I am a feminist, and I don’t hate men!

Yes, I know, that may confuse some people.  A great many people think feminists are crazy radical women who don’t shave their armpits or legs, and carry on about how men are awful human beings who don’t deserve to be alive, and should just be servants to womankind forever.  Or something like that…..

First of all, as the mother to two teenaged boys who will someday be men, and a stepmother to a wonderful young adult who is already a man, that is the farthest thing from my mind.  If I hated men, wouldn’t I see my sons (i.e. future men) in that light?

However, to be perfectly honest, if I was brave enough to deal with the negative social feedback and nasty stares from people at the gym, I would NEVER shave my legs in the winter.  I just think that extra hair would keep me warmer….. however, I shave because I am not that brave……yet.  Maybe after I turn 50 in October I won’t give a shit about the social stigma.   There is always hope……

But back to the task at hand…..discussing feminism.

I am a double major Bachelor’s student at Old Dominion University.  I was a Psychology Major and then just for fun, I took an elective called Intro to Women’s Studies.  My professor for the class was a woman named Robin Ormiston.  Robin is an amazing Professor, and opened my eyes to so many things that I knew, but never really gave deep thought and attention to before.  Well, I started to give LOTS of things deep thought and attention once I started learning more and more!

So I decided to take on Women’s Studies as a second major because I think I can do something with a degree in Psychology and Women’s Studies to make an impact on the planet in which I live. Something to benefit the lives of women and hopefully make a difference. To be honest I really want to work with women of color in some capacity, because I believe white privilege exists (a post for another day), and I have a deep desire to do something to end that and to bring all women to equal status in our society, and abroad.

So what I have  learned about myself is that I am a feminist.  I have always been a feminist, I just wasn’t sure how to articulate that in a meaningful way.  Now I can put knowledge and my education to use to stand up for what I have always believed, but didn’t know how to bring it into my way of life, or speak about it in a meaningful way.  Now I have the knowledge from classes as well as my own research to do that.

Created by http://rebeccacohenart.tumblr.com/

Created by http://rebeccacohenart.tumblr.com/

Interestingly there are many, many people who don’t share my vision, or agree with my ideas.  Last year on Facebook, someone accused me of being like the guy at the bar in Good Will Hunting.  At first I was like, that is great, he thinks I am like Matt Damon, someone who thinks for myself, and can show that I am intelligent.  Then I realized he meant I was the ponytail guy who just reads stuff and “regurgitates” it without really knowing what I am talking about.  That actually hurt my feelings.  Because I DO know what I am talking about.  I am not so simple minded that I can’t read, and research, and formulate my own opinions about things like white privilege, and the wage gap, and the horrible way the media works against women and girls, and the genocide of Native Americans and forced sterilization of poor (mostly black) women.  I am almost 50 (as I am prone to say pretty frequently).  I have spent 20 years in the military.  I have been a single mom, and  I actually owned a house in an African American neighborhood in Chesapeake Virginia for 18 months. My two boys were the only white kids in each of their classes, and to be honest I thought it was a good experience for them to be the “minority” for a change.  In fact, I only moved from there because Karol moved back to Virginia from Pennsylvania and we needed more space than my small three bedroom house,  for our newly blended family of 6.

Then in class yesterday another student articulated what I feel about feminism in a two word response.  She said she believes feminism is “Common Sense”.  It was as if the sky opened and light shone down from the heavens.  COMMON SENSE!  YES!!!

So I want to list some of the “Common Sense” ideals feminists (including myself) strive for:

Equal pay for equal work….of course

Clean water no matter where you live or your economic status…….yup

No more gendered violence…..yupper

Treating humans with respect and dignity no matter their race, gender, orientations, ethnicity, economic status, etc etc etc….absolutely

The right to live as we choose……yes

Women have the right to be in charge of their own bodies: size, shape, contraception (or not), decision to have children (or not), and most importantly have agency over what happens to their bodies……..without a doubt

Unearned privilege is a system that oppresses and subjugates and marginalizes and should be removed from society………correct

That is just a few, but truly this blog is long enough, and I can write whatever I want here, so this topic can definitely be revisited whenever I want…..MWUAHAHAHA  I have the POWER!!!!!!!

