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.

WTAF, my doctors?

Or, Why I am changing to a female doctor

See that image above? That’s a scene from Chicago Med, season 6.

If I had watched the show in spring of 2021, when it came out (instead of now, on DVDs from the library), I might have diagnosed myself sooner.

Do you know what interstitial cystitis (IC) is?

I did not.

I did not, until about year ago, when I got into a conversation about bladder pain with a woman in my Buy Nothing group.

In 2006, I went to my doctor for repeated UTIs. The doc shrugged, said they weren’t UTIs and he didn’t know what was going on, and gave me an RX for the antibiotic you take for UTIs. (Which – you aren’t supposed to take antibiotics for UTIs anyhow.)

He told me to take a pill every time I had sex, since that seemed to be a triggering event.

A few months later, Mr T and I were out of town. I had UTI pain so bad that I called my doc for a painkiller. To his credit, he called an RX in to a local Walgreen’s immediately, but it still took a few hours to be ready.

And nobody – not the doc, not the pharmacist – saw fit to mention that AZO is the UTI painkiller and it is available over the counter.

After I married Mr T, the problem persisted.

I asked my primary doc. He said there might be drugs I could take. I said I didn’t want to take a drug for the rest of my life – I wanted to understand and solve the problem.

He sent me to a urologist who put a wand up my hoo-ha and looked at my bladder, which had no problems that he could see.

“But I feel like I need to pee all the time and sometimes it hurts,” I told him.

He told me I needed to train my bladder – that my bladder had become the boss of me.

He was right about that – I had let my bladder become the boss. I trained it and I needed to pee less frequently, but I still got the bladder pain.

I did not return to the urologist because my insurance said it was a hospital visit and charged me a $700 hospital deductible and a $500 lab work deductible.

I argued that he was a specialist who happened to have an office in a teaching hospital and I should be charged only the $45 specialist co-pay, but Blue Cross of Michigan is the worst insurance company in the world and my rebuttals fell on deaf ears.

And the expert had not seen anything. Clearly, this was a problem I would just have to learn to live with.

It got worse and I couldn’t live with it.

Two years ago, after I had had several doctor visits/calls about the UTI pain that would not go away, my doc prescribed oxybutynin, which is used to treat bladder spasms and has the happy side effect of reducing hot flashes for some women.

My bladder did not get better and my hot flashes did not diminish.

Once I learned about IC, I tried different treatments, including aloe extract, which got very expensive during the pandemic and did not work for me.

It was not until last year that I saw that some foods trigger bladder pain.

Last year.

After years and years of gastrointestinal problems, including two bouts of c. diff and a fecal transplant, a very dear older friend has just learned – JUST NOW – that she might be gluten sensitive. My friend is not someone who spends hours online doing research. This is information she would trust her physician to give her.

And he didn’t give it to her until after she had serious GI problems.

My friend Shelly is a nurse practitioner who visits elderly people at home. When her patients have problems with discomfort, Shelly starts with diet.

“It’s so often what someone is eating,” she told me.

When I saw my about to be former doctor for my physical last fall, he asked if I was still taking the oxybutynin.

I told him I was not – that it had not helped me.

Then I told him I had figured out what my problem was.

“Have you ever heard of interstitial cystitis?” I asked him.

“Of course,” he answered.

“Even the writers of Chicago Med know what interstitial cystitis is!”

(He didn’t really say the part about Chicago Med. But he did say the first part.)

And I didn’t even know what to say.


Why didn’t my doctor in Memphis tell me that I might have this weird thing called interstitial cystitis? That I should keep a food diary to see if certain foods, like vinegar and lemon juice and hot peppers, might trigger symptoms?

Why didn’t my first doctor here tell me I might have this weird thing called interstitial cystitis?

Why didn’t the VERY EXPENSIVE urologist tell me I might have this weird thing called interstitial cystitis?

Why didn’t my about to be former doctor tell me I might have this weird thing called interstitial cystitis?

Why didn’t anyone offer me the possible solution years ago?

Instead, I have spent so many nights awake, waiting for the AZO to take effect so the pain will go away and I can sleep.

