Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Washington's New Chief of Police

Yesterday our mayor-elect nominated a woman to replace Charles H. Ramsey as the Chief of Police. Cathy L. Lanier would be the first woman to lead the police department permanently. The fact that this was the case barely seemed noteworthy. I think that's progress.

Monday, November 20, 2006

A Little Wistful

Although I think of Dad a lot for no specific reason and miss him for a million, I felt particularly wistful a couple of times this past week-end, both of them at concerts that reminded me of how much he loved music. Two of his favorites were blue grass and opera.

Friday night Jim and I went to the Birchmere to see Rhonda Vincent and the Rage ( http://www.rhondavincent.com/). She is the seven time female International Blue Grass Music Association's best female singer of the year....and it's clear why. Except, perhaps, for some of the gospel songs, I think Dad would have really loved it.

Yesterday afternoon, I met Elizabeth at the Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center (http://claricesmithcenter.umd.edu/2007/) at the University of Maryland where we enjoyed a free performance by the Maryland Opera Studio and UM School of Music (http://www.music.umd.edu/ensembles/opera) of Don Giovanni, which got a great review in today's W. Post.


Thursday, November 16, 2006

A Vindication of the Rights of Women

I dragged out my academic c.v. earlier today to see just exactly when it was that I had participated in an invited panel discussion on Capitol Hill sponsored by the Capitol Hill Women's Political Caucus. It was almost 14 years ago, January 6, 1993. Although the official topic was sexual harassment on Capitol Hill, the discussion was fairly wide ranging and when several people in the audience and some of the other panelists started talking about women as if they were substantially different from men, and expressed beliefs that they would not abuse their power, if they had it, in either that or any other way, I felt obliged, as the expert on the panel in the psychology of women and gender, to suggest that studies did not actually support substantial differences, that individual men and women were far different from each other than men as a group were different from women as a group; and that it seemed far more likely that politicians were more alike in some ways, across gender, than men politicans were different from women politicians. I suggested that there were plenty of examples of women abusing power to support that. It was an unpopular assertion, to say the least. NO one wanted to hear THAT, and the information was essentially ignored. Much as it is in the real world, where people pick out selected examples to support their own beliefs and assertions and ignore any information to the contrary.

However, one of the first things the first female speaker of the House did, it seems to me, was to prove the point herself. I was disappointed, but I'm sure not so disappointed as many, if not, most, people who still, despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary, hold the belief that all women are different from all men, more ethical and smarter. I have fought and will still fight for equal rights for women. But I've always known I was fighting for the right of some women to be equally as stupid, petty, and political as some men. I just hope that this particular woman is smart enough and big enough to learn quickly from her mistakes and get above her petty personal fights with other Congressional members to do the right things by the country. But that's what I've always hoped for all of them. And I still think it's amazing, on the one hand, to finally have a female in a major position of power in the U.S. Congress, only two people away from being President; and ridiculous, on the other, that it has taken this long.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

The Medical Report

I still can't believe I've reached the age where I understand what the old people used to talk about: arthritis, rheumatism, stomach and bowel trouble, etc. I've said it before and I'll say it again. I feel like my own baby.

The past few weeks have been dominated by medical concerns and doctor appointments, culminating with the horrible COLONOSCOPY, which I had yesterday. It's not the "procedure," as they call it these days, but the preparation which is so horrid. This year I threw up the junk they want you to drink a gallon of...the proportions must have been designed for a 300 pound male because it's certainly way over the top for a 124 pound female with everything in that regard in good working order. To top it off, I had a splitting headache the entire day on Monday, the Prep day. Anyhow, that's over and for now the headache is also gone. Not sure if it was the stress of the "preparation" or the rain or both; I'm just glad it's over. And, btw, I still have a "beautiful" colon. Now if only the physical therapy for my aching back would work. Sometimes it seems like it is; sometimes, mostly, not so much. But I'll see him again next week, too.

