Monday, November 26, 2012

"Single, Sexy, Spinster...Woo!"

It's Monday.  I'm not feeling independently inspired this morning so I'll share this video with you instead.  What surprised me isn't that many folks still have a negative view of the word spinster (we have lots of work to do!) but that there were folks who were not familiar with the word at all.  

PS -  I really need to get working on those "This is What a Spinster Looks Like" t-shirts.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

All mixed up and please pass the gravy...

I'm sitting here trying to find the words to explain all the mixed up feelings and jumbles of thoughts that Thanksgiving brings up for me.  It is a holiday that (political statements and dubious origins aside) often leaves me feeling out of sorts and unsure.  It is a day that brings back memories of my Grampy who I will always miss.  My parent's divorce several years ago added another layer of  complication and conflict to the day.  Spending the day with one or the other, regardless of who I am with, always leaves me struggling with a bit of guilt.

The past several years I have spent the day with old friends, a tradition that developed over a decade ago when our families were far away or we couldn't afford to travel.  We kept it going even after  families moved closer or our circumstances had changed.  This year I broke with tradition and I spent the day with my Dad and his family.

Anyway, my thoughts are not forming into any sort of cohesive prose, instead it's coming out in lists:

Things I missed:

...the gathering of my family of choice.  Missed you guys
...waffle, bacon and bloody Mary brunch matter how long it's been I will always miss Grampy and dessert in the evening with friends Mom
...turkey leftovers

Things I loved:

...seeing my Gran after too long of an absence
...watching my dad hover and obsess over a turkey
...meeting new people and discussing books
...allowing my dietary restrictions to slide for a whole day (YUM!)
...finding peanut snacks hidden in my backpack when I arrived home
...talking to my brother on the phone

I was left feeling a little sad when I saw many folks at my gran's nursing home had no one picking them up for the holiday.  I was glad to see that where she is living will be much easier for me to get to with public transportation so I can visit her more frequently.   The food was good and everyone contributed something.

So there you have it.  My mixed up little holiday.  Overall it wasn't so bad and I have many things in my life that I am grateful for.   As awkward as it can sometimes be, my family is very high on that list.

Here is wishing you a happy, if belated, Thanksgiving.  I hope you had tasty food, good company and chance to ponder you own personal bits of abundance.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Living Space

Two of the rooms in the apartment I share with my roommates are mine and though I've been living here for nearly two months I still don't feel fully settled in and there are boxes yet to be unpacked.  I see videos like this and I feel inspired to make them most of my cozy space.  I am looking forward to the down time I will have over the holiday weekend.  I'll be cleaning, sorting and unpacking the last of my things.  I want to enter the new year with my two rooms feeling like a comfy nest.  

Friday, November 16, 2012

I'd rather be dancing...

Photo by Sanguine Designs
I'm seated at my desk eating a bowl of rice and sausage while sipping a glass of cabernet sauvignon.  I'm telling myself I need to be thinking about what I want to write for today's blog post but an insistent little voice in my head is whispering...

" should be dancing.  Tie on a hip scarf, put on some music and dance..."

I resist.  I tell myself I've committed to blogging everyday and for once I'm going to keep that commitment.  I mean it! But the voice becomes louder...

"Daaaaaaaaaance.  You know how good it will feel when your warm up music starts and you body begins to wake up to the music.  Come can write later."

No.  No I'm going to write this post even if it means I don't get to dance.  I am going to do this.  I'm going to.....

"DANCE!  I'm not giving in until you do!  I'm in your head too and I can hear you mentally humming the first few bars of your warm up music...your body wants you to do this. DANCE! DANCE! DANCE! DANCE!"

Okay.  I'm going to dance now.  Maybe I'll write a blog post later....

Thursday, November 15, 2012

I'd wait in line to shake your hand...

Today was a full day.  One of those good full days where every moment was spent doing something that fed me either physically or spiritually but at the end of it I'm feeling pretty spent and I find I still have a blog post to write. Inspiration just isn't coming so I search the web for writing prompts and I come across this writing prompts blog on Tumblr.  Where I find the above picture and I think...huh, who would I wait in a long line for the privilege of shaking their hand?**

Here is the list (in no particular order):

...Eleanor Wells of The Spinsterlicious Life
...Salman Rushdie
...Tom Robbins
...Thomas Magnum (Okay - I know he's not real but if he was...I'd totally wait.  Heck I'd camp out!)
...Alice Paul (Yes, I'm allowing myself one dead person too.  It's MY list.)
...President Obama
...Dave Mallett
...any one of my friends who became famous because so many of you are talented and amazing it will happen and I want to have that moment when you spot me about five people back in line and step around the autograph table to give me a big hug and everyone around is thinking, "What?  You know them?" and I get to look back and think, "Yep, yep I do and trust me they are really as awesome as you think they are."

