BECAUSE of these things, not despite the things I don’t.
Honestly, I don’t know why we tolerate this. Why we don’t stand up and DEMAND to be recognized as intelligent beings whose worth does not hinge upon our looks. I know it’s hard. It’s difficult to stand up and say, “who cares if she’s hot – is she competent?” or “you know, it’s really degrading when you say that someone’s hotness or lack thereof is a dealbreaker”. Standing up to people who dismiss a woman who’s strong, powerful & intelligent as a “bitch”. Standing up to someone who sees a woman who wins a Nobel award or develops something important or creates beautiful art or tries to make a difference in the world and comments solely on their appearance. Our worth as women is not dependent on body size or shape, hair length, cup size, lip fullness, stomach flatness, thigh gap status or whether or not we can arouse a man. It’s who we ARE. It’s what we DO. It’s what we BELIEVE. It’s our hearts, our minds, our hands, our gifts. I hope this happens someday. That someday intelligent, gifted, talented, creative, industrious, hardworking, brilliant, & funny women will rise to the status they deserve. That WE deserve. Because we are only objects if we let ourselves be.
And for those of us who are mothers of sons I say this: TEACH THEM. Teach them to respect women as people, not objects. Encourage them to admire smart girls, funny girls, ambitious girls, caring girls, girls who create. Teach them that no means no – every. single. time. In fact, teach them that anything other than “yes” means no. Teach them that nothing a girl does makes it okay to have sex with her without consent. Teach them that a woman’s worth is far more than how she looks. Teach your boys to become men who are respectful of women. Always.
♫♪♪…to tell the story of how great a love can be…..? ♫♪♪ No, seriously. It’s quite a strain to have everything be reduced to a song in my brain.
It’s been so long and so much has happened, I don’t even know.
At the beginning of June, we took the first (and possibly last as Maggie graduates in 2 years) focused family vacation in forever. Yes, we went to California in January, but that was for my brother’s wedding. This was the first time we went all together, just our family, since we went to Wisconsin Dells maybe 4 or 5 years ago? And because of that, we overdid it. (What? I refuse to believe you, Christy. You are the queen of moderation and sober planning.)
We took 16 days. We decided to visit Steve’s family on the way down to Orlando – some of whom we hadn’t seen since his mother died in 2007 and one of whom I’d never met. We stopped in Kentucky to visit his aunt and cousins, Tennessee to visit his uncle and new wife and Georgia to visit his other uncle and cousins. Then we spent a week in Orlando. We went back through Tampa, Panama City, New Orleans, & Memphis. Let me just say that this amount of time & mileage is too much for 6 people to spend together uninterrupted.
So, we began by spending the first night in Owensboro. Of course, we got started late and didn’t get into the hotel until later than we’d planned. We decided to meet with Aunt Geneva and Steve’s cousin, Vikki, and her girls the next morning for breakfast. Aunt Geneva is awesome. I’d met Vikki once before, but not for probably over a dozen years. We had a lovely visit and then Vikki took us over to where Steve’s grandparents used to live. It was one of those moments when what your memory holds is very different than the reality, you know? He remembered the house being much bigger than it actually is (probably because he remembers 6 of the grandchildren sleeping in the living room). He and Vikki had a really good time remembering and talking a bit with the man who lives there now. Who remembers their grandparents, knows Aunt Geneva and seemed to be a bit sweet on her. (AW!)
We drove that day from Owensboro to Nashville. Now, I’ve only been to Nashville once before back in 1998 when we made another trip like this and stayed one night there in a hotel that turned out to be NOTHING like what it looked like on the Internet and whose door we had to secure with a piece of furniture to feel even a modicum of safety. This time? MUCH better. We were there during CMA week, so we were told the traffic was insane and, even though most hotels were booked, we were lucky to get a decent room. We got there in time to visit with his Uncle Hank (Henry is named after him) and his new wife whom we hadn’t met.
Let me just take a minute here to say how very, very much I appreciate people from the South. Steve’s family is originally from Kentucky and his mother’s siblings now live in this line from Kentucky to Georgia (and used to be down to Florida) and his brother’s family lives in New Orleans. If I had to describe his family, I couldn’t think of a better description than, “they are good people”. Every time we’ve been down in that direction, I am completely won over by these people. It is such a different mindset in how they present themselves. Nearly everyone I’ve come in contact with is kinder, sweeter, more patient, more interested in you, more congenial, and not nearly in such a dang hurry than the people I live with up here. People up here are ruder and far more self-centered. I say, in general, I’d much rather hang with people down South.
