One year ago today

Today marks the first anniversary of the death of the legendary legal visionary, who was the first female tenured professor at Columbia Law School and the second woman to serve as a justice on the U.S. Supreme Court, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg ’59.
RBG has been called a lot of things: a trailblazer, a role model, the “Notorious RBG.” To us her most fitting description is “feminist icon.” During her life she worked to break down stereotypical gender norms, fought against patriarchy as a whole, recognizing how it oppresses men and women alike, and destroyed misconceptions about feminism in order to uplift anyone who felt marginalized. 

I know that I was horrified when she died, so unprepared for it, and so angry when that Cheeto pushed through a Stepford Wife to replace her.

AND I KNOW THIS TOO:

We will never progress in our gender until women start agreeing to some basic fundamental things, like, our bodies should be our own. Regardless about how you personally feel about terminating a pregnancy, no woman on Earth can be truly free if she doesn’t, first and foremost, have the final say about her own physical body, and her safety in that body. That is the first thing. We MUST own us; we MUST have the final say about us. I am the mother of an adopted child, and I am so grateful her mother carried her to term, but I still support the right of ALL women, everywhere, to be the ultimate owners of their bodies. I have no business telling you what to do with your hair, or your face, or your clothes, or your uterus, or etc. And you don’t have any business prescribing to me, or another women, and ALL those who are not women have even less business telling women what to do.

So, try to come to grips with this one thing: ALL adults should own their own bodies. To be an adult is to, fundamentally, be trusted with yourself. And like everything in life, some of us will do better than others, but that does not negate our absolute right to own our own choices, successes, and fuck-ups.

May Ruth, one of the hardest working humans, male or female, who ever lived, live on in us, in women, and in the starlight that glows over us all every night, and in the bright sunlight that lights our days.

And may Ruth remind me to keep teaching my daughter to be an autonomous woman who knows she can make her own choices and own the consequences of them. And may Ruth remind me to turn my own head back to what is important to me, put my nose on that grindstone, and keep working toward my goals, and working hard. Life is for accomplishing things. You’ll sleep when you’re dead…. lol.

IT SHOULD BE LIKE A HALF AN HOUR VOLUME 6

“The Low Spark of High Heeled Boys” (by Traffic).

The thing I see, whenever I look this song up, is “What is that song about?”

Well, let’s look at it. I feel like I always got it, but here’s the lyrics to help:

If you see something that looks like a star
And it’s shooting up out of the ground
And your head is spinning from a loud guitar
And you just can’t escape from the sound
Don’t worry too much, it’ll happen to you
We were children once, playing with toys

And that thing that you’re hearing is only the sound of
The low spark of high-heeled boys

The percentage you’re paying is too high priced
While you’re living beyond all your means
And the man in the suit has just bought a new car
From the profit he’s made on your dreams
But today you just read that the man was shot dead
By a gun that didn’t make any noise
But it wasn’t the bullet that laid him to rest, was
The low spark of high-heeled boys

If you had just a minute to breathe
And they granted you one final wish

Would you ask for something like another chance
Or something sim’lar as this
Don’t worry too much It’ll happen to you
As sure as your sorrows are joys

And the thing that disturbs you is only the sound of
The low spark of high-heeled boys

The percentage you’re paying is too high priced
While you’re living beyond all your means

And the man in the suit has just bought a new car
From the profit he’s made on your dreams
But today you just read that the man was shot dead
By a gun that didn’t make any noise
But it wasn’t the bullet that laid him to rest, was
The low spark of high-heeled boys (high heeled boys)

If I gave you everything that I owned
And asked for nothing in return
Would you do the same for me as I would for you
Or take me for a ride
And strip me of everything, including my pride
But spirit is something that no one destroys

And the thing that disturbs you is only the sound of
The low spark of high-heeled boys

So, what is that about?

I always thought this: Boys (men), in the 1960s and 70s, were openly playing with fashion and gender in a way they never had before, and some of them had long hair and high heels on their boots, and those in bands were being robbed blind (often) by their record companies(the percentage you’re paying is too high) and that, eventually, those bad, judgmental greedy men in suits who buy themselves cars from profits made from the creativity and dreams of the boys are going to be laid low by the spark of genius in these young gender-bending (read as “free”) boys.

There you go. Wasn’t that easy?

And the last verse is just asking lovers and friends to be kind to each other.

This song is about 1/3 of my desired length, much more than the others I have put in this series. Yay! Traffic!

I believe this song can be classified as a fugue.