I have used thousands of dollars in medical resources.

I have spent hours and hours and hours in pain.

And all along, they knew.

The delusions of middle-aged men

Why do they think young women would want them?

Photo by George Becker on Pexels.com

My friend’s flight was cancelled and the airline put her up in a hotel overnight. This was about 40 years ago, back when airlines did such a thing and when my friend was a very petite, very young woman.

She and the other affected passengers commiserated on the bus from the airport to the hotel, then ate together in the hotel restaurant.

She chatted, as one does.

She chatted with people trapped in the same situation she was in, as one does.

And she chatted with the older married man with children as they both walked to their rooms, which happened to be adjacent to each other, as one does.

She said goodnight and entered her room, as one does.

And then, she heard a knock.

As one does not.

She opened the door. (As one would not do today, with experience and wisdom.)

It was the Older Married Man With Children.

“Would you like to borrow my toothbrush?” he asked.

As nobody – NOBODY – does.

Raise your hand if you have ever accidentally used your spouse’s toothbrush.

Raise your hand if both you and your spouse – who share bodily fluids on the most intimate levels – were grossed out.

Now raise your hand if you would ever voluntarily use a stranger’s toothbrush.


That’s what I thought.

Now think to yourself: When I was 19, what kind of man did I want?

I bet that the answer is not “Someone my dad’s age, married, with children.”

Yes, yes, yes – of course there are the rich and famous exceptions, but this guy probably had the western Kentucky territory for a shower ring company.

(And I just had a thought – what if he were a toothbrush salesman? And he had a clean toothbrush? But he should have led with that – and offered them to all the other travelers who were separated from their luggage. So no, he was not a toothbrush salesman, I am sure of it.)

What 19 year old woman wants a married man with children?

They don’t.

Nineteen year old women do not want

  1. Old
  2. Married
  3. With Children
  4. Men

But what a woman wants does not matter.

We all know that.

All that matters to the Delusional Middle-Aged Man is what he wants.

Society has supported him in every way.

When my friend and I were 19, there was no such thing as sexual harassment. There was no such thing as going to HR to complain. There was no such thing as men raping their wives.

What men wanted, men got.


What men wanted, men took.

Men apply for a job when they meet only 60% of the qualifications, but women apply only if they meet 100% of them.

Harvard Business Review

My friend and I kept wondering why any man would think a line like “Would you like to borrow my toothbrush?” would work.

And then we realized it wasn’t about that at all.

He didn’t even think to himself, “I need to be charming and attractive to overcome my obvious shortcomings that would not appeal to a beautiful young woman.”

Of course he didn’t think, “I’m a married man. I made a vow to my wife.”

He just thought – with the confidence of the average middle-aged white guy – that the world is his oyster and what woman wouldn’t want him?

(She didn’t want him.)

(Would anyone want him?)

(Thank goodness she was able to close and lock the door, because if he had wanted to, he could have overpowered my petite friend.)

(How can we women get that kind of confidence but with the asshole component?)

(WTAF, men?)

A doctor listened

If a woman talks, does anyone hear?

Y’all, a doctor listened to me and believed me and told me I was right.

It was so weird.

It’s not that I am used to doctors not believing me, but I have never – that I remember – had one look at me and say “Oh yes I can see the problem you are absolutely right we must fix that.”

Part of the issue is that the complaints that have taken me for my rare doctor visits have been for pain, which is hard to pinpoint, see, and measure.

My family was never a go to the doctor family. I remember having to go to the ER when the mouse bit me and I needed rabies shots and when my parents thought I had broken my arm. (I had not. It was a sprain. But the doc asked if I wanted a cast anyhow, WHICH I DID, but I said no. Why didn’t I get that cast? I regret it.) I also had to go several times for strep throat.

But for pain?

Who goes to the doc for pain?

My pain must have been awful for my mom to take me to the doc for cramps when I was 15, but my problem was not resolved. The doctor suggested birth control pills and I was horrified at the idea because birth control pills not only were Against My Religion but also were for Bad Girls and there was no way I was going to become one of those girls discussed in hushed whispers at school: “She’s on THE PILL.”