That said, I was blown away by the hospitality of Steve’s family as we invaded their homes. I mean, NOBODY’S home is prepared for an invasion of Henry. Ever. Even I’m not prepared for Henry to invade others’ homes. And I know what he’s likely to do. I’m usually on him like an ill-fitting suit because I simply don’t know if he’ll behave or decide to toss the throw pillows into the lovely display of fragile heirloom knick-knacks. Or go up and smack their 50″ flat screen with his hand. But each time, Steve’s family was understanding and patient with Henry’s antics – even when he’d come right up in their faces saying something about Elmo Cows or trying to “hug” them with his pelvis. They were all so friendly and welcoming – I was super thankful. I’ve never understood people who have the gift of hospitality, because I just plain don’t. I don’t understand it, but I’m thankful for it because I don’t have to feel so guilty about bringing my heathen children into their homes.
We stayed that night in Nashville and then the next day was for the drive down to Orlando. We stopped around lunchtime in Summerville, Georgia to visit Uncle Bill (William’s named after him) and their family. We got to sit outside with them and visit for about an hour or so before we had to get on the road for the final 10 or so hours of travel. I admit right now that I was annoyed. We had to get to Orlando because we had reservations for that night and would have to pay for them whether we made it or not. I understood that we wouldn’t be having any days of travel more than 8 hours, but Steve misunderstood me and thought we weren’t scheduled for Orlando until the next night. So, I put my nasty self away and off we drove.
We made it by about 11pm, exhausted, dirty and ready for bed in a big, big way. More to come!!
As I sat here last night trying to type my blog post, I got so frustrated. I don’t know what’s going on with my brain. I feel like pulling anything out of it is 800 times more difficult than it should be. I can’t think of anything. I get an idea and it just gets stuck. I can’t flesh it out. I can’t express it well. Blah.
Where did it go? My blog used to be funny. I used to be funny. It’ seems like I don’t have any funny left. I can’t think of interesting things to say. When I go to scrap, I can’t come up with anything interesting – heck, I can’t even decide what pictures to scrap.
It’s just frustrating. I used to blog 3, 4, sometimes 5 times per week and now, when I DO feel I’ve got something to say, I can’t get anything out. I wonder if I’m getting too old or I’m just too tired or if I’ve just lost it all.
So, I just read this amazing blog post by Jen Hatmaker about being the worst end-of-school-mom ever. And after I died laughing and shared it on Facebook, I decided to write my own take on this issue. So, idea credit goes to Jen for being so honest.
See, by the time the end of the school year rolls around, I could not even BE more done. With 4 kids in 3 different schools, NOTHING ever seems to line up. Maggie, Henry & William are all in the same school district and they’ve been done since May 22nd. Steven, however, goes to a different school district and he’s not done until Tuesday.
The number of field trips, last-minute assignments, busy work, and utter stress-inducing stuff just blows my mind. We had field days (which is fun), assemblies and something special every. single. day. My goodness.
I’m just SO TIRED. I wish there was some way all this extra stuff didn’t have to happen. For example, 2 weeks ago, Steven tells me one afternoon that he has to bring a trowel to school the next day. Wait….what? A TROWEL? I don’t have a trowel. I don’t own a trowel. I’m not going out to buy a trowel. Why do you need a trowel?????
I mean, seriously. By mid-May, the school is lucky my kids are arriving with clothes on and without actual algae growing off their teeth in chunks. Well, actually, that’s not restricted to mid-May. Any day I can get all the kids to school dressed properly and with the things they need, clean, brushed and fed is a successful day.
I just……it’s so hard to care anymore. I cannot even imagine how bad it must be fore the teachers. You’re dealing with classes full of students who could not be more disinvolved. Once they get back from spring break, they’re totally disengaged. I’m sure the poor teachers are desperately trying to finish the material they have to cover before the end of the year and there’s concerts and field trips and all sorts of stuff that has to be worked in. It would be so incredibly tempting just to throw in the towel and show movies.
And don’t even get me started on the insanity that is teacher’s gifts. If I see one more post somewhere about the intricate, gorgeous, handmade gifts for their precious angel’s 14 teachers, I will take a hostage. I cannot tell you the feeling when you pick up your kid on the last day and they want to know why they were the only kid who didn’t have a present for the teacher. Criminy, if I can remember to pick up a gift card and put it in a thank you note I can find somewhere lying around the house, it’s a win.
Anyway. Steven’s got 2 more days and then I can be officially done for almost 3 months. Then I can jump back on the crazy merry-go-round of figuring out how to get all this done for these 3 different schools.