Archive for November, 2010

As of last Saturday — November 13th — it has been two years since my mom passed away.  On that day, my sisters and I visited her grave site and we did what we had to do in order to make it through the day.

I felt numb that day and I’m feeling that same numbness right now as I try to write about it.  It’s a defensive numbness, a shield I put up whenever I think my true emotions are on the verge of attacking and overwhelming me.  For me, raising the shield is as automatic a reaction as breathing.  Sometimes I resent it but my body continues to put up that shield because my body knows what needs to be done in order to survive.

I was recently talking to a friend of mine who lost his father around the same time that mom passed.  I asked him if the grief and the pain even actually went away.  He told me that they don’t but eventually, you learn how to deal with them.

I guess that’s what I’m doing now.

I’m learning.

So this is 25…

Today is my birthday!

To be honest, I wasn’t looking forward to this birthday because I am now a — brace yourself — quarter of a century old! 

That’s right.  The big Two Five.  Closer to 30 than to 18.

So, I guess this means I’m an adult now.  Oddly enough, I don’t feel any more like an adult.  If anything, I feel like a kid again.  Probably because I’m looking forward to getting presents later tonight…

Okay, well if I’m not quite comfortable with sudden adulthood then I guess it’s time for a mid-life crisis!  Time to start dressing like a teenager and dating guys who are a few decades younger than me.  Uhmm…wait.  I already dress like a teenager and dating a younger guy would probably be a felony.

Okay, so maybe now is the time that I concentrate on find a 60 year-old millionaire and becoming a trophy wife…well, no, that doesn’t sound like a very fulfilling idea either.

Oh, whatever.  Maybe turning 25 doesn’t have to mean anything.  Maybe it just means I should be happy that I survived another year and I should just continue to look to the future.

Yeah, that sounds like a plan.

Scorpio Crew forever! 🙂

4 days to go until my birthday and I’ve already started to receive presents.  On Wednesday, I received a collection the first 48 issues of The Walking Dead from my fellow pop cultural blogger, Arleigh Sandoc.  Arleigh is the owner of Through The Shattered Lens, a wonderful entertainment site that he graciously allows me to write for.

And then today, I found out I was getting another gift this Sunday.  In fact, I’m getting a gift that I’ve always wanted but I always figured there was no realistic way I’d ever receive it. 

I’m getting more time.

A whole extra hour of it, apparently.

Yes, as I was informed at work earlier today, this Sunday is Daylight Saving Time. 

I’m going to be honest.  I usually hate Daylight Saving Time.  First off, speaking as someone with ADD (yes, I know — who doesn’t have ADD nowadays?  Still, my ADD is worse than yours), it’s difficult enough for me to deal with time without having the hours just randomly change in the middle of the night.  Secondly, speaking as someone with OCD, Daylight Saving Time means that I’m going to have to reset every single clock I own immediately after 2:00 a.m. (or 3:00 a.m. or whatever time it’s going to be — see, it’s started!) or else I’m not going to be able to sleep.  Finally, speaking as someone who might be a hoarder, I own a lot of clocks.

Yes, Daylight Saving Time is a massive pain in the ass and I have yet to find anyone who disagrees with me on this.  What exactly is the point of it all?  According to Wikipedia, Daylight Saving Time has something to do with farming.  I guess I could read the article further to find out just what exactly that is but, to be honest, the article bores me.  If anything, this whole farming thing sounds like an excuse.  Trust me, I’m a country girl and I can tell you this — it doesn’t matter what time the clock says, roosters are going to crow whenever they feel like it, cows are going to smell terrible, and hay is always going to make me reach for my inhaler.

My personal theory is that Daylight Saving Time is meant to serve as a reminder that our time here on this planet is short and that the hours we take for granted can just mysteriously vanish (or reappear) in the middle of the night.  And, honestly, who wants to be reminded of that?  That’s depressing.

Still, I am liking the idea of getting an extra hour. After all, how many times a year do you get to spend an hour in a state of suspended limbo?  It’s almost like one of those movies where the hero goes back in the past to correct his mistakes.