I think it is absolutely delicious in the way that, rarely, booze of some sort can be delicious. I once had a lychee sake that was like that: perfumed, it hung there on my tongue like a first French kiss…. Then the booze hit my blood, and all my limbs weakened in an utterly delightful way.

“The Low Spark of High Heeled Boys” does the same thing. It hangs there, slowly seeping into all your pores, and then it speeds up and moves you along to the next sip. Keep that simmering buzz going.

Once my sweet brother made me a CD that contained nothing but the song “Smooth” by Santana six times in a row.

“The Low Spark of High Heeled Boys” is the same. It should be on a long lazy loop through your entire weekend. And you should be feeling your beauty as you listen to it, dancing slowly through your kitchen, knowing that it won’t be a gun that makes things better, but the low spark of genius from you, and those high heeled boys.

Can you dig it?

“Is it Work If You Do it From Home?”

Wow. I hope Nadja doesn’t mind me pointing you to her blog.

This post is just so on point.

I absolutely get her, as I sit here stealing a few minutes to write while Sophie is in an Outschool class.

Man, I wasn’t making it through the last year of homeschooling without Outschool.

And I was just thinking, yesterday, on a walk with the dog (who, since the pandemic, demands several each day, but, hey, how freaking boring is being a dog? I get it, my handsome Oliver.), how there were about 3 times over the last year where I had a “come to Jesus” meeting with my husband and daughter over homeschooling. Sure, Sophie loved practicing her instruments, taking art classes on Outschool, or doing science experiments with Dad. But math or grammar with Mom? Ho, oh, oh, no. “It’s not fair!” I whined. Yet, looking back on it on the walk yesterday, I think that, all-in-all, we did okay.

There’s something about motherhood though; a lot is expected of motherhood, and little is given in terms of respect for it. It’s like “Do the best freaking job at this of anyone, anywhere! And we’ll tell you how much more important what we’re doing is, and, if you screw up even an iota, we’ll tell you that too.” *sigh*

On the other hand, I feel like I am generally doing okay at raising a really nice kid who is truly dedicated to music and art, and can and will practice both independently. As, when I was a child, I wouldn’t practice anything independently (besides hiding well and reading), I think I’m doing a better job than my own, always angry, mother. It’s funny to call it a job, though, isn’t it? It both is, and isn’t, a job.

And I love every minute of being with my daughter, and I also want some minutes without her.

In any case, Nadja did a wonderful piece that I think will truly resonate with you, and her other writing ain’t bad either, as you can see in this piece.

I GOT A WIN!

Thank you, Plants and Poetry, for publishing one of my favorite poems I have ever written, “The Itch.” AND if you click on the link (the photo, or poem name) you can not only read my ode to bad gardening, you can hear ME read it to you! There is an MP4 there you can click on just above the poem’s title.

I love love love writing poetry, but poetry is a hard sell, and my poems are long trailing vining affairs, like “The Itch,” and that makes them an even harder sell to publishers and even readers.

I was extra happy that when my poem was accepted the editor wrote, “This poem is much different than others that have been submitted and I really enjoyed it. I like your voice. I think it will make an excellent addition.” I think my poetry is different than most poems that get published, and I am so glad she appreciated it for its difference.

Usually (and I know a lot of authors don’t like hearing this but) there is a fee to submit a poem anywhere, and journals may be themed, which may mean there is only one poem you have that could hit the mark. That can get to be pricey. And there is a lot of rejection.

The best we can do is try, and try, and try again, and, somehow, all by ourselves, keep our hopes up, which, if you read my poem, “The Itch,” is not that different from gardening.

I have had some other poems published online if you’re curious.

How to Swim Under Water. This one I published myself (I mean, I do run a publishing company, so occasionally the boss lets me sneak one in). Because it is collage and poetry combined, you may (fellow eyeglasses wearers) need to click on it to read it clearly.

Good Dog This poem is brought to you directly by slower lower Delaware, where one sees such things on a much too regular basis.

Jackie Don’t You Go This last one was written about two years ago, and revised and hacked at a bit before publication last year. A poem that has a lot of emotion to express can get so big that you have to chop at it and “smallen” it so it is not completely maudlin dreck. It is about my friend, Jackie B. who died at her own hands before the internet was a thing, so I cannot even check the spelling of her name. She was a bit older than me, and just a lovely human being, both inside, and out. I was envious of her poise, her kindness and calm affect, and her physical beauty. She was independent, and I truly thought she had it all figured out. She had none of it figured out, and, all these years later, I am still trying to come to terms with her actions and the loss of her, and how, for the rest of us, we keep ourselves going when we know that we have none of it figured out.

