I am Apostate

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Off the rails, as a nation we have taken our hand off the brake and are watching with morbid fascination as society runs headlong into complete collapse. I do not say this lightly, in fact I have spent a great deal of time considering the ramifications of making this statement at all. Nevertheless, I think if someone doesn’t speak up than how are we to begin to have discussions that perhaps stop the runaway train before it hits the damaged trestle and falls straight down into the abyss.

My generation was supposed to change the world. We marched with Dr. King for Civil Rights, many stood up for change even against generations of tradition within their own families. We cheered when SCOTUS found in favor of the Lovings and put an end to the miscegenation laws. We stood up and protested the Vietnam War and the meaningless deaths of our friends and family for corporate greed, yes we knew even then why war this war was being fought.

We believed in giving back and reaching out, we followed a President who believed in the same things, from this, the Peace Corp was created and we filled its ranks. My generation was supposed to change the world. We decried violence, yet saw our heroes gunned down: John F. Kennedy, Martin Luther King, Robert Kennedy, Malcolm X. We recognized the threats to our ecology by our own actions and from this were born both the Sierra Club and Environmental Movement. We denounced greed and from this, the first voice for Consumer Protection rose up in Ralph Nader.

Warren Court 1962-65 Courtesy of Oyez.com

Finally our generation recognized the disparity in treatment of women in our society, from this Women’s Liberation was born in part  helped by the introduction of the Birth Control pill and the agreement of the Supreme Court that women had the legal right to control their reproductive health.

Yet here we are today, forty-three years after the end of the sixties the decade of great upheaval and dramatic social change and we are off the rails, heading for the abyss and I don’t believe we are talking about the real problems facing us.

I was twelve years old in 1969. I am grateful to those who came before me

Me 1962

and fought for the rights and privileges we
enjoy today. Those who faced jail, violence
and social condemnation so I could marry
whom I chose, pursue the career I chose,
attend the school I chose and manage my
reproductive choices and health.

I am grateful for my voice! For the voice I raised in protest of wrongs since I was old enough to understand it could be raised, I have raised it. Now though it seems my voice, all of our voices are silenced by the clatter of a much louder and insidious blast of sound, the counting of coins. We are convinced now our value is only counted by the zero’s behind the dollar signs or diminished by their lack.

What has happened? It isn’t any one thing, instead it must be a concoction of many parts that have come together to form a toxic brew we are willingly imbibing.

1969 War Protest Image Courtesy of Wikipedia

Why are we so willing to sit back in silence? So willing to hand over privileges and rights to those who have no dog in the fight beyond their own self-glorification and this they have certainly done nothing to earn. Why are we not standing on the steps of Congress and the White House, flooding the streets in protest and demanding our voices be heard above the braying of the obnoxious and hate filled rhetoric of the ideologues streaming through every media outlet today.

I ask this question, yet I am afraid of the answer. I am afraid because the answer might be we view political grandstanding as simply another form of entertainment. We enjoy the show and have forgotten in our lethargy it is not entertainment; it is in fact our future, it is in fact the hand on the brake. The posturing of all those who would be king, is more than entertainment it is the fuel that will break us as a nation, turning friends into enemies and dividing families. The bombastic language combined with ideologies that barely mask the intent to divide us is frightening more because of what it says about our acceptance of open hostility against those unable to defend themselves.

Image courtesy of Wikipedia

Our attention is misdirected and we allow it! We seem content to watch as our options are stripped from us, our opportunities vanish and our voices are silenced under the weight of our exhaustion and our debt. To speak up and speak out will soon mean to be Apostate, perhaps there will be a stake awaiting me in the village square. Nevertheless, I simply cannot sit silent and motionless on a runaway train, can you?

Gossip Ghouls

I have been sitting on this for days, noodling it in fact. Holding it up, shaking it like a snow globe, watching as the thoughts swirl about in my mind. Problem is I keep coming to the same awful conclusion, we have disintegrated

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into spectators of the very worst kind, we are ghouls.

