Let’s get loud

Being ladylike means being loud and changing the world

Photo by Andrea Piacquadio on Pexels.com

My granddaughter – let’s call her Echo – is loud.

She is gloriously, beautifully, loud.

She is the kind of loud that 20 years ago, I would have frowned at had I heard her in public.

“Can’t her parents control her?” I would have thought to myself or said to my companion. “She needs to behave!”

That’s when I was still part of the patriarchy.

Now I know better.

Now I know that my childhood – that my *life* – of being told to be quiet – that I was too bossy – that I used too many big words that made people feel stupid – was not about me but about the people who were speaking. That boys and men who were acting the exact same way were not getting the feedback I was getting.

Now I know that only girls and women were and are being told to shush.

Now I know and now I am pissed.

Mr T and I just visited our wonderful, beautiful Bonus Children and Grandchildren. (Did I ever tell you how honored I am that my Bonus Daughters call me “Grandma” to their kids? It is one of the great joys of my life.)

I hadn’t seen them since before covid, when Echo was only a toddler. Even then, she was loud and bold and her parents let her be that way.

I loved it.

I loved that they didn’t hold her back. She held her own with her brother and her two male cousins.

And that has continued to today. At seven, she is piercingly loud. And she is taking tae kwon do with her brother. She is loud and confident and she doesn’t take crap and she makes potions to smite her enemies.

And her parents don’t shush her.

They don’t tell her to sit down and be quiet.

They don’t tell her that little girls should be seen and not heard.

Instead, they drive her to tae kwon do.

They got her an old table where she can make her potions.

They got her a karaoke microphone to channel her voice.

They listen to her.

They listen to her.

They listen to her.

And when the day comes that someone tries to grab her butt while she’s waiting tables, she’s going to level him with a swift chop.

When the day comes that she learns she’s being paid less because she’s a woman, she’s going to raise the roof.

When the day comes that someone sneers that they know why *she* got the job managing a system-wide implementation (she is of Filipino heritage), she will know exactly what to say and at what volume. (Hint: It’s because she is a fabulous developer.)

Nobody will tell Echo to be quiet.

Nobody will shut her up.

Nobody will keep her down.

I. Can’t. Wait.


To eat or not to eat

Whether tis nobler to offer or to accept

Photo by Maksim Goncharenok on Pexels.com

In this post about Poor People Rules, someone comments “my nan used to tell us not to eat food that was offered [at someone else’s house], because she didn’t want people to think we weren’t fed.”

Others note that you didn’t accept food at someone else’s house because they might not have enough for themselves.

When I was a kid, my mom, my brother, my sister, and I were driving across country. We stopped to spend the night with friends of my parents, but before we got there, my mom fed us. I don’t remember what we ate. It might have been sandwiches – my parents usually brought a cooler where they kept sandwich meat and milk (and of course bread and cereal) so we had food on the road.

When we got to the friends’ house, it was suppertime. And they asked us to join them. Because they were gracious.

Also, they knew we were coming.

When we knew people were coming, we planned for them to eat with us.

I think they were having pizza. From a parlor, not homemade.

Which is something we never had at our house.

So my siblings and I, even as my mom was saying no, we had eaten, we weren’t hungry, said YES WE WANTED PIZZA!

My mom was upset with us.

Later, she told us that we should not have accepted the pizza.

We were really confused, because she had never taught us this rule.

(Also, we kids slept in sleeping bags in the basement with the other kids and our mom slept in the kids’ bedroom. I think ADULTS SHOULD GET THE BEDS JUST SAYING.)

My mom was and still is a gracious hostess. If you go to her house, you are fed. Period.

Weeks before we visit, she emails to ask if she should prepare this item or that. Does Mr T eat this? Does Mr T eat that? She wants to make sure people are happy in her home. It is a wonderful quality.

When I was in college, I had about six friends spend a long weekend at my mom and dad’s. My mom cooked for us – she made enchiladas and DONUTS FROM SCRATCH.

She was amazing.

She was cranky that one friend didn’t write a thank you note.

(She was correct to be cranky about that.)

I don’t know why my mom thought we shouldn’t accept hospitality from someone else. Maybe she knew something about the family’s circumstances that we kids did not?

My mom and my dad taught me to be welcoming. They taught me to offer hospitality to everyone who walked into my home.

I was shocked the first time I met Mr T’s parents. We had flown from Wisconsin to Jacksonville, then driven an hour to St Augustine, arriving at about 1:00. I was starving.

We walked into their house and I waited for the offer of food and water.

None came.

I waited some more.

And some more.

After half an hour, I finally asked for a glass of water.

When I remind Mr T of this story and tell him about the facebook post about not accepting food at someone else’s house, he says, “Nah, my parents were just rude.”

I’m still not sure what to think about what happened with my mom not wanting us to eat at the friend’s house. There must have been something going on. What were the rules when you were a kid? Did you eat at other people’s houses?