What do the people on the list have in common? They are all creative and courageous.

What does it say about me?  That I can't say.  However, I really do have highly talented and hard working friends who pursue their dreams on a daily basis.  I admire every one of them and it would indeed be a privilege to wait in a very long line to shake their hand.

**There are some pretty fantastic people that I have already had the privilege of already meeting so I'm not including them on the list.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

One more time - Happily Unmarried...

Yesterday I complained about how a week after the election my "Single Women" news alert on Google was still full of articles about politics.  Low and behold today there was an article that was not about how those brilliant and independent or slutty and sinful single women helped sway the election.  This article is instead about married and single women finding a way to get along.

"Married vs. Single: Can't We All Get Along?"  written by the newly married Claudia Maittlen Harris, was in today's Huffington the weddings section.  It was written in response to another article titled "Single Women, Married Women: Why I Refuse to Join the Smug Married Club" by Lindsey Lowell.  It is of course talking about the tendency of some married folk to think that we single folk are living in a pool of sad longing waiting for our true love to come along and provide us with the key to the locked door of happiness.  The sentiment is usually expressed in in a five word question, "Why are you still single?"

Personally I've not really encountered this with anyone in my social circle. I can't fully say that it is because I have friends who are more open minded that the rest of the general population, though I'd like to believe that they are, or if a lot of it has to do with my writing this blog and being rather vocal about not having a desire to be partnered.  However, I have known plenty of women who have had to endure the "Why are you still single?" questions from friends and family and the constant attempts at being set up.  Which, if one is happily single, can be at least mildly annoying and if one is actually hoping to be married one day it can be a highly annoying reminder that you've not yet achieved something you desire. 

While I don't get the "Why are you still single?" question, I do sometimes get the half smirky, "Oh, you just haven't met the right person yet."  Which in some ways is probably worse.  If I truly did have a desire to be married then the why-are-you-still-single question could at least be seen as conveying sympathy. The oh-you-just-haven't-met-the-right-person-yet assumes that the speaker some how knows me better than I do.  I have met lots of 'right people' but it isn't that I don't want to be married to them, it's simply that I just don't want to be married.   

Which is what bothers me about these articles. I think are both full of good intentions but they still assume that the person who is unmarried actually wants to be.  Their perspective is from the formally single woman who doesn't want to be a single woman forever.  Neither touches on the possibility that perhaps some women don't want to be permanently attached.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Grumpy Bacon Coffee Nonsense

I'm having one of those woke up on the wrong side of the bed mornings.  Due to a massive allergy attack I did not sleep well last night at all.  I'm a bit stressed out about school (which I have fallen behind in), money (which I currently do not have enough of) and I have a long day ahead of me today (work, school, a show and I'll be carrying my costuming and instruments with me all day).  I fully realize life could be far worse and there are times in my life that indeed have been far worse, but this is today and I'm grumpy.

When I'm grumpy I'm not often inspired so I thought I'd check out today's NaBloPoMo writing prompt which turned out to be, "Where is you favorite place to blog?"   Well, I really only blog one of two places, at my desk or on the couch with the only real difference between the two being the view (the wall of the building next door or a rather splendid view of the the western skyline of my city) and the proximity to the refrigerator (the desk is closer).

Next I thought I'd turn to the news for inspiration and discovered that my "Single Women" news feed on Google is still packed with articles about politics and how single women were what swung the vote in Obama's favor because we felt our rights were threatened by the other side and decided to make our voices heard or (on the other side of the political spectrum) how single women live lives of abundant casual sex and all end up pregnant and either leaching off the system or getting abortions paid for by the government which is then given as the reason we all voted for Obama.

I could writing about the cuteness of my kitties (and they are cute), the creative process (this morning I'm struggling), what I had for breakfast (coffee and a muffin) or the weather (overcast and a bit windy)...but instead I'm going to brew myself another cup of coffee, start my workday and hope that at some point today the bacon fairy shows up, because nothing cheers me up like an unexpected gift of bacon!