What happened to the notion that some things are private, reserved for the privacy of our homes, for behind our bedroom doors? What hiccup in our social norms has occurred making the propagation of the very worst in human foibles and weaknesses provender for our rubbernecking. How is that we have created an entire group of do nothing and know nothing celebrities simply based upon their complete and utter lack of discretion.

Shouldn’t our lives be segregated into what is appropriate or proper for public consumption and what is more appropriate behind the doors of our homes or locked gates of hospitals? I ask this question in all seriousness, without an iota of snark anywhere. I ask this after having been blinded, my eyes bleeding traumatized by the view of Khloe Kardashian and her husband Lamar Odom and their bedroom antics and ultimately epic failure attempting to spice up their marriage with a sex swing.  Gad, really did I need to see this? In an innocent search for something completely different, I promise I wasn’t searching for –

Sex Swings, Swinging Sex, Swings, Sex, Khloe, Kardashian, Lamar, Odom or even EPIC FAIL

I don’t even remember what my search parameter was that brought the pictures to my screen.

Why I ask did I need to see this in graphic detail? Apparently, it wasn’t enough for them to share the intimate details of their marriage bed. Nor was it enough to know of their purchase, or that they felt their sex life needed a lift? Did I need to be entertained informed of their actual attempts at the use of their new bedroom toy and their ultimate failure to use it properly?

I then am reminded the entire reason the Kardashian sisters are even in the public eye, is the ‘leaked’ sex tape of Kim Kardashian and some person named Ray J, the less talented younger sibling of Brandy. I am further reminded this is not the first ‘infamous’ celebutante who made her name with an accidental sex tape release (Paris Hilton).

Again, what happened to discretion?

We are a nation of voyeurs, so focused on the antics of the famously dysfunctional that we have created an entirely new genre of ‘entertainment’. We are fascinated by Reality Television—

  • Real Housewives of (pick)
  • Sister Wives
  • Jersey Shores
  • Teen Mom
  • Jon and Kate + 8
  • The Bachelor
  • Keeping up with the Kardashians
  • Simple Life

The list goes on and on, I counted over one hundred (100) ‘Reality’ shows on the list I found. Everything from dating to weight loss, nothing absolutely nothing was off-limits.

The famous for being famous, the once famous and now infamous and everything in-between are fodder for our insatiable need for prurient fulfillment. Have our lives become so lacking in color, or is there something else at

P.T. Barnum courtesy of Wikipedia

work? Are we so jaded the only thing that diverts us is the catastrophes of other lives. Have we become so cynical we will pay to watch in living color the lives of other people spin out of control, we will laugh as their disasters pile up one after another and their lives hit the skids for all of us to marvel at. We applaud their train wrecks, happy it is them not us.

Our entire entertainment industry has become one huge freak show the likes of which P.T. Barnum would have been envious of. I on the other hand am dismayed and continue to ask, what are we come to, what are we becoming?

Are we toxic?

Dust Up

I am having serious problems with my house; it is scaring me, causing me sleepless nights even. Really, I am having terrible problems with my house. It keeps getting dirty without any overt action on my part. I have evil nasty gremlins who take pleasure in my slow descent into insanity. I am certain of this; positive in fact there are malevolent Dust Bunny wranglers living in the vents of my house.

First let me say I am a bit retentive, anally retentive that is, about my environment. I need my house to be clean, things put back where they belong, where I put them originally. I do not like disorder in my environment; it makes me a bit demented truthfully. Okay, enough about me and back to my obvious problem with the evil Dust Bunny wranglers and my dirty house.

   It is clear to me this is what comes out at   night to ruin my morning.

Sure, it might be the dog or for that matter the cats. It might even be my intense dislike of laundry; really I do have a deep fear of dirty clothing, it goes along with my abiding hatred of ironing anything. It could be that as I age my standards have relaxed, I am not as retentive as I once was not so controlling. I don’t think this is it though, in fact I know this is not the case based on my reaction each morning when I find myself surrounded by cobwebs, muddy paw prints and those daunting dust bunnies.

I have studied the problem in depth, sitting in my living room watching my cats chase the self-animated dust bunnies across the floor. Truthfully, I am mesmerized by the paw prints across my floor, often thinking to myself, “I should have more closely matched the colors so they don’t make me so crazed.” I have considered never eating from the beautiful dinnerware or using the ‘good’ stainless utensils again, thus avoiding kitchen clean up.

