What’s bacon got to do with it, anyway?

I’m still disgruntled at the 1970’s notion that I should “bring home the bacon, fry it up in the pan” and never let “my man” forget he’s a man.
I didn’t remember quite how disgruntled until I read Jennifer Petriglieri’s article “What I Learned About Equal Partnership By Studying Dual-Income Couples” in The Atlantic (October 13, 2019) which stirred up the ole’ memory banks.

Let me start by reflecting on what was missing from that 1970’s advertising jingle and the picture it painted (along with so many other societal messages) for us GenX girls. Missing activities like setting the table, serving the bacon, scrubbing the frying pan, helping the kiddos with homework, making the cupcakes for the school party, getting them to Little League games and music lessons, bathed and to bed on time. All so hubby could have his cuddle with wifey-poo, who — rather than being exhausted by all these activities — was titillated by them and eager to please.

Balance was clearly a foreign concept at the time.
The message was clear. We could have it all as long as we were willing to do it all. This is not just subtext. I well remember a placard hanging on my grandmother’s kitchen wall about the importance of a woman being a servant to family, a saint in the community, and a whore in bed. I paraphrase — but not by much.

My child’s sense of justice was puzzled by the notion that to be good and worthy, a woman must also be bad. In my rebellious late teens and young twenties, I reveled in the supposed freedom of it. When it came time to raise a family, I resented it. At least as much as women before me seemed to resent my pointing out that the boat was somehow missed in creating equal opportunity for both women and men. 
But, it’s good to have a dream, something to fight for, right? What I hope for upcoming generations is that they can find the support and encouragement to really take the bull by the horms and live into the 50/50 marriage described by Ms. Petriglieri.

In her words, such a marriage is about more than splitting the housework equally. It is a “social revolution that starts at home, with both partners making commitments—and a plan—to challenge society’s endless pulls.”

And if that’s not worth fighing for, I don’t know what is . . . 

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a moment in time

I swipe the so-called instant and private message and poof! Gone! 
Rather like those early days when a much younger and smaller you still 
clung to me for comfort. We spent hours – courtesy of the annual pass 
given us for a Christmas present, otherwise we could not have 
afforded it – at the zoo. We would snuggle deep in the stony crevice and
watch jellyfish float up and down, listen to the soothing gurgle of water 
and the tender sounds of harp music. There was peace and comfort 
there – surely worth clinging to, even if just in memory.

Beep-Beep!

Interesting, how at age 50, those early childhood memories become a bit more vivid.

One of the September NaHaiWriMo prompt words was “roadrunner.” This naturally took me down memory lane to Saturday morning cartoons.

Whether at home on the couch with dad, or bouncing on Grammie’s bed while she tried to sip her coffee without spilling from her antics, Saturday morning cartoons were a given. Predictable, treasured time filled with giggles and belly laughs before weekend chores and  errands.

As a young parent, I didn’t have cable. I did have a small TV-VHS player. A friend lent me  videotaped cartoons for my son when we were stuck at home while he got over some lengthy virus. Bored, glum and feverish, I will never forget his delighted laughter as he watchd the first cartton. Soul food!

Who? Me?!?!

It’s so reassuring to know that one isn’t alone in one’s predilections. (Yes, I just used that word.)

Ethan Hauser’s musings on the “plight of the office introvert” in a recent NY Times Op-Ed got me both giggling and mournfully realizing the only way to get an office to myself would be to:

(1) Angle for a significant promotion. (This sadly would mean more extroverted activities, so I ask: when would private office space actually have the chance to be enjoyed in this scenario?)

(2) Cash in my chips and go it alone à la entrepreneurial style. (This leaves me with the not unreasonable concern around start-up success and failure rates, again, leaving one wondering how long that private office could actually be enjoyed?)

Given that admission into a silent-vow convent is not in my immediate future (notwithstanding my delight in Julie Andrews’ singing-nun portrayal), it appears that I might be better off maximizing telework options and filling my space with green, flourishing plant life and a chocolate bowl. This way my friendly coworkers and I can receive the beneficent miracle of a plant’s transpiration and soothing qualities while also enjoying a chocolate rush. And what could possibly be better than that?

la belle-mère

There was simply nothing in the world better than that first crunchy bite of a Granny Smith apple after four years of restriction, discomfort and awkwardness. Braces, glasses, pimples, unruly hair, no skill with makeup, no fashion sense, and frankly, no social skills to speak of . . . but now, all would change, right? Braces gone. Four-eyes exchanged for contacts. Clothing with an eye to shape, color and fit – not just function. Napkins and manners, routine and rules, safety and childhood resumed – someone to guide the transition into young womanhood.

Inspired by the brave woman who took on the gargantuan task of “step-parenting” an adolescent, and the September 17 prompt “juicy apple” from the Facebook group NaHaiWriMo. I think the French have it correct when they call this person the beautiful mother.

breaking free . . .


Ever wonder if writing can help you break free of your chrysalis?  

I now have a dog-eared, highlighted, and notated treatise The
Curmudgeonly Professor's Thoughts on How Writing Can Change Your Life 
encouraging me to use my love of writing to help grow into the next steps 
of my life.

Using concrete examples and simple stories, Professor Blood brings to life the reality and potential in placing pen to paper and freeing one’s mind to explore, discover, simplify, dream, plan and achieve.

Two quotes from his work I share with you:

“. . . our writing project takes on a life of its own, and we have promoted it to be our boss,” reminds me to not fear the call of the muse;

and,

“. . . our daily scribblings . . . stand as testimony to our success in holding ourselves accountable” reminds me of that all important first lesson — sit down and put pen to paper!

There is so much more, and well worth the price. For the cost of about three Starbuck’s lattes you can have this helpful and encouraging resource. Find the Curmudgeonly Professor’s thoughts on this and many other topics at Amazon.com in both print and for Kindle. 

What September Brings

In this month comes the night of the bright Moon.
A cool wind chases wisps of satin across His face,
and his lover clings to fading bushclover, to wait for His kiss.
In dim morning light swallows dip and soar,
courtiers of welcome for geese come home with calls of
“Now! Now is the time for clear air!”
Handle in hand, I pause to look at the western horizon.
Deep blue above crimson and gold holds the now fading day moon.
When raking leaves, breathe deep of the crushed scents. I call you to remember!
Toss handfuls of leaves in the air. Spin in delight under their typhoon of colors,
that land on graying threads to knit a scarecrow hat,
frame dim eyes hidden under folds like a woodland owl orchid.
Do you recall childhood dreams?
Where like a drifting leaf you went where the winds blew?
You were too young to understand that the Monarch calls all home.
Instead you suckled greedily on the nectar of purple aster,
surprised by the gale of October hurricanes,
birthed from the month of the night of the bright Moon.