Here’s my idea of the perfect way to celebrate Daylight Saving Time.  Do whatever you need to do from 2:00 a.m to 3:00 am.  Then, when that extra hour kicks in, do the exact opposite.  See which hour goes better for you and use that hour as a template for the rest of your life.

It’s Election Day and therefore, today seems like as good a day as any to share a few random facts and opinions about the history and role of women in U.S. politics.

(That clicking sound you hear is the sound of a handful of men all navigating away from this page at the same time.)

As I wrote on Women’s Equality Day, American women did not truly win the right to vote until 1920.  Before then, women could (and some were) put in jail simply for trying to exercise a right that we now all take  for granted.  Oddly enough, in most states, women could run for and hold public office.  They just couldn’t vote for themselves.

The first woman ever to be elected to any public office in the United States was Suzanna M. Salter who was elected mayor of Argonia, Kansas in 1887.  She was 27 years old at the time.  She served as mayor for one term before retiring at the age of 29.  She lived to be 101 years old and never sought ran in another election.

Nellie Taylor Ross also lived to be a 101 years old.  As well, she was the 1st women to be elected governor of a state.  She was elected governor of Wyoming in 1924, succeeding her late husband in office.  She was defeated for reelection two years later but remained a prominent figure in Democratic politics.

The first woman ever elected to the U.S. House was Republican Jeanette Rankin, who was first elected from Montana in 1916.  She’s famous for opposing (and voting against) American entry into both World War I and World War II.  In both instances, her pacifism led to her either being voted out of or voluntarily leaving office.  While it’s difficult for me to accept her vote against entering World War II, she was a woman who consistently stood by her beliefs even when they weren’t popular and even when she knew they would lead to the end of her career.  That’s a lesson that several of our current government leaders would do well to learn.

The first woman to serve as a state senate majority leader was also the first woman to be appointed to the U.S. Supreme Court — Sandra Day O’Connor.

The first female senator was Rebecca Felton of Georgia.  A Democrat, she was appointed to the Senate in 1922 and served a total of one day.  The first woman to actually be elected to the U.S. Senate was Hattie Carraway of Arkansas.  A Democrat, Carraway was first elected in a 1931 special election to fill the seat that had previously been held by her late husband.  She later shocked a lot of people for running for winning two terms on her own.

Since 1922, 38 women have served in the U.S. Senate.  17 currently serve in the U.S. Senate.  In today’s general election, a total of 16 women (including incumbents) will be running for a Senate seat.  According to current polling, there should be a record number of women in the U.S. Senate after today’s election.  That number will still probably only account for about 20 to 22% of the total membership. 

(Meanwhile, 51% of the citizens governed by this 80% male Senate are female.)

Women have been running for President even before they were legally allowed to vote.  However, the first woman to launch a serious campaign for the presidential nomination of either one of the two major political parties was Republican U.S. Sen. Margaret Chase Smith of Maine who ran in 1964.  Smith was followed by Shirley Chisholm and Patsy Mink (two Democrats who ran in 1972), Pat Schroeder (Democrat, 1988), Elizabeth Dole (Republican, 2000), Carol Mosely Braun (Democrat, 2004), and Hillary Rodham Clinton (Democrat, 2008). 

Clinton came the closest of that group to actually winning the nomination and, arguably, was the first woman to ever have a truly serious chance at doing so.  That said, it still wasn’t good enough to convince Barack Obama to offer her the vice presidency.  That role went to Joe Biden, a well-meaning, old school sexist if there ever was one. 

In fact, only two women have been nominated for Vice President by a major political party.  Geraldine Ferraro was nominated by the Democrats in 1984.  Sarah Palin was nominated by the Republicans in 2008.  In both cases, the nominations were dismissed as gimmicks and both Ferraro and Palin were subjected to criticism and scrutiny that had little to do with their qualifications (or lack thereof) and everything to do with the fact that they were women being judged by a male-dominated mainstream media.  Hence, Ferraro was attacked for marrying a charming guy who turned out to be a crook and Palin was attacked for the clothes she wore and her daughter’s out-of-wedlock pregnancy. 