There are a number of other ideas that cross my mind with regularity in my quest to stop the madness of my house running contrary to my desire for order and cleanliness, unfortunately when I have suggested them to my husband this is the look he gives me.

Is he wrong? Is there a possibility I am simply being overly nitpicky? The answer is yes I am without doubt being a bit overly sensitive to my surroundings and the gremlins that are destroying my sanity. I accept even that I am making my husband a bit crazed now and then. I can’t help myself; despite this; I am unable to stop my neurosis.

I sought exterminators for the Gremlin Wranglers, did you know I am the only one with this problem. No one has the solution to these insidious and nasty little beasts.

So what to do?

I have considered giving up hobbies, I could stop my forays into social media and the occasional debates on church and state I enter into, but if I were to do this where would I release my aggravations? If I did this only my husband would suffer, he would be my only remaining target.

I could abjure all forms of writing and the research I do for some of my writing projects. This would solve another problem, the dust bunnies would have one less place to hide, the Gremlin Wranglers one less frontier to conquer (my bookshelves). Were I to take this option my mind would atrophy, I am nearly certain of this, many of my friends wouldn’t like me any longer (maybe this isn’t true) and I would no longer be the woman my husband married (he may see this as a blessing, I will have to ask).

Finally, I could stop working outside of the home, give up my career, stop earning a paycheck and devote all my time to household duties and tasks. Palm meet face…this would not serve the purpose intended, for more reasons than I can count ($$$$$).

This leads me to only one conclusion I need help. I need a housekeeper, someone who can confront the Dust Bunnies, dog tracks, laundry and my neurosis with a small smile and a shake of her head.

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Communication Exchange

I recently received an e-mail from a stranger challenging my thoughts regarding a specific person from history and how that person might align politically today. I didn’t think long or hard about my reply, I simply suggested they read the entire essay before attempting to correct my perspective. Thinking the correspondence was at that point completed I put it from my head. I will admit my response was a bit snarky, impolite even; I have only my own weariness to fall back on. The fact is that particular essay had been written in 2009 and remains a point of contentious debate even today, over the years many have come challenged the premise some politely and some not so much, one person even threatened violence, many have suggested there was a warm place awaiting me  sometime in the future.

That wasn’t the end though. The next e-mail came within a day. It was politely written, though it chastised me for my snark, even the rebuke was done in gentle language. In reading this letter I thought to myself, in all the two-hundred plus comments not once has anyone actually asked me what was I really thinking when I put together this essay, why did I choose what I chose; perhaps this deserves an answer. Maybe it deserves more than, “Because I can, dammit”.

So I sat down to think about this essay, which my new e-mail friend had read twice now according to him. I went back to read it again as well, to make certain I hadn’t missed my own mark in the writing. Then I responded (without snark) with the explanation of my thoughts, the premise and the layers and gradations of the essay. Yes, I also apologized for my previous snippiness. Ultimately, I defended the premise of the essay but agreed I took literary license by assigning a current political stance to a historical figure based on past actions and teachings.

Communication isn’t really communication unless what I say and what you hear (read) are one and the same thing. This particular essay was nuanced; it was also a subject sure to offend some, if not many people. To some degree I knew this when I wrote it, certainly I knew it when I named it and as I tracked the comments I became increasing aware of just how big a nerve I had struck. The problem was the nuances were lost on those who took the greatest offence, but also lost on those who agreed. I learned some important things;

* People will defend positions and icons even when these haven’t been attacked.

* People are often incapable or unwilling to read or hear below the surface and thus miss the tones.

* Always wait for morning to respond to e-mail.

I write other places on other subjects, sometimes more controversial subjects in fact. I have always thought to keep it lighter here so I have a place of solace and restfulness. I like it this way, though my links are here and you are welcome to read my more political thoughts, I don’t plan on bringing them here at this time. I have continued my correspondence with my new friend, he is kind and interesting in his challenges to my thinking. I suspect we disagree on nearly everything based on his stated political leanings. I find our discussions refreshing as they are about the finer points rather than personal attacks you find so often these days when two sides debate the issues.

