When we decided to run away and become lake lizards, one of the most important parts of the process was purging ourselves of belonging that weren’t conducive to our new, downsized lifestyle. I got rid of over thirty pairs of heels, two garbage bags full of Halloween costumes, bins of books, and a whole box of kitchen gadgets (though to be fair, I didn’t know the uses for most of them). I managed to convince Frank to give up his beloved Christmas Story leg lamp, an assortment of bongs, dozens of VHS tapes (of brilliant films like Ernest Goes to Jail), and a bunch of extra bike parts from his BMX days. But, the one thing I couldn’t force him to pare down was his tee shirt collection. For the last thirty years, he’s been gathering shirts from concerts, skate parks, dive bars, and thrift stores. He’d rather part with a testicle than his tees. And, I like both his balls, so I opted to find a way to make them fit into our life and into our captain’s bed.
I know what you’re thinking. Why is this outspoken feminist folding and putting away her husband’s laundry in the first place? Because left to his own devices, Frank will stuff the drawers so full that the bottoms pop out, and we have to replace the damn things. And, I'm a control freak I just sleep better knowing that there is order, not chaos happening underneath me as I slumber.
Now back to this life-changing solution to the great T-shirt quandary. It’s all in the folding…or lack thereof. The traditional way to store shirts is to fold them flat and place them one on top of the other in the drawer. When stacked this way, you can only see the ones on top and when you pull one from the bottom it wreaks havoc on the whole pile. BUT…if you do more of a roll on them by folding them into fourths instead of just in half, and then place them side by side, you can see all the shirts at once. Also, you can remove the desired tee without disturbing any of the others.
Female friends (and fashion-forward men), this method also works with leggings. So, f*ck folding. I am here to extol the roll. Hallelujah.
Come the first snow each winter, Granny Ison used to trudge outside, get a bucket of the white stuff, and transform it into the sweet treat known as snow cream. To my young self, it was a magical mixture. But, as an adult, I know there is one ingredient that makes everything a bit more magical…bourbon.
So, here is my recipe for Kentucky Snow Cream.
Mix milk, sugar, vanilla, and bourbon.
Pour over snow. Begin with 8 cups and just add more as needed. It is free and plentiful right now.
Blend until creamy.
Scoop into bowl or cup (preferably metal to ensure maximum chill is preserved).
Enjoy winter’s wonderful bounty.
Usually I take everything on social media with a grain of salt (or a ring of it around the rim of a margarita glass), but yesterday I read a thread that I could not get out of my head.
A friend posted this meme from Francisco Rendon of our fabulous First Lady, Michelle Obama. One woman’s immediate response was “Bitch.” When questioned on why she disapproved of our FLOTUS, she offered the following, “Mrs. Obama has made so many faces that are unladylike in photographs, refused to say the pledge of allegiance, or to put her hand over her heart, and has said so many things to turn me off, that I will be happy to see her leave the White House. My ideal First Lady was Jackie Kennedy. Poised, intelligent, beautiful, classic in her dress and carriage. A far cry from our current First Lady.” She later went on to add, “When I SEE her (Michelle Obama) do disrespectful things in public, I feel like she shows the worst possible side of herself. Public appearances are such fleeting moments for most First Ladies. How difficult can it be to smile and ‘play nice’?” She went on to ignore facts disproving her allegations, but did offer an apology for not “acting like a lady” herself during this exchange.
So, essentially, this person dislikes Mrs. Obama because she does not fit her notion of what it means to be a “lady.” And, thank God for that.
According to Merriam-Webster dictionary, a lady is defined as:
So, if my goal is to be a lady, I simply must be born to a wealthy man, then find me a man to court, and then behave in a mannerly fashion for the rest of my life. Or, I could be a fully-functioning human with her own accomplishments and agenda.
Historically, to “act like a lady” meant to sit down, keep your mouth and thighs shut, smile demurely, and wait patiently until you were told what to think, say, and do. A lady was expected to look pretty, be sweet, and never raise her voice or eyebrows, especially in challenge to anything said by a man.
If suffragettes Susan B. Anthony, Alice Paul, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Lucy Stone had “acted like ladies,” we wouldn’t have the right to vote.
If Rosa Parks had “acted like a lady,” the Civil Rights Movement would have taken much longer to gain the momentum needed to end segregation.
If Marie Curie had “acted like a lady“ we would not be able combat cancer through radiotherapy.