And the doc (who was also female, which makes me even angrier about this) didn’t talk to my mom (who also had very painful periods), either, to try to get her to understand so my mom could convince me.

I hope things are different today. I hope a doc whose 15 year old patient declines birth control pills when BCP are the only solution to the problem probes and tries to understand. Because I suffered from cramps for years and years after that.

But yeah – going to the doctor was not A Thing in my house. Certainly not for pain! What’s pain? It’s just something people have, right?

And to be fair, I don’t even know if I ever complained to my mom about my headaches when I was a kid. Even if I had, I might have discovered – as I didn’t discover until I was well into adulthood – that my mom, my brother, and my sister all had headaches.

That is, we all have migraine.

But – we probably would have thought – *I* would have thought, “Oh. Headaches are just a thing that happens. They happen to almost everyone else in my family. I guess that’s just how life is.”

My friend Susan and I went to a party. We talked to a few guys, one of whom Susan decided she liked.

“Maybe he’ll call me!” she said.

“Susan!” I laughed. “He’s GAY!”

She shook her head. “What? He didn’t say that! How do you know?”

I answered. “Because he said he wanted to spank Al Gore, which should have been your biggest clue, but also, he asked you a question. And then he listened to your answer.”

She fell silent.

I fell silent.

We both thought about this phenomenon.

A man had asked a woman a question.

And then stopped talking.

So he could hear her answer.

“Oh yeah,” she said, shoulders slumping. “You’re right. There’s no way he’s straight.”

It’s not that I don’t feel like doctors haven’t believed me – they have treated or tried to treat the conditions I presented to them.


(And to be fair, even though I just gave an example of how rare it is for a man to listen, I have also had female docs who have left me feeling a little bit unheard. This might be more of a doctor thing than a man/woman thing.)

And yet – it happened this week.

And it was about a tooth.

Which is something that can be evaluated objectively.

And this is a story about a dentist and so it’s still not really about my issues with medical doctors, but dang has it stuck with me.

I told my student dentist at the dental school that the tooth next to the one she had repaired felt odd.

“Maybe I’m imagining it,” I apologized. “I mean – it’s the tooth next to the one you’ve been working on. That’s weird, isn’t it?”

She took a look and then asked her male professor to take a look.

“Oh yes!” he said.

“I can see that your bite is off. We need to take care of that or you could crack your tooth!”

After he told my student what to do, he left her with these words: “Always believe your patients. They know when something is wrong.”

“This old white man thinks he’s better than me because he has a different accent”

“Does anyone really care where the rain falls on the Iberian peninsula?”

My friend Danielle saw My Fair Lady last night and spent most of the play fuming in rage.

“Now that I know what I know,” she said, “I see it in a completely different way.”

There are so many stories – so many romantic comedies and teen comedies that I thought were great when I saw them decades ago and now I watch and wonder, WHAT WERE THEY THINKING?

Take Sixteen Candles, which is about the overlooked teenage girl finally getting the attention she wants.


But – the purloined underwear? And the unconscious girlfriend and the jokes about her and her possible rape?

And Grease. The way to get the guy is to completely change yourself? Even though he liked you as you were and the issue was that he was too embarrassed to be public with you?

Plus the line “Did she put up a fight?”

And General Hospital, when Luke rapes the underage Laura – and then marries her. That wedding was a huge deal. It was so romantic – except – he was a rapist.

And the character was already married to Scotty when Luke raped her! They had her married – she was 17 in real life, and, as it turns out, in the show as well – as Laura’s probation for murder (I did not know this plotline – thank you internet for this info) would end when she turned 18 or when she got married, which is why Scotty marries her.

To make things worse (although how can I, with this awful storyline?), the show made Genie Francis defend the plot.

