But What Would the Logo Look Like?

I had a dream that I was the owner/operator of a canoe rental shop named “Row vs Wade,” because even my subconscious loves puns. I woke up laughing but also knowing it wouldn’t work. For one thing, I live in Utah, which is a desert for both water and pro choice liberals. The bigger problem is that we also suffer from a lack of a sense of humor, so I guess I won’t rush out and license my brand… yet.

It would be a good fit in Seattle. Or Austin. Maybe I should look into that license… just in case this career in pharmaceuticals doesn’t pan out.

I Voted

A few weeks ago, a friend of mine made a statement about the stupidity of “I Voted” stickers.  He called them a waste of money. I rolled my eyes.  Lately I feel like I can’t go a full day without rolling my eyes at a white man.  (In fact, the other day, I was trying to drive out of grocery store and a middle aged white man stopped on the sidewalk, right in front of my car – in a clearly marked exit – and began to tend to a hangnail.  It lasted so long, I began to narrate.  “Behold, the middle aged white man in his natural environment. Notice his complete confidence in his status of his surroundings. He is oblivious to the needs of others, and is even unconcerned by the fact that he is stealing that shopping cart.  An act which, no doubt, will be blamed on a brown child.”)

I took the sticker thing personally because, not long before, I was lamenting about the fact that I voted by mail and therefore would not be getting a sticker. It is a small thing but I love them.  I love the way wearing one makes me feel, because it reminds me of how lucky I am to be living in this time and place, no matter how frustrated I am with the system as it stands.

My grandmother (my Mom’s Mom) was born in 1909.  William Taft was president. The “Gilded Age” was ending, but it would be another five years before “The Great War” began.  And, in 1909, women could not vote.

As of 1870, all American men had theoretically been granted the right to vote through the 15th amendment. (“The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of race, color, or previous condition of servitude.”  Of course, in practice, we know the exercising of this right was more complicated and fraught.)  The fight for women’s rights had picked up steam in the 1840s, but still had a long way to go. In 1875, the US Supreme Court unanimously decided in Minor v. Happersett that the 14th amendment (“No state shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any state deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws) did not grant a woman the right to vote.  The justices granted that a woman was a citizen but determined that the right to vote was not a constitutionally protected right of all citizens.

The fight raged on for many decades, and it got ugly.  Many people (including a number of women) were against votes for women.

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Nonetheless, as they say, they persisted.

 In 1918, 100 years ago, some white women of England were given the right to vote.  They had to be over 30 and either own property or be the wives of property owners.

White women of the United States were granted the right to vote in 1920, when my grandmother was 11 years old.  This is not a historical figure that I have only read about.  I knew her; we had a relationship. She died when I was a teenager.  Women got the right to vote a mere 24 years before my mother was born.  It will be another two years before we can celebrate 100 years of Women’s Suffrage in the United States.

At the risk of beating a dead horse, my point is: that was not very long ago!

Many other groups had to wait even longer.  In 1924, Native Americans were granted citizenship and given the right to vote. In 1943, Chinese American immigrants were granted citizenship and the right to vote.  African American women were not able to vote in some Southern states until the 1960s.

The forefathers of our country sacrificed and labored so that we could have this experiment in democracy, wherein the right to vote was given to white men of property.  Since then, thousands of people fought and died to secure the right to vote for every citizen, and the fight goes on.  In Florida, people are voting this very minute to determine if convicted felons who have served their time should have their voting rights restored.

The vote is the important thing. The sticker is just the little side thing that you can wear with pride, if you so choose.  But I want that fucking sticker.  Even if I have to make one for myself.

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You don’t have to want the sticker.  But please vote.  No matter who you are, someone made a sacrifice so that you could.  Getting out there and voting is the only way to say “thanks.”

Spoiler Alert

I just heard this story on an NPR podcast about a pair of Russian researchers who got in a fight in Antarctica. Apparently, they had spent way too much time together in their cramped quarters, and one of them thought it was funny to ruin the endings of the limited number of books available on the research site to pass the time.  The other guy didn’t think it was funny, and stabbed the spoiler in the chest.  Vodka was involved.

Do you ever hear a story about a crime and get a little chill because you realize that, under a very specific set of circumstances, you could be driven to violence, and even murder?  Yeah… well… Antarctica, vodka, & confined spaces?  Those are some extreme circumstances.  A book spoiler would be like match in a gas can.  In his place, I totally would have stabbed that bitch and then launched into a parka clad rendition of the Cell Block Tango as they hauled me back to Saint Petersburg.

By the way, the “victim” didn’t die.  He was transported to a hospital in Chile for treatment.  Hopefully, while he is there, he can get some rehab for his dickishness as well.

Witches Brew

I just learned a historical fact that blew my mind.

