Mary Beth Writes

Bill Cosby is out of prison on a technicality. The judge said 40-year-old Britney Spear still can’t run her own life. Yesterday 88-year-old war criminal* Donald Rumsfeld died comfortably in his bed.

My gut is twisting. How are you? Power, injustice, and money still row the boat that we’re all on. This nation is playing whack-a-mole with justice, hope, and human rights. It feels ominous. I thought I would just mention this in case you thought it was just you that felt assaulted this morning.

Nope.

 

*“Rumsfeld's sin was not in failing to develop a winning strategy for Iraq. There is no winning in Iraq, because we never belonged there in the first place. The war in Iraq is a war of aggression. It violates the United Nations Charter which only permits one country to invade another in self-defense or with the blessing of the Security Council.

Donald Rumsfeld was one of the primary architects of the Iraq war. On September 15, 2001, in a meeting at Camp David, Rumsfeld suggested an attack on Iraq because he was deeply worried about the availability of "good targets in Afghanistan." Former Treasury Secretary Paul O'Neill reported that Rumsfeld articulated his hope to "dissuade" other nations from "asymmetrical challenges" to U.S. power. Rumsfeld's support for a preemptive attack on Iraq "matched with plans for how the world's second largest oil reserve might be divided among the world's contractors made for an irresistible combination," Ron Suskind wrote after interviewing O'Neill.” https://www.jurist.org/commentary/2006/11/donald-rumsfeld-war-crimes-case/

Been thinking this thought for weeks ...

It’s a meme now. A wrinkled old woman is dressed in super bright and crazy clothes. The post or tweet or birthday card tells you to be as wild and lively as that old lady in order to fully express your age-defying verve and oomph. You aren’t a boring old lady. You are awesome and nutty and filled with joie de vive.

I don’t like those images and I don’t like that message.

I am this many years old and yes, I dress pretty humdrum. Unimpressive clothes tend to be more comfortable – and also, if our outfits are a little dull, people are going to look at our face instead of our clothes. Also, if we need to quickly spy on bad guys we’re ready because it’s pretty easy to not notice us.

I thought we were done with anonymous arbiters of taste telling us what women should look like. Even though I understand the message is supposed to be that that we shouldn’t feel invisible or put down, it doesn’t feel that way. It feels, once again, as if we are being told who is cool and who isn’t.

How many memes have you seen of old men being told to dress wild and free? It’s still about telling women how to look.

Most of us do not wear owl glasses or square-dancing skirts while riding red bikes down hills with our legs lifted high like daredevil 4th graders. It offensive to associate being a free spirit with wearing bright clothes and doing possibly dangerous activities.

I know many, many women in their 60’s, 70’s, and 80’s and so do you. Most of these women are cheerful, generous, loving, and jam-packed with good stories from all the major decades. Not a one of them looks like Woodstock Revisited.

Life is real. Do not judge us by someone else’s cliché image of spirit.

Talk to us. Hear our stories. Watch how we act in our world.

 

On the Home Front. Our Cats.

Yamiche pads to wherever I am in the house. Then because she is heavy and old and most of us know how well one’s knees work as life goes along – Yamiche does not gracefully lower herself to rest against me. What she does is get really close and then she collapses. It feels like a soft, furry brick falling on your leg.

She adjusts herself so that I can scratch her head while I read. Humans can talk and negotiate their trust of each other. A cat just has to presume it will be alright. That Yamiche trusts me is, well, an honor.

then there is Weijia the Home Entertainer. Her M.O. is to come into our office while we are concentrating, jump to a surface, and then find pens and other small things to paw at until she can get them to fall on the floor. You know those finger oximeters one can buy to see if you have covid? We have to keep it in a drawer. That thing has been on the floor so many times…

Today she scared me. I was concentrating and suddenly there was a big crash, and she got several items to fall over at once. I told her loudly and firmly that she had to leave the office.

She twitched her tail at me as she meandered out.