In the documentary ‘The Story of Soaps’, Genie spoke about how despite finding the falling in love with your rapist premise problematic, she had to defend it. She said, “It was such a big deal in the media and it took the country by storm. I’ve had to justify it for so many years and I have to say, it feels good to sit here and say I won’t justify it. It’s awful. They shouldn’t have done it.” The producer of the show, Gloria Monte, and the writers tried to deal with the situation by calling it “rape-seduction”, and explaining that Luke did it for love. Despite the rape scene, Laura and Luke remain television’s golden couple.


The story changes depending on who tells it.

The Milwaukee Repertory Theatre commissioned Eleanor Burgess to write a play – the wife’s and the mistress’s version of Death of a Salesman.

Turns out that Willy Loman is kind of a jerk who is cheating on his wife and expects her to do everything.

Which – are we surprised?

Are we surprised that when the women tell the story, they aren’t happy?

What would My Fair Lady look like from Eliza’s point of view?

Call your friends right now

When the one person you want to tell is the one person you can’t tell

We were going to outlast our enemies together. Source

Our mutual brother in law – Ted – was being his usual jerk self at Stephanie’s funeral.

I thought, “Oh man I need to call Steph and tell her what Ted is doing!”

Steph was the only one who Got It.

Mr T also gets it to a certain extent, but Steph and I were the outsiders with no blood ties, so it was easier for us to roll our eyes at Ted. Mr T is his brother (or his “half brother,” as Mr T’s parents were always so quick to point out), so it’s a bit harder.

She and I shared many a gossipy conversation about how awful Ted is.

He and his family don’t eat leftovers, he told Mr T.

(Steph was an amazing cook and Italian tomato sauce gets better if it sits a few days. Stephanie and I are both big fans of leftovers.)

When their dad, Sly, was in the rehab center, Ted told Mr T that Mr T needed to prepare Sly’s house for his return, including removing all the carpet and making Sly lose 30 pounds and stop drinking.

(Steph and I wanted Mr T to use his amazing weight loss powers on us first.)

Ted screamed at Mr T when Mr T wouldn’t reimburse him $800 cash for the frequent flier miles Ted used to attend his own father’s funeral.

Please note that Mr T did reimburse him what an actual plane ticket would have cost – about $400 – to attend the funeral.

He just didn’t give Ted the $800 he wanted.

Steph agreed that Ted was a greedy jerk.

Steph and I also had our shared history about Mr T’s dad, who, one Thanksgiving, pitched a fit because his grandchildren, whom he had told to serve themselves of the 20-lb turkey, had taken nothing but white meat.

He would never have dared to take only white meat when he was a kid, Sly shouted.

Why didn’t their mother raise them better? he yelled.

It was quite A Thing and ended only when Steph, who didn’t take crap, got her coat and said she was leaving. Mr T and Steph’s husband (Mr T’s other brother) convinced their dad to leave his office, where he had been sulking, and return to the dining room.

At Thanksgiving the next year, Sly said, unprompted and apropos of nothing, that he had never liked the white meat anyhow.

Steph and I turned to each other as our jaws dropped.

Years ago, after Steph, her husband, and their kids had moved closer to Mr T’s parents, Mr T’s parents had asked them over for Christmas Eve.

Steph politely declined, saying that they had their own traditions – the Seven Fishes, something Steph’s Italian family did every year, but that Sly and Doris were welcome to come to their house.

Sly and Doris insisted and said they would honor the tradition.

And they honored it.

Sort of.

Mr T’s parents provided Steph with a crab leg.



One crab leg.

Every time I saw crab legs on sale, I would screenshot the ad and text it to her.

Ted told Mr T that our musical tastes were “pedestrian” because we went to a Dire Straits concert.

Steph said “I like Dire Straits. Am I pedestrian, too?”

Ted’s wife had told Mr T it was a good thing that Mr T and I were not “financially strapped” the way they were, giving us the joyous freedom of taking care of Mr T’s parents as they died.

Ted and his wife grabbed tons of stuff from Sly and Doris’ house after they died, asking for furniture and complaining that Mr T wasn’t giving them the Good Jewelry that Doris had promised them.

“WHAT GOOD JEWELRY?” Steph asked. “She had nothing but costume jewelry!”

Mr T finally dumped all of Doris’ jewelry into a box and sent the whole thing to Ted.