Monday, November 12, 2012

Walking Away from Gossip

“How would your life be different if…You walked away from gossip and verbal defamation? Let today be the day…You speak only the good you know of other people and encourage others to do the same.” ― Steve Maraboli

This quote arrived in my email inbox today along with several others in a motivational quotes email that I recieve once a week.  Most of the quotes are you typical Oprah-esque seize the day sorts of thing but this one caught my attention.  It wasn't the part about speaking only good of other nor was it the part about encourage others to do so, though both are admirable actions to pursue.  It was the part about walking away.

I can think of many times that I was present when someone else was being talked about; not a first hand account of an experience, but passed on third or fourth hand gossip and because I didn't actively participate I could pat myself on the back and shine up my halo.  What if I had walked away?  What if instead of appearing complicit through my silence I asked that we talk about something else?

It isn't an easy thing to do.  There is a bit of a thrill that goes along with thinking you are the carrier of some juicy bit of someone's private life not to mention the part of us that somehow feels better about ourselves when we hear of someone else's problems or sins.  Most of us are at least mildly insecure and so knowing that someone else might have screwed up worse that us can make us feel least until we find out that its our faults and mistakes that are being gossiped about.

And the fact is that we almost never know the whole story when it comes to other people's lives and passing on half truths eventually leads to quarter truths and finally what is being shared might very well be an outright lie.  A number of years ago I ran into an old high school classmate who was surprised to see me because she'd heard I'd been shot while mountain biking through Mexico.  While I was somewhat flattered to be thought so adventurous I was left wondering how many other people had the mistaken idea that I dead?

What if we just declared a boycott on gossip and refused to participate?  Or what if we offered up something positive about the person instead?  How would your life be different if you walked away?

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Dancing Even When I Don't Know the Steps

This afternoon I made the decision to meet up with friends for dinner and then attend a show of Bulgarian music featuring a local band, Cinder Conk, and Kabile, a band from Bulgaria. I rarely will turn down the chance to share food with friends and new music is always a delight.

After delightful dinner with old friends and some newly met folks we headed for the concert venue and managed to get in with a few minutes to spare before the show started.  Cinder Conk opened the show and played a short but fun set with a few songs that I actually knew.  During a short break the floor was cleared of chairs and Kabile gathered together in the middle of the floor to play. 

When the music began I couldn't hold back from tapping my foot in time to the rhythm and when a line of dancers formed around the band I soon found myself getting up and joining. in.  The folk dancing involved various steps of footwork that varied greatly in complexity.  Some were simply side-side-side stomp steps and others involved forward, side, back stops with small kicks or foot stomps interspersed.  A few I picked up easily and thanks to several woman from an eastern European folk dance group who were more than happy to share their knowledge of the steps, I even managed some of the moderately complicated ones. Many times I found I was simply shuffling to the rhythm and trying not to bump into the people on either sid of me!  I sat out for the very fast and complicated ones but during these times it was a joy to watch the dancers who really knew what they were doing dance around the room.  They obviously took great pleasure in what they were doing and it showed.  

Tonight had four things that I truly love:

1. Shared food and conversation with people who's company I enjoy immensely. 
2. Live music and even better live music that was new to me. 
3. Dancing.  Lots of dancing.  Though I've not been great about keeping track of my 20 minutes a day I definitely hit that tonight!
4. Meeting new people. 

I'm quite happy and grateful to be surrounded by the community of people who are a part of my life.  I'm glad that I live in the city that I do and that despite our smaller size we have so many great events that happen here.  I love that my life allows me the freedom to be able to participate in events such as these.  

It was a truly good evening.  

Saturday, November 10, 2012

The Perfect Day?

Two scientists, Dr. Christian Knoll of Jacobs University in Germany and Dr. Sebastian Pokutta of the Georgia Institute of Technology, claim to have figured out a woman's perfect day.  According to articles published about the study 909 women were interviewed for the study with an average age of 38.  They were asked what activities filled their days and how much enjoyment did they derive from those activities.  Based on the women's responses the ideal day was created showing how much time the women would dedicate to each activity.

The study, published in the Journal of Economic Psychology, showed that a woman's top priority is intimacy with her partner and the least pleasurable activity is work and getting to work.  Socializing, relaxing, eating and meditation are also high on the list. I would be very interested to see a breakdown by marital and/or parental status.  The study show's 46 minutes allocated to childcare so how would the ideal day of a woman who doesn't have children differ?  I'm am of course very interested in how a single woman's ideal day compares to that of one who is married.  My big question though is:

How do they know this is really an ideal day for any woman?