I just got this from Len, who is in the basement painting a cardboard school bus for our granddaughter’s dollhouse. (The grandpa gene is strong in that one.)

 ...

In case I don’t write again (I might) in the next few days. Here’s are two poems for Independence Day.

https://genius.com/Warsan-shire-home-annotated

And then, with Hope, this:  The New Colossus by Emma Lazarus - 1849-1887

Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame,
With conquering limbs astride from land to land;
Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand
A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame
Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name
Mother of Exiles. From her beacon-hand
Glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command
The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame.
"Keep, ancient lands, your storied pomp!" cries she
With silent lips. "Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!"

 

 

 

 

Comments

.....if only...

Amen to all of this! Love the photo of the sunrays, your wonderful face, and the cardboard school bus. Here's to hope and to all of the good stuff !!!

YES! Patricia

Thank you for bringing up the ageism & sexism in those types of cards. I've never liked them but didn't really think of why. Now I know! RE: furry bricks. The sweetest things our pups do is put their heads on our foot when they're lying nearby where we're sitting. This morning, I was cleaning a shelf. Waldo's lying unerneath on a rug and I'm trying not to step on him (this happens a lot around our house because he has a long tail and is always underfoot! Mind you, this is a 65 lb dog. ha ha) and I guess I stood in one place long enough for him to think I was staying, so he laid his head on one of my feet. It was SO SWEET. I wanted to stand still, and did for a minute. Then I explained that mama has to keep cleaning the shelf but thank you for the love. :)

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"Brotherhood" by Mohamed Mbougar Sarr - A Book Review

10/13/2021

“Brotherhood” by Mohamed Mbougar Sarr is the most compelling novel I’ve read this year. I read the first half as if I was reading a book for the first time; it felt as if the writer was expressing a story so powerful he called it fiction just to get it out, to me, to us. 

I skimmed the second half because I was exhausted by the impossible trauma and decisions the characters would need to endure and try to survive.

Let me say right here than many will survive. Not all.

Thanks & Now Let's Do Pups!

10/13/2021

 Thank You!

I sent our collated list of “Ways to Help My Community” to the Third Graders this morning.  Laura has already shared it with them; I just received this from one kid. This was really cool and helpful thank you for coming back to me so quickly well you always respond quickly like all the time and also I like hiring (hearing) from you always make me smile from writing to pictures I love them all.”

3rd graders on Community Building

10/12/2021

... 

I’m just back from volunteering in the third grade.  I’ve done this for five years; Laura Zahn who is this class’s teacher, plus her friend and fellow teacher Mara, have become among my favorite people in Waukesha. 

My Relationship with a Door 10/5/2021

Dear Friends,

I seem to be out of Deep Thoughts lately. Not sure if this is apparent to you but it is to me. This is not exactly a problem but keeps me guessing what in the world I should be writing. Or - since “should” is a sometimes toxic and generally unhelpful word – these days I am not sure what you want to read and I want to write.

So maybe I’ll just write you a quick Dear Friends. Sometimes relationships are just about checking in.

Up North 9/30/2021

Here’s why I’ve not posted anything in nearly two weeks.

Last week Len and I took a trip to Duluth, MN and Ashland, WI. We hiked seven hikes, met new friends, ate too much. (We didn’t eat IN restaurants. We ate take-out dinners while sitting in our car overlooking Chequamegon Bay.) We marinated in the breezy Up North rhythms of woods, streams, rivers, and Lake Superior. 

Then we came home to all that stuff one does up returning; laundry, groceries, and bringing in the Big Dozers to deal with cat litter boxes. 

Cabeza de Vaca & Company: A 500-Year Old Story for Our Time.

I’ve been thinking about Alvar Nunez Cabeza de Vaca for years and I’ve also been thinking about him for a week.

It’s crazy out there in the world right now and people are, I think, kinda sick of each other. Racism, sexism, and classism are the muck we walk through to get to our cars while our climate is turning into flying monkeys. And the rich keep getting richer.

So let me tell you about a guy I admire.

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