Wednesday, January 23, 2013

What NOT to say to a Woman

What NOT to say a Woman:

Ok~ most of my blogs are written to and for women… I’m going out on a limb here. Some things have….well let’s just say come to my attention…….and so today is for the fellas……now since most of you were dragged over her to read this by your wives and/or girlfriends……..thanks for joining us and bear with me….

SO here is today’s Top 10 List of What NOT to Say to a Woman:

10. You remind me of my ex.

Now this SHOULD go without saying~ but believe it or not THIS has been said to me in the last 6 months and NOT by a man I was romantically involved with or who I had ever even met in person. WTF? REALLY? Who in their right mind wants to be compared to someone’s EX???

9. What’s for Dinner?

If you come home and there is NOTHING cooking~ it is safe to assume that she has had a very bad day and will NOT be cooking any dinner.
If you come home and you cannot identify what is cooking it is safe to assume that she has most likely spent the day trying to come up with something NEW and now would NOT really be a good time to question it.
If she gets home and you are already THERE and you ask her this~ be lucky you are alive to read this at all.

8. Well that was <dramatic pause> interesting.

            We ALL know this means you found it
A.     Disturbing
B.     Insulting
C.     Offensive
D.     A sexual turn on
E.      All of the above
And whatever you DO: DO NOT follow up “well that was interesting” with “wanna try that?” TRUST me on this one~ she will NOT want to try it.

7.  Are you wearing that?
There is NO possible WAY to make THIS not sound like an INSULT. If you are underdressed politely say: “I just need to change”. If you are overdressed politely say: “I just need to change”. If you think this outfit does not look good on her politely shut the fuck up.

6. Do I have to go?

            If she invited you to go, got ready to go and is going herself~ then YES, yes you have to 
go. To ask her this only make the next 1-1.5 hours miserable for her because she will be worried that you are not having any fun. And ultimately it will piss her off~ she told you about this event three weeks ago, reminded you twice and more than likely picked out your damn clothes: YOU’RE GOING.

5. After she asks you a question like: with these skinny jeans should I wear the jeans  tucked IN to these boots, or left OUT? DO NOT launch into a dissertation about how most women do **not** look good in skinny jeans. We AGREE. We KNOW. We ALREADY HAVE THE FUCKING JEANS ON~ just let. it. go.

4. Are you drunk?

If you have to ASK then you do NOT want the answer. If she IS, she will be offended because you think she is somehow behaving inappropriately. If she is NOT, she will be offended because you think she only ‘brings this up’ or ‘wants to try this’ when she is drunk………just TRUST ME there is NO way to ask a woman if she is drunk. And there is NO way to tell a drunk woman to ‘just calm down’. It’s like trying to baptize cat and IT WILL NOT WORK.

3. I am dating a new girl and she is a lot like you.

Now~ this may SEEM like #10~ but is actually far, far worse. It says……..I have moved on and I have chosen someone **better** than you with some of your qualities. Again~ NO WAY to make this sound remotely good. And there may very well be a voodoo doll that looks A LOT like YOU in her drawer!

2. Do you have any <insert your needed laundry item here> clean somewhere?

If she had it~ the fucker would be in your drawer. If the laundry is NOT done~ she feels bad and **immediately** like she needs to do better. NO woman has a fucking secret stash of laundry CLEAN and FOLDED somewhere.

Now this is most often said in response to  “how do I look?” or “Do I look okay?” NEVER EVER answer THIS. Chances are: she spent 5X longer getting ready than you did. She changed clothes at least 3 times. She is feeling vulnerable. If you SAY this and it is NOT in response to a question~ well then you are lucky to be alive to read this at all. If you have the BALLS to say this without even looking at her~ well then good luck with your balls~ you have to sleep some time. 

Sunday, January 20, 2013

On Gender, Equality and Parenting

On Gender, Equality and Parenting

19 January 2013

SOOOOOOO the Ginger has been reminded lately quite a bit of expected gender rolls and of equality. And as a result of many a recent conversation with friends and family alike~ the thoughts are begging an audience.

Now I must confess~ that I have **never** mowed a lawn………and only twice in my life have I operated a snow blower. HOWEVER~ I **could ** do both~ if I chose to do so. For the purpose of clarity~ please allow me a little latitude in going back a bit.

My parents owned a home~~ but they divorced when I was 4 ½ years old. Since then, as long as I can recall (with the exception of the 18 months I lived with my father and step monster) ~ I have lived in an apartment. And as a 19-year-old single mother I had no illusions about being a homeowner. Frankly~~ I **liked** apartment living. Water tank blows~ call the landlord. Roof leaks~ call the landlord. Heat not working~ call the landlord. SOOOOOO……you get the idea.

Fast forward to when I was 23 and began dating the man who would be the love of my life and the father of my future children. Now my dear husband came from a very different upbringing than I. He had lived in a house (a HOME) his whole life. Even more impressive to me~ his family had lived in the same house since he was in second grade. His parents were married 27 years and that marriage only ended with his mother’s death. He had come from a place where taking care of and maintaining a home was second nature.

