Monthly Archives: March 2018

“Me Too?”

For the most part I’ve been just watching as the “Me Too” and “Time’s Up” movements have unfolded. Watching and thinking. I haven’t yet said anything here. There’s something about it that doesn’t quite sit right with me and I’ve had to figure out for myself what that something is.

A “Not Me” movement would be more illuminating. Maybe a few dozen women would sign on because, um, what woman hasn’t been harassed or mistreated at some point in her life because she’s a woman?!?!? Am I missing something here?? This. Isn’t. New. I just don’t believe any cognizant human being, male or female, thinks women have had it fine and dandy, or they do now, no worries!  I believe anyone who doesn’t know willfully doesn’t know.

I do think these recent movements are good if they make women feel less alone, less ashamed, less afraid, or if it helps them to connect with other women. I don’t want to suggest nothing positive is happening. I would like to think things might change as a result of the movements but the truth is, I really don’t. Because, again, this just isn’t new information. Maybe I’m too jaded but when I take into account the whole scenario, all the factors that go into my viewpoint, I tend to think not.

We have a culture that has a long history of undermining women.  In this country, women, similar to slaves (albeit with more status & privileges), were historically owned by their male family members, as was their property. She went from daddy to husband, if all things went according to plan. Autonomy and women weren’t bedfellows. Relatively few stepped outside those prescribed lines for doing so meant risking social acceptance and security.

It wasn’t that long ago that the law did not consider a man forcefully having sex with his wife rape. For all I know, it still isn’t called rape in some jurisdictions.

Rapes and sex crimes on whole go underreported. There are backlogs of “rape kits” that have yet to be processed. Of those reported, a minority go to trial. Convictions are dicey.  Rapes and sexual harassment between acquaintances devolve into he said/she said. Women are maligned – she wore the wrong thing, was in the wrong place, sent the wrong signals, had too many drinks, imagined it, made it up, agreed to it, or is vengeful that consensual sex didn’t lead to a relationship, etcetera. Even when men are convicted, there’s the matter of prisons being overcrowded, those convicted often don’t serve the length of their sentence. Rehabilitation is rare.

So, okay, the system is messed up, right, historically and currently, but we can change mens’ attitudes yes? Enlighten them so they understand that what many have traditionally considered “harmless” behavior – a whole array of acts on a continuum – isn’t in fact? That sounds nice. But um, when the President of the most powerful country in the world, maligns women, jokes about harassing them and taking advantage of them, talks vulgarly about their body parts, has alleged affairs — and this is the just stuff we happen to know (there must be a lot more where that came from) – how do you get the average male child, the average guy, to think otherwise?

When “entertainment” frequently shows women being beaten, raped, tortured, and killed, how do you convince people that we don’t really mean that? That we actually respect women? Or should?

Who doesn’t  know that a generation of children are being raised on video games where life, particularly, female life, is cheap? Why is this okay? Consciously a child may be able to separate fantasy and reality, but who is to say what is unconsciously taking root in a developing brain? Psychologists and social scientists DO show connections between what we view and how we act.

When children, mostly female (but certainly not all) are far too often subjected to emotional, physical, and sexual abuse in their own homes and communities by the people they should most be able to trust, how do you align that with the “Time’s Up” movement? You can’t deal with one issue and not take on the other as well.

Part of why I’m a bit uncomfortable is that movements of many stripes in this country tend to be passing. “Me Too” feels trendy, one step up from the “Ice Bucket” challenge, something people are paying attention to this week, this month. Weren’t there laws against harassing and abusing people already on the books? If they aren’t enforced, what use are they? If the people in authority who are supposed to help, don’t, what’s the point? If a woman takes the risk of speaking up only to see nothing really change or worse, faces retaliation, why bother? I just don’t think you can address one without the other. The way a woman is treated after being harassed or abused is every bit as important as the abuse itself. Too often she is dismissed or made to feel like she has to defend herself all over again.