Just my random thought on communication  and what I learned from a single e-mail exchange.

Pragmatic Romance

Romantic love….romance….passion….amore

Perchance it is all a matter of perspective, our worldview itself that causes us to land on specific definitions of what constitutes romance or romantic love. Certainly, how we enter into and sustain our relationships is in part determined by our own history with love and romance. What we observed as children framed some of our definitions of passion and romance as well.

We are constantly bombarded through media both large and small, fiction and pseudo non-fiction with representations of romantic love, or in some cases the demise of love. Grand gestures fill our grocery store checkout lines, our news coverage; we can’t avoid the latest exploits of whatever celebrity misfits have cheated on one soul mate with their new soul mate, are pregnant with someone not their mate, or have married for hours rather than years. It is impossible to avoid the bling of big love.

This week got me thinking about the notion of romance and romantic love, the reality versus great expectations. What it really means to me, as a wife and a woman versus what society and even my husband might think it should mean. I wondered, have our ideas of romance really changed or is it my own expectations of what I want or need that are discordant with the rest of society.

Is romance really just about grand gestures?

The Free Dictionary says about romance:

1.a. A love affair.b. Ardent emotional attachment or involvement between people; love:c. A strong, sometimes short-lived attachment, fascination, or enthusiasm for something: .2. A mysterious or fascinating quality or appeal, as of something adventurous, heroic, or strangely beautiful

v.  ro·mancedro·manc·ingro·manc·es


1. To invent, write, or tell romances.

2. To think or behave in a romantic manner.

v.tr. Informal

1. To make love to; court or woo.

2. To have a love affair with.

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Some of my friends couldn’t define romance beyond hearts, flowers, champagne and candle light. I liken this to the Tango, wonderful to watch fascinating in fact but hard to dance every day for all of us ordinary folk entangled with life in Mundania. I accept this is a type of romance and real. This week I found it in a wonderful vision written by fellow blogger Raven. I call it a vision because her words are redolent and they allowed me to be swept away for a moment in time, to live vicariously through her.

I slowly brought myself back to Mundania, this is where I live most of the time. I will tell you now; I suspect I am not much of a romantic in the true sense of the word. My poor husband is far more a romantic than I am, in fact he more than once told me I ruined Valentine’s Day forever. My versions of romance is often twisted and rarely in alignment with social norms, or so I have been told.

Anyone can follow the social norm of candy and flowers once a year. If the best you can do is to remember once a year that you love me and that is romance, I am so not there. The question I would have to ask you, in all seriousness is this, “what if I remembered that I found you sexy enough for a between the sheets romp only once a year, would you stay?” Romantic love is simply, to me at least, the pleasure we take in the company of our partner, not once time per year but all the time.

For me, romance is knowing my partner listened to me, heard me with both ears and so knows intuitively what I need from him. That makes my heart beat faster, that is the very height of romantic love in my little world. The very thought that my partner considers my needs and places them before his wants; that is what does it for me that is what revs my engine. Even if my partner sometimes thinks my pragmatic views of what ‘turns me on” are the height of unromantic, he just needs to go with the flow don’t question it, don’t challenge it just accept that this is what jumps my starter motor.

Always remember intimacy is directly tied into how good I feel about my environment and you being in it. If both partners remember that small detail, now we have romance and we are dancing a synchronized Tango. If we can both remember, we are different in our ideas of romantic love, mine is tied to made beds and clean kitchens and this is what gets the romance bank to full. It isn’t that I want my partner to do all the housework, it is that I want my partner to share responsibilities for getting things done, recognize our shared contributions to maintaining a home is part of what matters to me and proves to me that I matter to him.

My partner doesn’t have to love what I love; he only has to love me enough to care about the things I care about. That is what romantic love is to me, that is what keeps the fires burning.

Growing Up Valentine

Vinegar Valentine

Teachers sucked, for some reason growing up Valentine meant I was supposed to be more attuned to Valentine’s Day than others in my class. My mother was supposed to make cupcakes and heart shaped cookies (she couldn’t bake well the rest of the year why should now be different) and I was supposed to like my classmates more on this day.