Well, you ignore the rejections, and you celebrate the wins.

Here’s to you having a win soon. Share it when you do; we need to know people are winning.

IT SHOULD BE LIKE A HALF AN HOUR VOLUME 5

To Love Somebody by The Bee Gees

I grew up on this song.

My dad loved The Bee Gees, and we just passed his birthday. It would have been his 87th? I think so.

My dad was a man’s man, and so were The Bee Gees. Good-looking (more or less) Australian guys, macho culture (at the time), singing a song about a girl not treating him/them like a man, because she is not meeting his/their desires. A bit sexist, yup.

And you can see, in the video, how masculine and confident Barry is. He holds his place at the front of his family in that video. I was very surprised to see that it is actually Maurice hitting those “oh no no!” bits. Maurice died first, and never got a lot of attention, but his voice is flawless, and he sounds just like Barry. Robin was often the lead, did you know that? And from this video it appears that Robin must have had dental work done after they had made some money, because he certainly looked much different by the Saturday Night Fever days.

I think The Bee Gees are often dismissed with the whole “Disco Sucks” thing.

First of all, The Bee Gees do not suck; they were very talented singers, and I have a hard time finding a song by them I don’t like, and my dad felt the same.

Second, and I have to say this, loud and proud, DISCO DOES NOT SUCK.

This song is pre-their disco days, but still.

“Disco sucks,” I think, was a way to push out Black artists and other non-white guy groups who had begun to take a serious bite of the rock market. The Bee Gees, well, most American white guys weren’t afraid of The Bee Gees stealing their women. They dismissed them as effeminate. And I think Disco was dismissed for the same thing, but Disco is awesome, and The Bee Gees are awesome too.

And this song, I can feel the angst in it, sexist or not, and I love it. It’s a simple song, but it digs into the soul with it’s tune, and that elevates this song to one I could hear all day long (and, today, I probably will).

While looking for this song today, I found two more amazing versions of it.

First, Janis Joplin.

Fuck, Janis, Grrrrrrl!. “A volatile vial of nitroglycerin,” reads Dick Cavett. Hell yes. I mean, how did she turn it on every single time? How did she know how to riff so flawlessly? How did her body dance from the waist down, and suffer on the cross from the waist up? Damn I love this version, and I never heard it before today.

And, if you didn’t know this about me, I am a huge Janis fan. If you want to karaoke sometime, I’ll do my “Summertime” for you. I do a pretty terrible Janis impersonation, but I feel it when I do it. Janis, man, the rest of us are just amateurs.

And there is one more version I discovered.

And another musical thing you probably didn’t know about me.

Add this to disco, and I may damage my reputation for being cool.

(Wait, you have a reputation for being cool? Fuck yeah I do. )

I like Michael Buble.

I love his voice.

Most of his songs are sappy, but I love his voice. I think he adds something to Sinatra, and I just wish he sang more songs that were worth his time, and less pap.

His voice is great.

And in this video, not only is his voice great, but he’s even got a little sexy-something going on I don’t usually feel about him. It’s a little bit of Andrew Scott.(fuck me… Andrew Scott….)

And clearly he’s channelling the late-great Robert Palmer in this video, so what’s not to like?

Mmmmmm…. mmm.

Enjoy a little dessert Buble on me.

Can you dig it?

WHERE ARE YOU FELLOW SUFFERERS?

Ugh, so ugly.

To say nothing of my couple of knuckles that have also joined in the revolt. They are none-to-lovely either.

My thumbs have gone to the devil, on both hands.

Luckily I never learned how to type properly, so I don’t use them much for that.

I went to an OS last summer in a lot of pain and frustration, and he gave me the lovely accouterments you see above. And he told me my thumbs will basically work until they don’t.

This spring, in a bit more pain, and unhappy with the other doc’s pronouncement, I went to the top local OS, and he told me all about the disgusting and horrible thumb surgery they can do, and its good results after a long recovery period.

He also told me this thumb thing is a bit of a mystery because, more often than not, the pain just resolves one day. The thumbs never really stop working (which was a relief to hear). He said it is up to the individual: either the pain gets to where you cannot last any longer, and you have the surgery, or the pain will resolve, and you almost forget you ever had it. He said it is an individual choice, based on pain tolerance and lifestyle I guess, and said it was 100% patient’s choice.

I’m going to try and make it to the “resolve” stage.

My pain isn’t constant. It comes and goes. I learned to kayak recently, and doing things like kayaking in the braces hurts for other reasons, so I left them home, and the next day I learned the thumbs did not like the kayaking. And I plan to do it again anyway.