If women like track star Babe Didrikson, skater Madge Syers, and tennis great Lucy Diggs Slowe had been satisfied to just sit on the sidelines with their ankles crossed, we would not have modern role models such as the players of the WNBA, mixed martial artist Ronda Rousey, or SI’s Sportsperson of the Year, Serena Williams. On a side note, I seriously doubt the coaches of these awesome athletes ever ended a pep talk with, “Now, get out there and act like a lady.”
If computer trailblazer Grace Hopper, had “acted like a lady” there wouldn’t be the accessible technology that is allowing me to blog right now.
The list goes on and on.
“Acting like a lady” is a huge obstacle when it comes to becoming a bold, brilliant, powerful, passionate woman who is not afraid to speak her mind and follow her heart.
I also have to address the request that the First Lady “play nice.” First off, why play nice when you can just genuinely be nice. The phrase itself implies duplicity.
Also, playing nice will not help will you get ahead, but it will help get you dead. In their article, “Self Defense Myth—Don’t Fight Back or the Attacker Will Become More Enraged and Hurt You Worse," the website SelfDefenseCentral.com explains, “Current evidence is overwhelmingly in favor in most cases of fighting back. So why is this myth still so often prescribed? My theory is that past inadequate training, poor socialization of women, and 'good ole boy' mentality historically conditioned women to play the consummate victim. With all this conditioning to fight against, women in general were typically not empowered to fight back. In fact to the contrary, women were taught to be 'nice' and not make a scene.”
Women, it is time to abandon this antiquated view of the female ideal. We must choose values that empower us while uplifting others, not those lame qualities that were deemed appealing by a patriarchal society where we were underserved, underappreciated, and underestimated.
Instead of striving to “act like a lady,” I will strive to “act like a woman.” Keep your pearls and poise, give me compassion and courage, empathy and ethics, power and purpose, and an open-mind filled with all kinds of original thoughts and controversial opinions, which I shall not be ashamed to voice.
Those who demand I “act like a lady” will see just how unladylike I can behave.
Let's begin with a haiku, shall we?
Yoga, kale, more sleep, less booze.
None kept past midmonth.
I've never been able to keep a resolution, at least not a big one like saving $5,000 or running a marathon or writing for five hours every day. So for 2016, I’ve come up with a baker’s dozen of mini-resolutions. These are small feats that I feel will enrich my life but not take so much time and effort that I become overwhelmed and give up. No hard core, every single day, crazy-making, dread-driven tasks. Instead, just little life enhancers.
1. Choose one go-to karaoke jam, learn all the words, and choreograph some fresh moves to go with it. Right now, I’m leaning toward “You Can Call Me Al” by Paul Simon.
2. Date more. Don't judge, I'm not stepping out on Frank. Quite the opposite. I'm going to make the same effort I did when we were dating. You know, flirt like I don't have a ring. Look at him through lover’s eyes. Plan surprises. Gussie up, just for him, on occasion. Laugh at his jokes instead of rolling my eyes. Go to the movies, share popcorn, and then hold greasy, buttered hands. Maybe do other things with greasy, buttered hands.
3. Reclaim the splits, and then not be afraid to haul them out as an ice breaker at parties.
4. Read outside my comfort zone. Peruse graphic novels and comic books, especially “Batman” so I can join my husband with his “Gotham” obsession.
5. Love my liver. After twenty-five years of living like a frat boy on spring break, it's time to give my liver a vacation. Before you look out the window to witness the flying pigs, let me just clarify, I'm not going to stop imbibing. I'm just going to focus on conscientious consumption. Drink less, but enjoy every sip more.
6. Turn on some tunes, crank up the volume, and dance my ass off…often...and just because.
7. Put that kettle to use and drink a spot of tea. No fancy loose leaf picked by a Peruvian shaman and then steeped in some diamond-inlaid infuser necessary, pre-bagged will do just fine.
8. Master the art of the guilt-free "no." I want to say “no” like a toddler does—loud, proud, with a foot stomp and no remorse.
9. Get a globe and figure out exactly where shit is happening in our world. Also, a globe is a good reminder that we all share one precious planet.
10. Finish “The Queen of Hawthorn Holler”...for real this time. It is time to give this novel wings, push it from the nest, and let it either fly or crash to the ground.
11. Become really competent and comfortable using power tools so I can create driftwood art and build a desk and chainsaw carve a Sasquatch sculpture.
12. Post a You Tube video, and resist the urge to read any of the comments made about it.
13. Blog on a regular basis.
See, I’ve already got a good start on #13. I think this is going to work. 2016...indeed.
Sharing All I KNOW about the fine art of voluptuating. here's to living the lush life.