The average man is not an abusive jackass. Or an entitled narcissist who uses his power (in whatever form it takes) and physical strength to take advantage of or harm women. But I just don’t believe the men who ARE will be moved by the outcry from women (and supportive men). Yes, it’ll be great if “borderline” types, men who maybe make harassing or inappropriate comments to women but don’t touch them against their will for instance, start to think and act differently. If good men (continue to) talk to their sons or to their friends and associates about how to treat women, that would be great. That still leaves a wide swath of men who are going to go right on doing what they’ve been doing, and unfortunately, probably using the backlash to further justify their anger and hatred toward women. I don’t think you can weed them out and I don’t think you can change them.

The culture has been too lenient with malignant men for too long. The die is cast on the hard cases. There is such animosity directed at women; it permeates our culture. Women are often desired – and objectified – but frequently not respected, not liked, not taken seriously. It’s done in such an unthinking way, that’s what’s most insidious about it.

Younger men, who you’d like to think have been raised by modern women, women who’ve been on the receiving end of mistreatment themselves, don’t seem a lot better. “I’d hit that.” “I’d do her.” “I wanna get me some of that.” This is the common speech of many young men. And far, far, worse. Watch an episode of TMZ, an entertainment news show seen at the dinner hour. The way women are discussed, almost entirely in the context of how they look and whether they are fuckable, is abysmal. Even the women on the show weigh in as if there is nothing problematic about picking apart other womens’ bodies.  Watch enough of this type of fare and you may find yourself thinking the same way. I’m referencing TMZ here but it could be any number of mainstream sources that have normalized a peculiar blend of sexualizing and dehumanzing women.

Women who gain power are perhaps the most maligned of all. In a certain mindset, even the lowest of men thinks he is superior to the woman in high reaches of power and status. I don’t mean all men, don’t get me wrong, I mean the ones who have absorbed a certain belief system and are unwilling to change it.

Men who despise women and wish them harm used to live in isolation to an extent but with the internet they have found and can encourage one another. The dark corners of the internet are breeding grounds for discontent and malice.

So you see, I won’t be saying “Me too” anywhere. I’m just going to stay here, keep watching and keep thinking. This isn’t one little problem to be cleaned up, a few men to be stopped and taken out of their jobs or dressed down publicly. It’s a culture that is historically steeped in a particular attitude, one that hasn’t gone away but has morphed into new shapes over time. “Me Too” and “Time’s Up” are scraping the surface of a much deeper problem.


NOTE: I may not be able to respond to comments for a day or two but I look forward to them.

Easy, healthy “vegan” cookies you’ll actually want to eat

This recipe originates with Dr Neal Barnard, vegan advocate. I don’t remember the exact title of the book I got it from but if you are desperate to know I can probably figure it out. I’ve been making the cookies, which have no dairy, for years. Let me tell you why I like ’em. Unlike typical, traditional cookies, these are not full of sugar and fat, but instead more filling, nutritious ingredients. For me this means they are more satisfying because they are made of actual food. And unlike typical cookies, which flip a switch in my brain causing me to want more, more, more, these cookies satisfy my desire for something sweet without an accompanying desire to overindulge.

Here’s Dr Barnard’s recipe:

-3 cups whole wheat flour

-4 tsp baking powder

-1 tsp baking soda

-1 tsp cinnamon

-1/2 tsp nutmeg

-2 (or 2.5) tbsp sugar

-1 15oz can pumpkin

-1 mashed ripe banana

– 1 cup soy milk or water

-1 cup raisins

Yesterday I changed up the recipe by also adding unsweetened coconut, brown sesame seeds, and peanut butter powder. I found all three ingredients on Amazon. The peanut butter powder was a recent discovery; it’s peanuts with the oil squeezed out. These additions made good cookies even better.

Mix all the ingredients together and bake 15 minutes at 350°.  (After dropping teaspoon fulls of dough onto a cookie sheet, I find it helpful to push them down slightly so the cookies come out flatter and less like cookie balls.) Makes about 35 really good cookies.