Who controls reproduction?

Are we humans? Or are we cattle?

“The first agrarian states, says James C. Scott, were born of accumulations of domestications: first fire, then plants, livestock, subjects of the state, captives, and finally women in the patriarchal family—all of which can be viewed as a way of gaining control over reproduction.” (About the book “Against the Grain” by James Scott.)
Photo source

Chloe is pregnant.

She does not want to be pregnant.

My first thought when my dear friend, Chloe’s mother, told me about the pregnancy, was “What are the abortion laws in Florida?” “What are the abortion laws in the states that border Florida?” and “At least Chloe left Wisconsin.”

Nothing else matters except that Chloe does not want to be pregnant, but I know everyone always wants the details.

She recently completed graduate school and is now a special education teacher.

Her dad, to whom she was very close, died last fall of a heart attack at age 60 and Chloe has been struggling with deep grief.

She had been dating a guy casually. This time, the birth control failed.

She took a Plan B, but a few weeks later, she realized she was late.

Abortion is legal in Florida, but it is not easy.

Abortion policies currently in effect in Florida include the following:

  • Abortion is banned at 15 weeks and later
  • Patients forced to make two trips—one for in-person counseling and another at least 24 hours later for the abortion
  • State Medicaid coverage of abortion care is banned except in very limited circumstances
  • Parental consent or notice is required for a minor’s abortion
  • Only physicians can provide abortions and not other qualified health care professionals
  • Unnecessary regulations are in force and designed to shutter abortion clinics without basis in medical standards
Guttmacher Institute

Chloe does not want to start a family now.

She does not want to marry the man she is dating. Or, at least, she does not want to marry him now.

She does not want to have a baby on her own.

She does not want to give a baby up for adoption.

What she wants is to not be pregnant.

Florida requires an ultrasound and counseling, followed by at least a 24-hour wait.

The clinic in her town doesn’t have an appointment until the end of March.

She can be seen next week at a clinic an hour away.

She can’t make her follow-up appointment until she has had the ultrasound.

She will have to take two days off from work.

It will be hugely inconvenient for Chloe. And it’s almost impossible for someone who has an hourly job or who doesn’t have a way to get around easily.

Which of course is the point.

I have been pregnant. I had a miscarriage.

My ten-week ultrasound showed – a smudge.

If the idea of the ultrasound is to convince women that there is a baby inside of them – SOMETHING THEY ALREADY KNOW – showing them a ten-week – or, in Chloe’s case, a five-week – smudge is not the answer.

But at least if Chloe decided to have the baby and be a single mom, there would be a lot of help for her. The loving state of Florida wants to do everything it can to support women and children.


This is why we need to vote.

And, if you are so inclined, donate to Janet Protasiewicz’s campaign for Wisconsin Supreme Court. We have a chance to change the court to a liberal majority and, I hope, overturn the 1849 – 1849!! before women had the vote! – law outlawing abortion in Wisconsin.

“Chill out honey men are always going to be jerks and you need to accept that”

AKA “If it’s inevitable, lie back and enjoy it”

The woman in the image above – Whitney Sharpe – discovered that the men at the vendor were saying vulgar things about her during a meeting.

A work meeting.

Let me repeat:

She was in a meeting WITH A VENDOR – that is, someone who wanted this woman’s company to give them money – and the men were smirking and indulging in “locker room talk,” which I can reasonably imagine was a discussion of what she would look like naked and how they all wanted to screw her.

When Sharpe told the VP at the vendor that she wanted to switch to a female salesperson, the VP told her that they didn’t have any women qualified to help her.

I posted this story on facebook and some troll I have never heard of told me to put on my big-girl pants because this is just how men are.

As in – we women just have to learn to deal with this stuff! We have no options! It’s not like we can expect men to act like decent people. I mean – the former president does this sort of thing and he got elected. It’s OK, right?

Oh honey.

Bless your stupid sexist misogynist heart.

I have been hearing this shit from men for decades: “This is just how men are! You can’t expect us to change! We can’t control ourselves!”

In 1995, when I was coming back home over land from the Peace Corps in Chile, I met an American man in Honduras.. He worked for a paper company and told me that it was no place for a woman.

When I asked why, he told me because Men Had Their Ways and when women were around, it was way too difficult for the men to act professionally. It was so constraining for the men, he told me. So so hard.

And yet – I bet they acted decently around their mothers. Their sisters. Their wives. Their daughters.

But female co-workers?


After the Peace Corps, I found a job with a paper company.

My male co-workers behaved professionally around me.

It can be done.

Dear Troll:

According to The Troll, we’re just supposed to roll with the punches and accept that some men can be total jerks.

I wonder if those men are rolling with the punch that they lost Sharpe’s account.

Oh yes she did.

She fired the vendor.

I love a happy ending.