Sunday, March 28, 2010

Another reason to love wine

Several months ago I was wondering how to cook spinach without the bitter flavor. I discovered one way - add some white wine to your onion and garlic and olive oil saute.


Friday, March 26, 2010

I'm just sayin'.

Chocolate doughnuts + vanilla lattes = happy (but somewhat spazzed) me.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Jenni, Jenni quite contrary....

...How does your garden grow?

With skinned knuckles, a ton of potting mix, dirty fingernails, a spiritual connection to the master gardeners of my matriarchal line, and lots of beautiful living things.



Bougainvillaea, phlox, marigolds, petunias, and ranunculus. I think our lemon tree hasn't quite given up yet - there is new growth!!

Close-up on ranunculus, a flower whose name does not capture its charm.

Broom, marigolds, and blue ground-cover-thing-whose-name-I-already-forgot.

I am not known for my gardening skills (matriarchal line notwithstanding), so this is a bold act of courage. At the very least, it's pretty. And so comes Spring!

Friday, March 19, 2010

On the cusp of Spring

Spring is very nearly here in my lovely valley. The trees are blooming, bees are buzzing, and everyone is down for the count with seasonal allergies. Meanwhile, I'm getting the familiar urges that Spring brings to me every year, along with balmy 75 degree days and pollen-covered cars.
  • Shopping urges. I have the urge to throw out everything in my closet and buy new clothes, shoes, purses, and everything else. This is a tough urge to fight. However, since I technically don't need anything, I will probably have to suck it up and go shopping in my closet - hopefully coming up with some new ideas and combinations that will keep it all fresh.
  • Cleaning urges. I have this fantasy of taking a mental health day off from work and cleaning out the pantry in our kitchen. I'm positive we have some 5-year-old packages of cornmeal, or some ancient spices, that all need to be tossed. I'm itching to sit down and clean out the tupperware cupboard, to toss (ahem, recycle) all the cracked plastic and the lids with no tub. Nothing would make me happier than emptying the cooking utensil drawer and sorting through the 5 spatulas, 3 slotted spoons, and 4 soup ladles.
  • Runaway urges. I usually get itchy feet this time of year, paired with a desire to head for the hills. Luckily we live close to the hills.
  • Nesting urges. Along with throwing out my wardrobe, I feel like redecorating. All my furniture, art, rugs, pillows look old and dingy in this bright Spring-y sunshine.

I find all this craving for something new to be symbolic of the season that's just arriving. Spring is a time of new growth, new beginnings, new life. It's a time for building nests, for the running of sap, for exiting hibernation. It's waking up and shedding and moving and shaking and migrating. It's a good thing to feel and be so in sync with the world around me. What are your Spring urges?

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Happiest Place on Earth

TH and I are Disney freaks. We love Disneyland, Disney movies, Disney memoribilia. But don't worry - we're not obsessed to the point of special rooms packed full of all the Disneyland napkins since opening day 1955 to the present. We just both really enjoy getting lost in the imagination of the parks.

After a trip to the parks we always feel a little lighter, a little more optimistic, and a little more ready to be playful again.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Women Who Dared, V

Katherine Sui Fun Cheung
Ms. Cheung was the first Chinese American woman to become a licensed pilot. "Sui Fun" means courage and long life in Chinese. She immigrated to the US at age 17. While Chinese women were supposed to be quiet and meek, she overcame both cultural and gender expectations. Ms. Cheung loved performing daredevil stunts, and was invited to join many national and international pilot organizations. At the age of 93, she explained in a Los Angeles Times interview, "I wanted to fly, so that's what I did. Some of this stuff I've forgotten, but a lot of it I didn't pay any attention to at the time. I was too busy having fun."