Short Thought 205 (mother/daughter)

Many years ago I realized that my mother hadn’t given me a model for how to be a woman. I was largely left to figure it out for myself. I subsequently told this to the man I was seeing. He said no, she had provided a model; it just wasn’t one I wanted. I thought that was insightful and probably more accurate than what I’d said.

Spring snow

Snow snuck in at the eleventh hour, landing on daffodils and forsythia. I opened my window, stuck my head (and tablet) out and snapped a few shots above of the gorgeous tree outside my window. I’m not a fan of cold but still cannot resist the magic and beauty of snowfall.

(Mildly Distracting Side Note Before Main Attraction of Post: I don’t know if this gets  mentioned on ubiquitous lists of improbable things that are frequently seen in movies – I don’t remember seeing it – but it drives me absolutely batty every time a character in a movie throws open a house window, to either clmb out or allow someone to climb  in – and there is no window screen.  In and out the people go with ease. No wrestling around with a cumbersome screen. No cutting a hole, no slowing down the hasty, secretive action.  The setting in point could be the deep South, where lord knows what types of wildlife could come flying, scampering or slithering in the screen-less window, and it still doesn’t matter.) Now onto the post!





Easy “Baked Spanish Penne”

I have this great recipe, Spanish lasagna, that uses artichoke hearts and black olives for the filling. As I am mad for those two ingredients, not to mention pasta, tomato sauce, and cheese, it’s a favorite,  a “treat” dish that I make once in awhile (since Ricotta & artichoke hearts can be a bit pricey). I also occasionally make Baked Ziti or Baked Penne, so, since I didn’t have any lasagna noodles, I got the idea to make a combo of the two dishes. Here’s the ingredients.


That’s a 28 oz can of crushed tomatoes. I only used half of the 2 lb Ricotta (it was on sale and larger sizes are generally cheaper per pound anyway). That’s 6 slices of Mozzarella pictured but you could also use shredded. The artichoke hearts in the jar were marinated; you could use unmarinated, typically sold in cans, but using the jarred marinated type meant I didn’t have to add any additional seasonings (I am ALL about shortcuts). This is a large jar; you could also use two small 6 oz ones which are more readily available in stores.

I boiled and drained a 1 lb box of Penne.


Trust me that there’s a pound of Penne somewhere in there


Next I rinsed and broke up the black olives. The easy way to break them up is by hand, plus it’s knd of fun.


My best, or one of my best kitchen tricks, is mixing things in the sink. It’s easier on the arms  and any slopping goes in the sink.  Here is the tomato sauce with black olives and drained artichokes added to a medium size bowl. I didn’t use quite all the artichokes since I wanted to save a few for salads.


I used clean kitchen scissors to cut up the artichoke hearts right in the bowl.


In a large 4 qt bowl I put the cooked Penne and then the sauce mixture, topped by a pound of Ricotta and broken up pieces of Mozzarella.


I then mixed it all up. (It kind of turns pink, do not be alarmed!) I added no extra seasonings except fresh ground pepper. As I mentioned, marinated artichoke hearts come with seasoning and the cheese and tomato sauce both contain salt.


I then spread the mixture into a 9×13 pan. It was risky making a huge pan of an experimental recipe but I gambled that I’d like this. On top I drizzled a bit of olive oil and sprinkled on a modest amount of shredded Parmesan.


I topped it with a loose sheet of foil.


I baked the dish about 35 minutes at 325°.  Basically you want to heat it through – since there is no egg added there’s no worry about undercooking.


Was it good? Hell yes it was good! In order to not wolf it all down in a matter of days and to have the pleasure of spreading ny treat out over time, I habitually freeze lasagne portions.  That worked now too. The easy way is to slice portions and freeze them on a cookie sheet. After they’re frozen you just wrap them in individual portions.