And then he sent his mom’s silver to Ted.

Ted was not amused.

Steph was.

For Steph’s funeral, Ted chose to stay at the same hotel where Mr T and I were staying.

He chose.

We did not ask him to stay near us.

We did not ask him to stay in the same hotel.

We did not even recommend the hotel.

Mr T got our room on points and it was a convenient location and that was it.

Ted complained to Mr T that the hotel was awful and said he was going to punch and maybe even murder Mr T for that.

He also told Mr T that he needed to “open your wallet” and stay someplace like the Ritz Carlton.

He said that an open-casket funeral – which this one was – is “morbid.”

And he questioned my amazing, smart, kind, thoughtful niece’s ability to plan a funeral and execute the estate.


Then Ted suggested that we – Mr T and I, our nieces and nephew, their dad, and Ted and his wife – get together for supper the night before the funeral.

At an expensive restaurant.

Not world class, though! Not world class, like where the ones where Ted lives, but it was good enough, he assured us.

“Surely the trust can pay for the kids,” he said. “I’m sure Sly and Doris wouldn’t mind kicking in from the grave.”

Thing the One

This trust is the money the kids inherited from their grandparents. It’s their money now, not their grandparents’ money. Money that Mr T is using to pay their student loans. To help them with unexpected big expenses. To fund their IRAs.

It’s not go out to fancy restaurants money.

Thing the Two

Mr T and I, in Before Times, would have supper with my dad’s two brothers and their wives. We tried and tried and tried to pick up the bill and my aunts and uncles WERE NOT HAVING IT.

“My brother’s kid paying for my supper? I DON’T THINK SO!” my uncle muttered. (Yes, he muttered in all caps.)

In what world does an uncle invite his nieces and nephews to dinner on the night before they bury their mother and expect them to pay for their own meal?

Steph is going to be so pissed that Ted thinks Niece #1 can’t handle this. Generous Steph, who always fed me when I visited, is going to be so pissed that Ted didn’t offer to host.

Mr T and I agreed that our nieces and nephew might want to spend the night before their mom’s funeral with Steph’s brother and his family and the rest of their mom’s relatives. That having dinner with us might not be top of mind for them.

Mr T’s brother and the kids’ father told Ted the same thing.

Ted said he would make reservations just in case.

FORTUNATELY, Ted told us, he is friends with the front of house manager at the restaurant and could get reservations for nine.

(Ted aside, the last thing I want to do right now is to 1. eat at a restaurant 2. with unmasked possibly infected people 3 when it’s so crowded that reservations are required.)

(Also the last last thing I want to do is spend a lot of money to eat out.)

(And if I were going to risk covid to eat at a restaurant, it would not be so I could eat with Ted. It would be with people I actually like.)

FORTUNATELY, Mr T told him that we wanted to eat the local food, not the French food offered at the fancy restaurant Ted had chosen.

To which Ted replied that he can’t eat the local food because he can’t eat onions and I thought “WTAF? Is this about being together or is it about eating where Ted wants to eat?”

Silly me. Of course it’s about eating where Ted wants to eat.

And then FORTUNATELY Mr T told Ted we are not eating in restaurants anyhow these days and the kids’ dad already said they’re not going to supper, which would be the reason we might make an exception.

And I wanted to text Steph and say “OMG CAN YOU BELIEVE THIS GUY?”

And I couldn’t.

What it’s like to talk to an older, rural, anti-Trump, pro-gay rights man about abortion

Hint: He’s against it



College-educated, practicing Christian (former Catholic) white man who voted for Trump in 2016 but now hates him with a passion and voted for Biden in 2020.

Grew up in a major city but now lives in a rural area. Vaccinated. Divorced for many years, now living with a lovely woman who agrees with me on abortion. Upper middle class economically, I would say. Parents were blue collar, devout Catholics. Early 70s?


C’est moi, also a former Catholic, also white, but never voted for Trump.

Complicated feelings about abortion but my journey has brought me to wanting full abortion rights for all women, no matter what. I was wrong before, which is why I try not to be too harsh when I am talking to people who disagree with me, as I am living proof that minds can be changed, not just about this issue but about many issues. (I have been wrong about so many things.)