There is some good news. The dermatologist gave me a sample of some new psoriasis cream which seems to work like a miracle on mine, so when I go back this morning to see him, he will write me a prescription for it. Ella will be happy. She's always worried about the "owies" on my elbows.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Sister Talk

Katy called yesterday morning to tell me the painting of Charley Lauren had arrived. She and Mom, who had gotten back from several weeks at Aunt Susie's in Kentucky (as well as the "Sister Trip" which this year included their only brother) a couple of days earlier, were sitting at the table drinking coffee and admiring it. She's going to have a birthday party for C.L. next week and surprise her. Although it took us about an hour to catch up with news of each other's lives, for the life of me, I can barely remember the specifics of what we discussed! Though I'm glad I mentioned I had included a cow calendar and little stuffed cow for her in there because evidently they were both still in the box, which had been consigned to the basement next to the furnace for burning. She retrieved them and quickly perused the calendar before we hung up. She thought it was as funny as I did when I saw it at the chicken place. Her favorite might also have been Sacowjawea...."She Who Stands With Chickens."...rowing her canoe....a real moosance.

This morning I called Carey to see how she was doing and to tell her that Jim and I had had dinner last night with Ann and Jack...and with one thing and another....I called about 12 (10 her time), figuring she would be up but not out of the house yet...we didn't get off the phone until about 1:15. Probably because it just happened I can remember more of the specifics of the conversation, but the biggest news from her, besides she's continuing to feel/do better, is that she was offered the principalship of St. Jude's on a permanent basis after her old boss, Theresa, proffered her resignation this past week. She was pretty excited and proud of herself. Me, too, though not at all surprised.

Time to Regroup, Time to Recoup

Here’s hoping all the new leaders keep their eyes on the prize.

While I am very happy the Democrats have retaken the Congress and that the new Speaker of the House is a woman, I am, as with the District elections, adopting a wait and see attitude before I do the Happy Dance. The new majority needs to figure out a strategy for exiting Iraq as well as for stopping the gradual erosion of hard fought reproductive rights…and this is just where they have to start. The list of problems that have been created or further exacerbated, both nationally and internationally, in the past decade plus of movement to the right is so long it staggers me.

And while I am also thrilled at the possibility of actually becoming an enfranchised citizen of the United States while still living in the District of Columbia, I am not particularly happy about having to give another seat in the House to the ultra conservative Mormon Church in order to do so. I guess the lesson here is never forget that the patriarchy is still very much alive and well and never underestimate its tenacity. Combine that with my learned skepticism as to the ability and willingness of politicians to think outside their own egos to the greater good, or perhaps even distinguish their own ambition from the greater good, and you may understand my reticence to get particularly excited prematurely. So, I will send a thought and wish out to the goddess in all her manifest and invisible forms that the newly elected national politicians can find the ways and then stay the course.

I will add to that a thought and wish for the local elected officials, who say, among other things, they are all committed to fixing the District’s schools. But from the news so far it seems they might easily get involved with fighting each other about who will be in charge and how that might be accomplished rather than putting their own puffed up egos aside and thinking about how they all might work together to accomplish that. It’s enough to make a voter homicidal. I wish they had put on the ballot, “Which three egotistical male maniacs do you want to see mud wrestling?” So, here’s hoping we all didn’t schlep to the polls for nothing…and refrain from writing in Frida, the Caldwell’s cat, for Mayor…or at least City Council Chair.

Saturday, November 04, 2006

Howling at the Moon

Finished Theo's mural. I love it SO much! I think it's SO cool! It was Theo's idea, to have a huge coyote and her baby howling at the moon on his wall, and he had a picture from a kids' book he liked. I loved the idea. The blues are more purple-y than they appear here, rather than that sort of thalo blue. Other than that, the pic is pretty good.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Happy New Year!

My friend and adopted daughter Kay, from Austin, reminded me that for the Celts Halloween, which they called Samhain, is the beginning of the new year. For an interesting article on the derivation of Halloween and the intersection between the ancient Celtic practices and Catholicism, see http://religionandspirituality.com/morebeliefs/view.php?StoryID=20061030-021738-5859r.