Matt is reading a book on the dark ages right now, and he told me that there is a paragraph describing that from ancient times, beer was made almost exclusively by women.  But in the 1500s, men decided that they wanted to take over beer making as careers and set about putting the brewers known as “alewives” out of business.  So they called them witches and drove them out beer making.  Here is a video that shows how the details we associate with witches, such as brooms and cats, directly came from the legacy of the alewives.

So interesting!  Makes me want to go buy another pumpkin, carve the word “Patriarchy” on it, and smash that motherfucker.

Happy Halloween, Bitches!  Get your brew on!

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Crossed Cables

I finished a blanket that I started in the summer. I knit in the evenings while we watch TV and usually I give the stuff I make away, but I decided I wanted to make something for us to keep.

It was finally done, so I bound off and shaped it. Then, the first time I used it, I saw this:

Gah!

Matt says he doesn’t see what I’m talking about and that I’m the only one who will notice… but damn that’s annoying.

Oh well. It’s soft and mostly purdy. Almost as purdy as my pumpkin colored toes.

The pattern is the “Cross Roads Cable Knit Blanket” by Gayle Bunn. I think I found it on Ravelry, and I’m pretty sure it was free because I’m cheap like that.

Deck the Howls

This is how I decorate for Halloween:

This is how my neighbors decorate:

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To be honest, they are in a different neighborhood but I couldn’t think of a word for someone else that lives in your city but not on your block.  Citymate? Neighboring-neighbor? I dunno.  But I think of them as the owners of the Halloween House and I have to go by to see what they have come up with every year.  (I’ve blogged about them a time or two before.)  I think this is my favorite so far; they have really outdone themselves.  One of these days I need to stop when someone is in the yard.  I have so many questions!  Mostly to do with budget and storage.

To be a little more honest, I have one more Halloween decoration.  It is five feet tall (just shorter than I am) and it looks like this:

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The dogs’ names are (from left to right) Zero, Maxwell Silver-hammer, and Queequeg.  (I name everything, by the way.  I originally named the parrot and cat skeletons Polly and Pyewacket, but only to myself.  Then, on a whim, I asked Ethan what he thought their names should be and he said, without hesitation, “Pierical,” pointing at the parrot, and “Port Jackson,” pointing at the cat.  So, obviously, those are their names now. He said he didn’t know where he got the ideas for his names but clearly we were both feeling the letter “P.”)  I bought the inflatable dogs last year after the fellas moved in because I wanted to make sure we had a fun yard for Ethan and the neighborhood kids.  And also because, dogs.

Months later, long after Halloween, one of my neighbors stopped me to say hi and she mentioned the big dogs.  She said that her daughter loved them.  “And I mean, she loved them.  One day, we came home and they were deflated and she started to cry.  ‘They’re dead! ‘They’re dead!’ I couldn’t console her!”

“Oh, I’m sorry! I was unplugging it during the day to save power.  But you know, they are ghost dogs.  So, technically, they were dead the whole time.”

My neighbor responded with that blank look that translates as a reminder to socially awkward people to avoid face to face contact in the future.

At any rate, they are back up for the holiday.  And I haven’t unplugged them this year.  Not even once.

A Walk in the Woods

I was hiking with Matt the other day.  I wasn’t supposed to be free that day.  I was going to a baby shower and Matt was planning to hike on his own.  Then, a few days before the shower, my friend went into labor and the shower has been postponed, indefinitely.  With one extra guest.  So I went hiking instead.

We were walking up a trail and I was thinking about my friend and her new baby girl, who hadn’t yet been named.  Matt made the comment that the terrain we were hiking through looked like the area where the show Deadwood was shot. I agreed, and that make me think about the character Trixie.  Because I was already thinking about names, I started to think that I’ve never known anyone named Trixie, and I wondered if there were ever serious women named Trixie before the name got reserved for the hooker with the heart of gold living in a western town archetype.  I would think that would have been maddening, to be a socialite or philanthropist with the name Beatrix “Trixie” LaRue and everyone sniggering behind your back, no matter how many tasteful paintings by starving artists that you bought.  That thought made me want someone to do a social experiment where they name a kid a ruined hooker name like Brandy or Cinnamon and then send her out in the world to see if she can get a PhD, because I bet she can’t. That is when I decided Cokie Roberts was probably born “Cookie” Roberts, but then one day, she realized she was going to write books and argue with distinguished men on TV so she changed her name. Then, every time someone accidently called her a name synonymous with little dismissive discs of sugar and frosting, she would yell, “It’s Cokie! Like ‘cocaine.’ Got it? “And then she would throw a hairbrush at their head.  Smart lady.

This has been a tour inside my head and thought processes. Thank you for taking it with me.

Put a Bird on it

I made a shot glass with a swallow on it. Get it? A shot? A swallow? It is possible that I’m confusing my birds and this is a swift. If so, this joke makes no sense.

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The boys didn’t think my arrangement was all that “spooky,” so I added a raven and a severed limb.

It is so fun to decorate now that there is a little one around. But if I’m being honest, it’s really for me. Ethan just wants the candy.