I didn’t like them more and didn’t enjoy the theater of handing out paper dollies with “Be My Valentine” to 28 sniveling brats.

As I got older, it didn’t get better, if anything it got worse. The jokes got stupider, the idiocy of a day ‘just for me’ got even more ridiculous.

Really? Hallmark made a day just for me and wrapped it up with Red and Pink hearts and romantic chocolate, how did they know? Obviously they didn’t ask me; I hated pink, wasn’t very good at romantic gestures either.

These days when asked how to spell my name, I reference the massacre in Chicago; unfortunately the reference is usually to obscure for anyone but those who enjoy Gangster movies.

Growing up Valentine did have an upside though, at least one day a year besides my birthday I usually could get a free drink at the neighborhood bar.



Hope your Hallmark day is fabulous.

Faces of Beauty

I find I needed to return to the issues surrounding women and our fascination with beauty, more importantly society’s fascination with it. This is particularly important to me, as a woman in my 50’s, not even my early 50’s but hitting the very center of the mark this year. I look at our world, the young women who represent ‘beauty’ in the media and realize it is a rare thing indeed for one of them to be a natural beauty, to not have had some part of themselves changed in some way shape or form. By the time they hit thirty they are already chasing ‘wrinkles’ and in fear of aging.

What? Really? It just makes me want to shake them by their shoulders till their brains rattle, but then I think to myself, it is very likely their brains are already rattled and my intervention would do little to no good.

There was a time we venerated beauty in its natural state, with a fair degree of variety and acceptance there were differences among us. Every nose wasn’t perfectly straight and narrow, every face wasn’t perfectly symmetrical; indeed part of what defined beauty was its uniqueness. This is not to say they weren’t helped along by great lighting, perfectly applied make-up and of course, tight foundation pieces, they were nonetheless beautiful.


 Gina Lollabrigida (sodahead image)

 Barbara Stanwyck (sodahead image)  Lauren Becall     (sodahead image)

 Betty Grable       (sodahead image)

Something has been so firmly entrenched in our psyche over the last few decades we believe the hype, we believe we can stop time, stop gravity and if we don’t do so we will be somehow “less”. Now we have so corrupted our standard, so devalued women in their natural beauty many of us will do anything to stave off aging and pursue a version of perfection that leaves us disfigured forever.


 Lisa Rinna          (Sodahead image)

 Priscila Presely   (Sodahead image)  Jenna Jameson (BestandWorst Image)

 Dontella Versace      (zinbio Image)

We come to a time when even young women willingly inject a homogenized form of Botulism into their faces, that’s right a lab created version of the Black Death, into their faces in the hope of staving off the natural progression of age. What is wrong with society that we have gone to such lengths to convince an entire gender they are simply not good enough as they are and by doing so not only stripped them of their confidence but created a billion dollar industry.

Consider, though created in labs this is in fact what we inject into our bodies in pursuit of youth and beauty.

Five days after sustaining a compound fracture of his right arm, this 14-year-old boy noticed that he had blurred vision. Four days later, he could not swallow, move his lips, or protrude his tongue. Other findings inc)http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Botulism1and2.JPG

Honestly, give me a bit of growing old gracefully and with a small bit of panache. Maybe even a little vinegar and vim. Let me please, just be able to squeeze my jiggly parts into some spandex and even if I have to lower the number of inches on my heels, let me still be able to put my feet into them and sashay for special occasions please. Let me not be so afraid to age I inject poisons into my proof of a life lived, freezing my face forever into a portrait straight out of Madam Tussauds Wax Museum.

In fact, let me emulate a true woman and lady:


 Betty White, 1955 (Sodahead Image)

 Betty White, 2010 (Wikipedia Image)

Let me count my wrinkles with relish, enjoying that I earned them! I did stupid things before I knew they were stupid, playing in the sun, riding my bike down steep hills and building sand castles on beaches so I could watch the rolling waves wash them away. I traveled, often getting lost in strange cities only to find the greatest bistros and bars. I drank Mescal straight from the bottle on star lit pyramids in Mexico, even eating the worm once. I have a antique sea chest filled with photo albums of nearly 40 years of life lived, life that is etched into memory and will someday be etched into my face and other body parts. A body that has already certainly felt the affects of gravity much to my constant dismay.