The thing is, chronic pain is wearing (I also have it in my hips, from the piriformis muscle, that total bastard, all wound tight like a Republican and refusing to relax). It makes one tired. I venture to say it makes one grumpy from time-to-time, and sleep deprived. It, in my case, also comes with anxiety sometimes as I worry that my thumbs will fall off one day, even though I know that is impossible.

And for chronic pain you will often suffer in silence, as others don’t see anything wrong with you, and it can be tough to imagine it if you don’t have it. There are times when the pain in my thumbs or my hips could be a solid 10 out of 10 for days in a row. No one who is not me can grasp that, though, right?

And then there is the bonus of the fashionable braces. I try not to wear them out of the house not because they’re ugly though, but because I don’t wanna get Covid all over them. Good lord! How we must think now.

I also don’t hate my chronic pain.

Last summer I began running again, after a long time not running, and after never being even very good at it when I did run. Anywho, that hurt, running. It hurt my lungs, my legs, my pride, it was a struggle to make myself do it each day. It was a lot of varying kinds of pain. It takes some inner fortitude, and, I’m going to use a dreaded sports term, mental toughness, to do that when neither you or your body want to.

And I think I posted in an earlier post about running for the shuttle in Williamsburg and how I could not have done that last summer, but I did it easily this summer.

I’m damn glad I started running.

So, this is where the chronic pain part comes in, chronic pain doesn’t give you a choice, It’s just, “Hello, you’re going to feel a lot of pain over a long period of time, and there is not much you can do about it. You cool with that? No? Okay. Well you’re just going to have it anyway. And here we go….”

I remember a scene in the incredible film Shirley Valentine where Shirley asks a waiter how he is doing, and he says, “I have a little pain in the back, but I say to myself, at least if I have a little pain in the back, means I’m not dead.”

Chronic pain forces you to survive, it forces you to find a way to ignore it or distract yourself from it or in some other way deal with the grind of the ongoing pain.

I think it has given me a higher pain tolerance in general, and a higher tolerance for all things painful and uncomfortable. And for that I am grateful. Chronic pain, you’re like that old friend who we love because we’ve known him forever, but who is reliably a total pain in the ass, and it’s not funny anymore because we’re all over 25 and not drunk. Still, I’m glad you came to the party, because you help me be strong and cope with all manner of challenges in life.

Fellow suffers… I feel you. Hang in there. You can do it. xo~

IT SHOULD BE LIKE A HALF AN HOUR VOLUME 4

Standing Outside A Broken Phone Booth With Money In My Hand (by Primitive Radio Gods).

To begin with, the title. WHAT THE HELL!?!? That title is amazing. I love it.

But, in truth, the song itself is what get’s me, because I only learned the title when I went to write this post.

The song, quietly, insistently, pushes itself into your pocket, and every time you pull out your subway pass, or the crumpled cash for that pack of smokes you smoked back then, the song comes tumbling out.

In some ways this is an 80s song, though I think it came out in the 90s. It has a Pet Shop Boys feel, but I think it surpasses anything they ever did, including West End Girls. And the 80s were mostly high school years for me, so the 90s, college, fledgling adulthood, kind of went by in a blur.

And the 90s bands I was into:

Nirvana, Rage Against the Machine, Sound Garden, Tori Amos, Jane’s Addiction, Pearl Jam… that was a lot of angst right there. And what about Live, and their album Throwing Copper? You remember “Pain Lies on the Riverside?” Damn 90s!

So yeah, and then this song.

I don’t think I ever knew who sang it or its title until today, but every time I accidentally heard it then, and still to this day, I’m like, Just don’t stop. Keep it going. Loop it. Throw the other records away man.

Can you dig it?

THE LITTLE ENGINE THAT COULD

There’s quite a bit of story to this book, which began life as part of a sermon by the Reverend Charles S. Wing, and then had a few iterations before being claimed, so to speak, by publisher Arnold Munk, who published under the pen name Watty Piper. But the story still remains the same, and so does the message: that someone small can sometimes do a large and necessary job if he/she has enough effort and grit.

We love these children’s stories of determination, I think, because we want our children to be resilient. I know I have taken a lot of comfort, in my life, from The Little Red Hen, who did what she wanted to do, even if it meant she had to go-it-alone, and, in true children’s picture book fashion, it all worked out for her in the end.

Sometimes I feel like the little engine, like the tasks I choose to take on are too big for me, and I wonder if I have enough grit and effort to do them.

Anyone out there feeling me?