Act 1

Scene 1: Women Should Stop Being Floozies

THEO: I read an article in the Wall Street Journal that abortion wouldn’t even be an issue if women would just stop being such floozies. They get pregnant from their own irresponsible behavior.

ME: Floozies?

ME: (Are we in the 1950s?)

THEO: Women are so much more sexually aggressive these days. My friends tell me that women will go to bars and drink and proposition them!

ME: Men can say no.

THEO: Well they do.

ME (yeah right)

THEO: It’s their own irresponsible behavior that gets them into trouble.

ME: Do you even know anyone who’s had an abortion?

THEO: Of course I do! My neighbor told me she had one and she regrets it.

ME: That’s one. One woman. I guarantee you that you know women who’ve had abortions and you don’t know about it.

THEO: My neighbor told me!

ME: Women are not just going to volunteer that information to you. But we talk to each other. And I promise you that many of the women you know have had an abortion and you don’t know why. You don’t know why a woman has one but I guarantee you that “irresponsible behavior” is not the main reason.

Scene 2: Women Should Be Using Birth Control

ME: Are women not supposed to enjoy sex?

THEO: I guess, but they should use birth control.

ME: A lot of them do. But birth control can fail. Then what? Is an abortion OK then?

THEO: No. They should have thought of that.

ME: Are you aware that birth control not only fails a lot, but that the current methods – pills, IUD – have not really improved since the 1960s? And that there isn’t really anything new? What’s out there can have really bad side effects, too. I had to try eight different pill formulations before I found one I could stand.

THEO: It doesn’t fail that often.

ME: Even if it’s only one in a thousand, that’s one women out of a thousand every year, which is still a lot of women. She’s not supposed to be able to get an abortion?

(According to the CDC, the failure rate for the pill is closer to 7% than to the 0.1% I suggest here.)


ME: So a woman does everything right and the birth control fails and she’s supposed to be punished by having a baby?

THEO: Yes. She could have said no. She could have said no to sex.

Scene 3: Women Should Ask Men To Wear Condoms

THEO: Why don’t they ask men to wear condoms?

ME: Why do the men need to be asked? Why is the burden on the women to ask? Why don’t men just wear them? Actually, why don’t men just get vasectomies?

Scene 4: If My Daughter Were Raped Abortion Would Be OK

ME: What about rape? Should someone who’s raped be forced to carry a baby to term?


ME: What if your daughter were raped?

THEO: I guess I can see how an abortion might be acceptable in that case.

Scene 5: 12 Year Old Girls Can Get Abortions But Have You Seen Them?

ME: Have you seen the abortion statistics for the state? Do you know how many girls – girls under age 14 – have abortions? Do you think a 12 year old girl should be forced to have a baby?

THEO: Some of those girls – they want sex!

ME: They were raped.

THEO: They consented!

ME: It is not legally possible for a child that age to consent.

THEO: Have you seen what some of them look like?

ME: That is not the point. A 12 year old cannot consent to sex.

THEO: But —

ME: And I can promise you that if they are getting pregnant, it is not because they are having sex with a 12 year old boyfriend. The Memphis newspaper did an investigation years ago where they discovered that the majority of births in underage girls were because adult men had raped them.


ME: And it counts as rape even if the man sweet talks them and treats them nice. It doesn’t have to be a gun to the head to be rape. It’s rape simply because these girls are underage.


ME: Are you going to punish these girls further by making their underdeveloped bodies carry a pregnancy to term?

THEO: Maybe not.

Scene 6: I’m Not Trying To Impose My Religious Beliefs On Others

ME: You want your religious beliefs made law. But not all religions think abortion is wrong.

THEO: No I don’t!

ME: Don’t you want abortion to be illegal?

THEO: Yes.

ME: But Jews don’t think abortion is necessarily wrong. Why should your religion be making laws that affect other people’s religions?

THEO: Maybe there just shouldn’t be any laws at all about it.

ME: I would be fine with that.