I_Have_The_Power

Thank you Robin!!!!

 

 

 

 

 

Stone Soup Recipe

As I have talked about before, my lovely Karol really enjoys cabbage.  So to please her I made Deconstructed Cabbage Rolls a few weeks ago when the boys were visiting their dad because the Universe knows, there is no way they would eat food with cabbage in it….sigh…..

When I made the cabbage rolls recipe, I only used half of the head of cabbage so I told her I would make some cabbage soup.  I was intrigued by some soup I had when I visited my mother during Thanksgiving, and hers had cabbage in it.  I enjoyed it and thought Karol would too.  As I looked over the recipe my mother gave me, I thought, “hmmmm, I bet I could change this up some.” I like to experiment in the kitchen, and really I think just taking stuff out of the refrigerator and throwing it together in a somewhat coherent fashion to make something yummy is fun, and challenging to boot.

Have I ever mentioned that in my youth I dreamed of being a chef?? For some reason my father dissuaded me.  He said it would be difficult for me because chefs had to lift really big heavy pots….hmmmmmm.  Somehow I think he just didn’t want me to be a chef….

So I decided to look through my refrigerator and make some soup ala “Chopped” style by just using what I had on hand…

And I ended up making what I am calling “Stone Soup”.  The name comes from the folk tale of a traveler who used a little trickery to create a lovely meal for an entire village:

Once upon a time, somewhere in post-war Eastern Europe, there was a great famine in which people jealously hoarded whatever food they could find, hiding it even from their friends and neighbors. One day a wandering soldier came into a village and began asking questions as if he planned to stay for the night.

“There’s not a bite to eat in the whole province,” he was told. “Better keep moving on.”

“Oh, I have everything I need,” he said. “In fact, I was thinking of making some stone soup to share with all of you.” He pulled an iron cauldron from his wagon, filled it with water, and built a fire under it. Then, with great ceremony, he drew an ordinary-looking stone from a velvet bag and dropped it into the water.

By now, hearing the rumor of food, most of the villagers had come to the square or watched from their windows. As the soldier sniffed the “broth” and licked his lips in anticipation, hunger began to overcome their skepticism.

“Ahh,” the soldier said to himself rather loudly, “I do like a tasty stone soup. Of course, stone soup with cabbage — that’s hard to beat.”

Soon a villager approached hesitantly, holding a cabbage he’d retrieved from its hiding place, and added it to the pot. “Capital!” cried the soldier. “You know, I once had stone soup with cabbage and a bit of salt beef as well, and it was fit for a king.”

The village butcher managed to find some salt beef . . . and so it went, through potatoes, onions, carrots, mushrooms, and so on, until there was indeed a delicious meal for all. The villagers offered the soldier a great deal of money for the magic stone, but he refused to sell and traveled on the next day. The moral is that by working together, with everyone contributing what they can, a greater good is achieved.

So this is my:

STONE SOUP

1 tbsp olive oil

½ cup chopped onion

2 tsp minced garlic

4 chopped carrots

2 stalks chopped celery

1 package turkey kielbasa

2 to 3 potatoes, chopped into bite sized pieces

1 can beans (I used great northern, but kidney would be nice also)

8 cups chicken stock

salt and pepper to taste

Put olive oil in Dutch oven or large pot. Cook onion until translucent. Then add carrots, celery, potatoes, and kielbasa and cook until veggies are softened and meat is browned. Add chicken stock. Simmer for about 20-30 minutes. Season to taste.

To me, the most important part is cooking all the veggies and meat together until you get those little browned bits in your pan. Then when you put the stock in, scrape up the brown bits, they will add a LOT of flavor. I did not add ANY seasoning to this soup, as the kielbasa and veggies flavored it enough. It was really quite delicious.