Not surprisingly his father was opposed to our living together before marriage. From the outset he was also vehemently opposed to ‘renting’ anything~ apartment, house, etc. He said it was a waste of money~~ ‘might as well flush it down the toilet’ he said.

Frankly I was quite surprised when DH not only moved IN with me; but he also rented a house with me. Fast forward lots of years and heartache, multiple rental houses and town homes later~~~~ I was finally in the third trimester of a pregnancy~ with a boy. DH got all emotional (a HUGE, HUGE deal for him) about legacies and what we would ‘leave’ to our son when we were gone~~~ and we began discussing the possibility of home ownership. I expressed my hesitations~ the 30 year commitment of home ownership~ the ‘if something goes wrong it is totally ON YOU’ aspect of homeownership~~ the flat OUT responsibility of owning a home.

Of course his logic won out…..

So off we went looking for a house that we could make a home. It **felt** like we looked at thousands of houses before we found THE ONE. IN reality is was probably only 50~ 90 houses. When we entered the house that would become our home~ we knew….I mean we REALLY knew…….this was our house.

When our Dear Son was exactly 3 months old~ we moved into the house that remains our home.

SO~~~~ back to gender roles and equality.

I am most fortunate that DH and I balance each other out in an almost miraculous way. Both in an emotional way and also in a skill set way. It is rare in this world to find someone who both **shares** your fundamental ideas of parenting and ALSO more than pulls his weight in taking care of our children and our home. DH is a very handy man~ he is an engineer~ he can repair or rebuild literally ANYthing given the time and money to do so. He has more fundamental skills for repair, maintenance and upkeep of a home than I will ever hope (or want) to have. But when it comes to making the house a home most of that falls to me. Painting, decorating, furniture choosing~ ME. Making sure that we get where we need to be on time~ ME. Removing splinters, dealing with blood and ANYthing related to medical needs~ ME.

SOOOOOOOO~ how do we balance our strengths and teach our children to be responsible and well-rounded people?

When we married my girls were 11 and 9. They learned how to mow lawns, change a flat tire, do laundry, clean a house, cook a meal and drive a standard shift vehicle. Some of these ideas were DH’s~ some were mine. And although at **the time** I am certain that my girls hated mowing the lawn AND doing laundry~ I think they both appreciate having these fundamental skills now that they are grown and have homes of their own.

Hopefully we have given **them** the strength and courage to realize that they do NOT NEED another person to ‘complete’ them. They need not rely on another person to complete the fundamentals of daily living. If they are stranded somewhere~ and the **only** available car is a standard shift~ they will be able to get themselves home safely. I am not sure either of them has ever changed a tire~ but they could if they had to. They cook, they clean and they mow lawns.

So here we are 15 ½ years into marriage and 3 new babies (two living) since then………..and I find myself doing ALL of the laundry~ but I have never mowed the lawn. I find myself dusting and cleaning bathrooms ~ but I have **rarely** used the snow blower or shoveled snow by hand. Although I **do** clean the toilets and change the sheets on every bed once a week~  I did not install the new dishwasher and save us the $150 installation fee.

When I worked full time outside the home~ we pretty much split the cooking duties 50/50~ and always with the rule of he who cooks does not clean up after.

Our 7 year old and 4 year old bus their table after dinner, help unload the dishwasher, pick up their rooms, make their beds.

A couple of months ago I was changing the sheets in the boys room and he was huffing and puffing about not wanting to help me……and when I asked him how he thought his sheets would be changed when he was a grown up~ without blinking an eye he said “but daddy never changes sheets”~ DAMN~ point taken.

Now I am sure my husband knows how to change sheets and do laundry~ in fact after his mother died and he still lived at home with his father my DH did ALL of the housework~ and yet here we are. We have fallen into very traditional gender roles~ despite the fact that we BOTH lived on our own and took care of ourselves before we married~ once we settled into a routine each of us more than willingly gave up the things that we are not so great at and/or just don’t like doing.

When I had a flat tire last month~ I got out of the car and just sort of stood there~~ DH came out~ got right into action and had the spare tire on in record time. When our son needed emergency medical help~ DH just sort of stood there paralyzed~ staring at him~ I went into auto crises mom mode and started barking out orders: YOU~ call 911 NOW. YOU~ help me get him out of the crib.

I guess the point of all of this is that we have a balance~ one that **most** of the time works well. Despite my best ‘I am woman~ hear me ROAR. A woman can do anything a man can do’ beliefs~ I am quite comfortable NOT mowing the lawn, or working on cars, or replacing shingles on the roof. And I am fairly certain DH does not mind NOT doing laundry, cleaning toilets, going to the ER with sick kids~ or cleaning up vomit or blood.

Our children WILL learn how to take care of themselves. They will know how to cook, clean, do laundry, change a tire, mow a lawn.

But they will also BOTH know that it’s ok to call AAA or a good friend when you have a flat tire. We don’t NEED to be able to DO everything for ourselves~ we NEED to be able to problem solve and find a way to get the job done if it happens to be something we are not good at or prefer not to do.