Ms. Cheung, I salute you.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Women Who Dared, IV

Romana Banuelos
b. 1925
Ms. Banuelos' family provided farm and mine labor until 1933, when they moved from Arizona to Sonora, Mexico. In 1949, divorced and with two children, Ms. Banuelos returned to the US and started a tortilla factory in Los Angeles which by 1990 grew to become the largest processor of Mexican food in California. Ms. Banuelos is a founder of the Pan-American Bank. She was appointed US Treasurer in 1971, the first Latina to hold the office.
I salute you, Ms. Banuelos.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

A day of rest

To: my faithful blog readers and lurkers.
From: a page from her book

Although I greatly enjoy the conversation happening in this space, I'm declaring today a day of rest. Go ye therefore, and rest thy weary minds and hearts. There will be plenty of time tomorrow for more debate and discussion.

With my compassion and affection,

Friday, March 5, 2010

A response

Dear Brother:
In response to your comment on my post from yesterday: I thank you for your questioning and seeking, and I hope this helps you understand a little better.

To me, to grossly oversimplify, it seems that women are typically seen as "less-than" and compared, often unfavorably, to men. I am a feminist (unapologetically so), and to me, that means that each of us has the right to make our own decisions for our lives. It doesn't mean that I am better than men. I want respect on my own terms, not on terms decided for me by men, church, society, etc. This doesn't mean I am *not* open to the guidance and shepherding of a community - I am talking basic human respect for the quality of my life being JUST AS important as that of a man's, JUST AS valued, JUST AS respected. I love men and value men, but I'm glad I'm not one and I don't want to be one. I see great value and import in being a woman. There are probably other ways some of the following ideas can be argued (I don't pretend to have all the answers about causation and correlation), but I see a pattern.

In the United States, we live in a culture where women are expected to maintain standards (often impossible) of beauty, but men are not. Women still earn less for the same work ( The standard subject for medical studies is the middle-aged, white male; therefore the effects of many medicines in women is not well understood - thus getting a prescription makes me feel I am playing roulette with my health. Twice as many women as men suffer from depression. Women are more likely to die from heart disease because their symptoms are usually ignored or misdiagnosed in the emergency room (being different from those of men). Women are overwhelmingly left to single-parent children. Women who are married with families and who work outside the home still shoulder most of the housework. I could go on.

Worldwide, girls are regularly denied education. In China, infant boys are still more highly valued than girls, increasing the number of girls left in orphanages or aborted before birth (which as we know, endangers the mother's health and well-being, too). In Africa, many girls stop going to school once they begin menstruating, because there are no bathrooms for them and they are not excused from class to see to their bleeding. In Juarez, Mexico, women are being slaughtered every day ( In many countries, rape is still used to silence and intimidate women and girls. In Thailand, and many other Southeast Asian countries, women are forced into or sold into prostitution because their families cannot/will not support them. Why? Too many children. But family planning is also not allowed or not discussed. Women in fundamentalist Islam worldwide are expected to cover up their bodies completely (making them invisible, making them not individual). I could go on.

To see the extent of misogyny all around you:
- Try googling "quotes about women" and see what kind of quotes are out there. In your opinion, are they positive? What values do they reflect? Who said them?
- RE: Church doctrine. Notice how man was created just to be, and woman as his "helper." Notice how creation starts with men, which directly conflicts the actual biological practice of women bearing children. Try talking about God (who is represented in the bible as being neither male nor female) in the feminine and see how quickly people call you heretic or laugh at you. Notice how sermons and messages are primarily taught about the men in the Bible. Yet notice that the first people who found out Jesus was resurrected were WOMEN. Notice how the word "man" "he" and "mankind" are scattered throughout hymns, readings, etc. Imagine what it is like to grow up never hearing yourself represented in the world of faith, not to mention in the trinity (for goodness sakes, can't just one of the trinity be female??).
- Consider how men insult other men by calling them "pussy," "girly," or "ladies." Not to mention the phrase "throw like/run like/play sports like a girl."
- Consider how men tend to see women as objects, ie. whistling at them in the streets, shouting catcalls, ogling. This is not positive attention. This is not recognizing me as a person. It is seeing me as boobs, ass, cunt. As a receptacle, a receiver.
- Consider how the traits we see as "feminine" (nurturing, giving up time to be with family, empathy, peace-making, caring for the sick, feeding and changing and raising children, etc.) are considered negative in the men who embrace them.
- Ask the women in your life about episodes of discrimination, negative attention, abuse, etc. that they have experienced. Ask your mother if she could get credit in her own name once she got married. Consider that 1 in 4 women will be victims of domestic abuse in their lifetimes. Consider that 1 in 4 girls is sexually abused before the age of 18 (If you are in a group with 5 women and girls, at least one of them has been sexually abused. Think about that next time you are surrounded by women). Consider that 73% of rape victims know their attacker. Consider that only 6% of rapists will ever spend a day in jail. Consider living your life in that kind of world.
- Consider how long it took women to fight for and win the right to vote. (From at least 1776 to 1920).
- Consider that women make up over half the population in the USA, but there are only 17 women senators (out of 100) and 76 women representatives (out of 435). With those numbers, would you feel understood and represented in Washington?