Don’t get me wrong.  I’m not saying that either Ferraro or Palin was a good choice for the Vice Presidency or the Presidency.  Obviously, there are many legitimate concerns about Sarah Palin.  While I’m only familiar with Ferraro from history books, it appears that the same could be said about her.  My only point here is that rather than focus on the legitimate issues about either one of these candidates, the media decided to focus on their gender and judged them less on the issues and more on preconceived assumptions of the “proper” role of a woman in politics.

(That role, by the way, is to be a sexless, opinionless, and humorless cardboard cut-out with absolutely no history beyond the day they were first elected to public history.)

Though no woman has ever been nominated for the presidency by a major political party, many women have run for President on third-party tickets.  The first to do so was my personal hero, Victoria Woodhull.  In 1872, 34 year-old spiritualist, journalist, and free love advocate Woodhull attempted to run for President as the candidate of the Equal Rights Party.  For her troubles, she spent election day in jail.  The election was won by Ulysses Grant who, it is generally agreed, was one of the worst Presidents in U.S. history.

Since Woodhull’s day behind bars, approximately 25 women have been nominated for the presidency by a third or independent party, everyone from the National Equal Rights Party’s Belva Ann Lockwood (the first female attorney to ever argue a case in front of the Supreme Court) in 1884 to the Green Party’s Cynthia McKinney in 2008.

The first woman to ever receive a vote in the electoral college was Theodora Nathan, the libertarian candidate for Vice President in 1972.  She received one vote from a California elector named Roger MacBride.

Both my Aunt Kate and my mom were fond of saying that if women were in charge of the world, there would be no more wars.  I don’t agree with that but then again, could Victoria Woodhull possibly have been a worse president than Ulysses S. Grant?

It’s something to consider.

Well, Halloween is over and, with it, October 2010 is now a piece of history.  It’s hard to believe that it’s almost 2011.  It’s even harder for me to believe that, in a week and one day, I will be 25 years old.  Bleh and Agck!  That’s something I don’t want to think about.  When I was still young and innocent, I always used to think of anyone over the age of 25 as being so old.  I mean, 25 means adulthood.  Ideally, 25 means that you’re now a member of society as opposed to being a ward of society.

And I want nothing to do with it.

I was tempted to tell everyone to just ignore my birthday but, hopefully, they know better than that because as much as I hate the idea of getting older, I love the idea of presents.  Since I’ve ruled out the idea of ignoring my birthday, perhaps now would be a good time for me to just start obsessing on the past and remembering when I was still young and full of hope.

For instance, I may handle my birthday by telling everyone what a wonderful Halloween I had way back in October of 2010.  Yes, I can remember that Halloween as if it was yesterday.  I can remember my friend Jeff picking me up that night.  He was a doctor and I was a zombie.  Even today, I can still remember the party we went to and how so many old friends were happy to see us and embrace us and we all laughed and drank and danced and flirted as if we had all the time in the world.  Ah, those long-distant memories of yesterday.  If I think about it long enough, I swear my ears still feel like they’re recovering from spending too much time near the gigantic speakers that vibrated with an almost tribal quality as they broadcast the music that kept the party going late into the night. 

And how could I ever forget the moment during that magical night when I smiled as coyly as one can while made up as a corpse and I said, “How about a little necrophilia?”  Yes, I had been waiting five years for an excuse to use that line outside of a morgue or mortuary-setting and finally, on that night, the stars just came together and the moment was right.

(That line, by the way, is from a movie called Brazil, which is actually quite good.  Another thing I have in common with Brazil is that we were both released in 1985.)

Little did I know, back then, that there could only be one Halloween, 2010.  And now, older and wiser, I look back at it and I only wish I had appreciated it as much back then as I do now.

Halloween, 2010.

I can remember it like it was yesterday.

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