The study says they asked employed women how they spent their days and then rated the activities, but what would happen if they'd asked what would you like to be spending your time doing?  Take the example of work for instance.  Perhaps the reason that work related so low on the list is that most of the women are not in jobs that they actually enjoy.   How do women who are self-employed rate the level of pleasure they take in their work?  Perhaps those women would be spending a higher amount of time working in their ideal day because they love their jobs.

Most of the time I think my days are spent doing things I enjoy doing.  Things like laundry, dishes and cleaning the cat box aren't high on that list but I don't mind doing them.  My ideal day includes plenty of time to create and learn new things though I definitely don't get to do those things everyday as things stand in my life right now.  Eating, being social and relaxing also high on the list.  Right now I think I'm going to take advantage of my 46 minutes of napping before I spend my 47 minutes of housework sweeping and washing the kitchen floor.

What is your ideal day?

Friday, November 9, 2012

You too can look THIS good...

I often wonder when I see overly edited photos of celebrities if they have any say in how their image is portrayed.  Is it all agents and editors who make the decisions or do the celebrities ever step in and say, "Ummm...that really doesn't look like me at all.  Can you please add the crow's feet and my cute little beer pudge back in?  Thanks."

When you begin to see yourself not as a person but as a brand there has to be a certain amount of detachment from self that happens (it's okay because that person on the cover of Vogue isn't really me, it's my image) and I suppose when your livelihood depends heavily upon the image you project you may not want to intervene no matter how extreme the edits may be.  They might even convince themselves that it's harmless since everyone knows how edited these things are and that they don't portray reality. Right?

Wrong.  Even knowing that these things are edited women and girls still hold these images as the ideal of how they should look.  I remember years ago back in my 20's that when I would do my best to age gracefully; that I wouldn't fight the progression of nature because I would learn to love and accept myself for who I was.  Today I find myself spending far more time in the skin care aisle examining the anti-aging benefits of creams than I care to admit and my motivation for working out tends be equally split between a desire for fitness and a keeping the arm sag at bay.

This video below makes the point with a great deal of humor and illustrates just how extreme some of these edits actually are.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Return of the Bats

The election is over.  Politics are finally not the main point of discussion on the social media sites and while I confess to hiding a few folks from my feed, as far as I know I managed to get through without losing any Facebook friends (no worries, I brought you all back).

I'm generally willing to discuss just about anything in person but I tend to avoid any online discussion of politics most of the time.  It seems far too easy for those involved to forget that they are talking to an actual person and this election season discussions degenerated into name calling with far more frequency than in elections past. 

With the move, the loss of Orange and just having an overly full schedule my life has felt very unsettled lately so perhaps conflict of any kind was just more than I was up for dealing with.  But now as I scroll through my Facebook feed I'm very grateful for the return of cute kitten and bat pictures, "One Word That Describes Me" memes and drunken party photos.  

Monday, November 5, 2012


Early in the morning on Wednesday I said, "Goodbye" to Orange, my 17 year old black peanut of a kitty.  She was always small, never weighing more than about 9 pounds even during her chubby years.  She was an odd little cat who went her own way from the very start but also always quite ready to accept a cuddle and a scratch behind the ears.

She was obsessed with toilets, feet and being perched on the highest point in any room especially if that point was someone's shoulder.  She sang when she played with her toy mice, yowling and howling her death dirges as she raced down the hall with one in her mouth.  She would wait impatiently for me to come to bed when my insomnia took hold and waited just as patiently in the morning for the first flicker of my opening eyes to begin purring and demanding affection.  She was my one kitty who was never sick until a few months ago when she was diagnosed with a lymphoma in her tummy.  In the end she was so weakened she could barely stand but I will always remember her as the fierce, independent little panther that she was.

So long my little sweet pea...I'll miss you.

Thursday, November 1, 2012


It seems a bit of a copout to use my first NaBloPoMo post to announce that I am once again participating in this blog everyday for a month event but it is what I am doing.  I know I have yet to successful complete the event but I do believe in second chances, especially when it comes to giving them to myself. 

I don't have any big secret plan for making this time more of a success which I guess might mean that my plan is to not have a plan.