I could go on.

I could share my own, deeply personal, stories, but this is not the place.

The hate against me, just for being female. It is constant. It is a barrage. It is a whisper. It infects every conversation I have with a newly-met man (will this man harm me? Can I trust him? Must I prove myself again? Will he be threatened by my intelligence? Do I have to be nice because I don't want him to think I'm a bitch?) and every moment I spend in public (is that man following me? Is this a good place to park? Better not stop at this gas station, don't like the looks of those drivers...don't make eye contact or smile with that one...keep an eye on those teenagers...better be home before dark/midnight/ten pm...can't go running alone after dark... etc.). It is ignored, dismissed (ask yourself, with what other group would we be so OK at dismissing these situations?). It is real. It is my life and that of every woman.


Thursday, March 4, 2010

Women Who Dared, III

Anonymous Woman

Today I salute you, Ms. Anonymous. I honor you. I see you in all women, past, present, and future.

I see you: you who have worked, bled, suffered, thrilled, risen above, raised children, tended gardens, tended souls, prayed, rioted, talked, persuaded, cried, sweated, won, lost, survived. I see you: you who sacrifice, you who break down barriers, you who fulfill menial tasks so that others can move ahead. I see you: you who live lives of quiet desperation, who live lives of privilege, who live lives of poverty, who live lives of abuse, who live lives of happiness. I see you: you who go unseen and forgotten, you whose memories have been poisoned by others, you who have disappeared under regimes political and personal, you who others would seek to destroy. I see you: you who nurture, who build up, who connect, who cherish, who bring peace with your words, actions, and love. I see you: you who do the forgotten and disenfranchised work. I see you: you who do the important and historically significant work. I see you: in all your glorious varieties, ages, sizes, colors, races, backgrounds, histories, herstories.

I see you: you dare to exist.

I see you: you are me.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Women Who Dared II

Ethel L. Payne

Ms. Payne was known as the "First Lady of the Black Press." She started her career in Chicago in 1951 and moved to Washington D.C. to cover the civil rights movement. She was known to ask the tough questions. She was one of the first black women accredited to the White House Press Corps. In 1972, when CBS hired her, she became the first black female commentator at any major national broadcast network.
Ms. Payne, I salute you.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Women Who Dared

Marie Stopes (1880-1958)
Marie Stopes and her husband opened the first birth control clinic in England in 1921. One public health official pronounced contraception and any discussion of it "a monstrous crime." Ms. Stopes was a paleobotanist and author who campaigned for greater public access to information related to sex and reproduction. She spent most of her life fighting for women's access to birth control.
Ms. Stopes, I salute you.
ps. In the interest of full disclosure, Ms. Stopes was also a supporter of eugenics. I do not salute you for this, Ms. Stopes. But for your work to advance birth control and accurate reproductive information to women, and to reduce unsafe abortions, I thank you.

Monday, March 1, 2010

March is Women's History Month

"For most of history, 'Anonymous' was a woman." -- Virgina Woolf

"In passing, also, I would like to say that the first time Adam had a chance he laid the blame on woman." ~Nancy Astor

A woman is the full circle. Within her is the power to create, nurture and transform.~ Diane Mariechild ~

Your own words are the bricks and mortarof the dreams you want to realize.Your words are the greatest power you have.The words you choose and their use establish the life you experience.~ Sonia Croquette ~