I ask only that I age gracefully in heart and spirit, retaining some humor please. Maybe also this, when I am finally tired.

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Lost in Transformation

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That first rush of infatuation, the giddiness of a new relationship. It is like riding a tilt-a-whirl at the carnival, up and down, faster and faster and then the sudden stop. The world comes crashing in and down around us.

Does he like you as much as you like him? Is he the one? Are you the one for him? What should you do, how much should you do? What does he like? Who can you ask that will tell you his likes and dislikes with precision so you can follow a script to his heart. When will he call again? Should you call him? How many texts a day are too many? His last girlfriend was a blond, should you bleach your hair? His last two girlfriends had big tata’s, does this mean he is definitely a breast man, how do yours measure up? Should you ask him or just get a new rack as a surprise, how much does that cost anyway.

STOP…..are you insane or have you simply forgotten yourself in the rush to find a mate.

Do you find you have suddenly stopped girls’ night out? Are your friends wondering where you are or worse who you are because when they call you these days you rush them off the phone to keep the line free while you wait for him to call. This is a sure sign you have begun the slow descent into the strange and horrifying world of lost personalities and lives, that place where you leave yours at the door called ‘relationship’.

Linger too long in this bleak alternative universe and it is a hard road back into the life you left behind. Worse yet, the partner you are pursuing might not join you in that desolate place you have stumbled into; you may be on a lonely excursion. What were you thinking when you made the decision to forget yourself, your friends and even your family excluding them from your life in favor of your newfound paramour? Did he ask for this sacrifice or is it just your way of showing him your dedication and love.

If you remember the list from the first in this series, Chasing Perfection several of the items on that list had a consistent theme:

  1. Giving up our own life (family, friends and interests)
  2. Lack of Ambition or Sacrificing Ambition
  3. Not being our authentic selves
  4. Trying to change ourselves, worse trying to change him

These are clearly woven together into a single strand and for those of us who transform ourselves in our desperate attempts to be loved and accepted we are ultimately lost to ourselves and those who truly loved us just as we were. So what happened? Where did we detour on the road to self-actualization, personal ambition and fulfillment in favor of what can only be termed emotional thralldom.

Before going further, it is important to sweep out the notion that we are talking of those circumstances brought on by abusive partners. Those partners who isolate you from society and strip you of self-esteem, financial support and personal ambition do so to enable their abuse. While it is true if we see the early signs and don’t run, we are enablers through our continued presence. Usually abuse of this nature is slow and stealthy. The abusive relationship has an entirely different pathology and one that we won’t delve into here.

Lost in Transformation

The phone rings and you don’t answer unless it is him. How many Friday nights have you waited for him to call? When did you determine his phone call was more important than chatting with your friends or for that matter a

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Saturday of shopping? You use to take on special projects at work, sometimes working late nights or over the weekend to complete them; this represented opportunity for you to advance in your chosen career. Now your boss wonders if you are ill, perhaps have a brain tumor because not only aren’t you volunteering for special projects your regular work is suffering and you are out like you have rocket fuel under your heels at 5:00pm sharp.

You are making clear choices in your life, giving up yourself your friends and your personal ambitions to mold yourself to someone else. Ask yourself, did that person ask for these sacrifices? Are you far enough along in a relationship where these sacrifices are warranted? Is there any clarity to your thinking in making these changes, who are you becoming and in this becoming how authentic are you now?

The person you were when you went on your first date who was that person? Isn’t that who was attractive to the man you are now changing your cosmos for? Will he still be attracted once you change yourself completely into who you believe he wants?

Do you honestly believe in making the changes you will somehow, some way retain your true and authentic self or is that less important than gaining the man?

How happy will you be once you have converted entirely to a shadow of the person you once were to gain the esteem and love of a man you barely know and who will now never know you.

Red has done a marvelous piece on Self-Actualization and I recommend a stop at her shop to participate in this discussion.

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