I shared some with the NewYorican, and she loved it so much she made it for her family the next day!  I am making it for dinner this week also.  It is perfect with a little baguette for sopping up the lovely flavors!

Enjoy!!

all the veggies and meat browning up and "shaking hands".  Getting yummy!!!

all the veggies and meat browning up and “shaking hands”. Getting yummy!!!

 

Finished product.  Hearty and delicious!!

Finished product. Hearty and delicious!!

Why I don’t make New Year’s resolutions

I am almost 50 years old.  I am 49 1/2 to be exact.  In my younger days I used to make New Year’s resolutions.  Things like:  lose 10 pounds, quit smoking, save money, etc. These resolutions oftentimes were never reached, and maybe not even started.  I may have quit smoking for a day, but was not able to quit for good. I exercised some, but never met my weight loss goal.

Somewhere along the way I stopped making them because to make them and then not keep them just made me feel like a failure.  I don’t like feeling like a failure.  There have been so many mistakes I have made in my life completely by accident or because I didn’t have the experience or knowledge to know differently.  Some of these mistakes were unavoidable, but many of them I look back, and think , “Carol, you were so stupid…”.  Since that is the case, and I can look back and see the mistakes for the stupidity they were, it doesn’t make sense for me to deliberately try to set myself up to look back and feel stupid.

I have been told that the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result.  For me, New Year’s Resolutions fall into that same category.  Making lists of things to accomplish or do, knowing historically that I don’t keep them, and continuing to do it?  That seems insane to me.

resolution

So instead of making resolutions I just try to live as “right” as I can.  I do my best to give to others who are in need, stick up for those who need to be stuck up for.  Although to be honest, making comments about my feelings on feminism and racism, and all the other isms has caused many a fight on Social Media.

Would you believe there are still people out there who don’t think America is a racist country???  Or who believe that there is no wage gap between men and women.  I actually had someone tell me that women and men get paid the same….well, yes that is true, if they are civil service workers, or federal employees who all get paid the same no matter their sex.  But for the private industry, that is not the case.  I am always astounded when someone says, “White people aren’t privileged…I am white and I was poor growing up…..”  Ummmm, that is not what white privilege means…..But that is a post for another day….today I am talking about New Year’s Resolutions.

Last year I gifted people with food, and clothing, I donated quite a few boxes of  food to a local food bank.  I donated bags and bags of clothing and household items to the local Disabled Veterans group.  I donated a bike for a needy family at Christmas.  I loaned a lovely family money when they needed help.  I paid for people’s coffee, tolls, and groceries on more than one occasion.  I bought a book for a classmate who is young, and working and paying her way through college.  When she said she would pay me back, I told her not to, but instead to help someone else out when she was in a financial position to do so.  I “paid it forward” many, many times.

I don’t tell you these things because I want adulation, or congratulations.  I say these things to emphasize that if we all live our lives “right”, and help our fellow human beings when we can, that is better than a million resolutions to lose weight or quit smoking.  Just think what this world would be like if we all resolved to do for others as we could instead of only doing for ourselves.

Understandably, not everyone has the financial resources to give money or goods, but I’ll bet you could give your time.  To Habitat for Humanity, or working at the Food Bank, or babysitting for a young mom so she can go shopping without kids, or go to a job interview, or donate nice clothes that you no longer wear so a veteran can look nice for a job interview.

So I challenge you all to NOT make New Year’s Resolutions this year, but instead resolve to live a life filled with compassion and love for your fellow human beings.  I challenge you to help others when you can with your financial resources, or time, or food. I challenge you to “pay it forward”, and buy a cup of coffee for the person behind you in line, or pay the toll for the person behind you on the highway.  Challenge others to do the same….what a difference we could make…..

And just because I am a Calvin and Hobbes junkie, let me leave you with a smile:

calvin and hobbes ny resolution