I am off to fold more clothes.

Love and Light ~ Ginger

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

What the Hell Is Wrong With the World

What the Hell is Wrong With The World

16 January 2013

30 days ago 20 children ages 6 and 7 were brutally gunned down in an elementary school….along with six staff members…..tales of the bravery of the teachers and the horror of the scene have become fairly well known to some.

Today this now very political and polarizing issue once again was the top news story as the President of The United States signed nearly two dozen executive orders to “toughen gun laws.”

Let me just go on record and say a few things up front:

  1. I wish the POTUS would not have had small children on the stage with him
  2. I do not think that “tougher gun laws” have a snowball’s chance in fucking hell of actually reducing violence of this nature
  3. I do not possess (nor do I want to) even a working discussion worthy knowledge of semi or automatic weapons or the laws controlling them
  4. Criminals DO NOT FOLLOW LAWS

Now that we have that out of the way~ you may be wondering why I have chosen to weigh in on this issue at all……..I do not generally engage in discussions about issues in which I am uneducated or have no interest……and I have already admitted that I know next to nothing about gun laws or weapons…….but I’ll tell you what I do know about: child abuse, mental illness, bullying and the perpetual cyclic nature of domestic violence.

Now I do NOT know the kid’s name (and yes he was little more than a kid himself)….and I do not know his family history….and I do not know if he was abused or bullied…….but I think 99.9% of regular folks would agree that in order to strap on a weapon and methodically move from room to room shooting 6 and 7 year olds ~~he sure as FUCK WAS mentally ill.

So it is a much broader issue that I am weighing in on today……that of What the Hell Is Wrong With the World~~~ that this type of violence has happened **at ALL** let alone more than ONCE??

Many experts far more educated than me have weighed in on just this issue. And many uneducated idiots have also weighed in on just this issue. Frankly it sickens me that so many politicians and zealots have used this tragedy and others like it to push their personal agendas. Many have used it to pass laws that have nothing to DO with what happened, in the name of “preventing” it from happening again. People on both sides of gun ownership get all fired up and point fingers at one another in a your fault~ no YOUR fault tug of war. Regular everyday people suddenly become “experts” on the constitution and weigh in on what the Founding Father’s were **thinking** when they drafted the second amendment in 1791….as if that were even POSSIBLE. And NONE of IT is really all that helpful. And in fact~ I’d wager much of it is actually COUNTERPRODUCTIVE.

SO back to violence and mental illness……as a child who grew up in a home where both were present~ I can say with 100% conviction that it is a VERY difficult cycle from which to escape. Harder still when adults are present or aware of what is happening and do nothing to stop it.

The kid who did this terrible thing did not just wake UP mentally ill that day….that kind of contempt and disregard for human life was undoubtedly present in this young man for quite some time prior to that fateful date in December. I find it difficult to believe that no one noticed something unusual or concerning about this boy~~ a teacher, social worker, friend, parent, parent’s friend ~~~~someone MUST have seen signs~ and maybe they did~ and maybe he was getting treatment~ but I can say (and I think most would agree) any efforts that were made clearly failed.

Now I am not trying to suggest that all persons can be “saved” or even treated effectively~ but I KNOW we can do a better job than what we are doing now.

I KNOW from personal experience that often adults who can and **should** be protecting children turn a blind eye~ or even worse~ assist in the abuse or cover up.

I have 4 living children~ two grown and two at home~ and I know this parenting gig is one of the toughest on the planet~~ add in real life problems, mental health issues, and a difficult past~ and the gig could easily become a disaster.

Often times in my adult life I have wondered how my life might have been different if someone **had** just noticed~ or asked the right questions~ or acted on their gut level hunch that something was just NOT right.

My 7-year-old son came home today and told me that he wants to participate in the talent show at school this year. The inner child in me almost literally quaked in fear. I used to say that **kids** can be very cruel~~ no matter what~ they have an ingrained ability to find SOMEthing, ANYthing to pick on one another about. But now more than ever I realize that children truly do learn what they live. And adults are equally (if not more so) cruel to one another. We are (as a whole) two faced, backstabbing, sellouts.

So I guess the point of my chiming in on this whole tragedy is to say~
If you **suspect** something is wrong~ trust your GUT and ACT on it.
Be the parent your children can imitate safely
Teach your children how to both deal WITH and stick UP TO a bully
Treat one another with kindness and forgive easily~ your children are ALWAYS
          watching ~ even when you **think** they are not
Do NOT turn a blind eye to things you **know** in your heart are wrong~ what
          you SEE is but one TENTH of what is really happening
Reach out~ help a single parent~ volunteer~ give back in what ever way you
          CAN to make a difference, on a very fundamental level, in the life of a child
If you are from an abusive, mental health, bullied or DV history; PLEASE GET HELP.
          Please take extra care in making certain that your children are the LEAST negatively impacted   
          as POSSIBLE by YOUR past.

<3 and Light,