My Poster for the March on Trump Tower tomorrow.

Gandalf says this to Pippin right before he introduces the Hobbit to Denethor, the leader of Gondor. Pippin’s wilfully ignorant of what’s going on as the nations prepare for war against Sauron.

I think it’s a good metaphor for the Trump Resistance. No one is too small to matter. No one can remain wilfully ignorant. 

“You look so skinny!”

I bought a new sweater this past weekend – love me a January sale. It’s a long raspberry and gray sweater with a split hem that reaches well past my butt, so I wear it belted. I wore it to work yesterday with some black slim-fit pants.

“Love this! You look so skinny!” a coworker blurted out in the hallway when she saw me.

Does it matter that this coworker is a size 2 30-year-old?

Does it mean, “You usually look fat, but not today!”

Does it mean, “I normally hate your clothes but this is pretty good, for you!”

Who knows what it means. It was meant as a complement, to be taken with good grace. There’s no point in parsing out the meaning, exploring a coworker’s lack of social graces, or plotting revenge.

So what to say in reply? “Thanks.”

That’s all.

#Pussyhats

I sewed 22 #pussyhats yesterday for myself and my friends to wear during the Women’s March on Washington and the March on Trump Tower in NYC on January 21, the day after our new president is sworn into office.

Here’s a picture of two finished hats and a picture of the assembly line I created.

A couple of women created this project to create a strong visual representation at these events. The hats must be pink – any shade – and handmade, either knit or sewn. You can decorate them as you like. I made these little contrasting ears, and I am leaving it to my friends to decorate them with buttons, whiskers etc.

I posted pictures on Facebook yesterday, and several takers appeared right away, including a friend of a friend who wanted six hats for herself and her friends for DC. I am meeting her tonight to hand over some hats. I am mailing other hats to friends and relatives in Maine and New Hampshire, and I’ll give more to my friends locally. Whatever’s unclaimed I will give to strangers at the march in New York.

To be honest, I am not that keen to wear a goofy, bright pink hat to this event. I am deadly serious about my fear for my country, and for women in particular, with this new president. But, I understand the power of symbolism and image in our digital age, so I will do it. And I understand the desire to take away the derogatory power he and others have tried to claim over women’s bodies, by vulgarizing our anatomy.

For more information and how you can get involved, see Pussyhat Project. The sewing pattern itself is a free pattern from Fun With Fleece. I got 22 hats out of about 3 yards of remnants of poly polarfleece.

Sobriety

I am laying off the drink for a while. I have never been a big drinker; even in college I’d have 2 or 3 beers and call it a night. But lately even one drink is too much. It’s like my body can’t metabolize it anymore. I was no more than halfway through the gin & tonic for evening cocktails on Thursday when a headache bloomed in my brain. It stayed there for four days.

I had no alcohol on Christmas Eve, Christmas, New Year’s Eve, or New Year’s Day. I haven’t done four sober holidays in a row since I was 16.

Is my husband on board? Perhaps this photo of his shopping excursion last week tells the tale better than I can:

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I am trying a sober January. We’ll see how this goes.

Caretakers

My cousin called me last night to tell me her grandfather had died. He was my great-uncle, and he had been in poor health for several years, but still it was a blow to everyone. My cousin had been primary caretaker for both her grandparents, as well as her mother and mother-in-law, so they could stay in their home. Her brother does nothing.

My sister-in-law is battling her mother over care of her father, who has dementia and falls down all the time. He is staying in their home without any extra help. Her brother does nothing.

My cousin is helping her mother (my great-aunt) care for my great-uncle, who has advanced dementia and still lives at home. Her brother does nothing.

Anyone see a pattern here?

Caring for the sick and elderly is the biggest distaff deal of all. Women’s work. The kind of essential but unpleasant, tiring and depressing work women do all over the world, often for free, or at best, poorly paid.

Why won’t men step up? Why don’t women make them help out?

I don’t have an answer to these questions. Men are stepping up more when it comes to child care. Every father my age or younger I know has changed diapers countless times; my father never did. So that’s progress. But when it comes to care of the elderly or ill, no dice.

If anyone has suggestions, I’d appreciate it.

What a pleasant surprise!

Every year, my relatives give me food for Christmas. They know I’ve lost and (mostly) kept off a ton of weight, and yet they always give me a pile of crap for Christmas.

Don’t believe me? Here’s a typical example from December 2012, after I lost 65 pounds.

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There’s a bag of licorice, a tagine and cookbook, a book about wine & cheese, a bottle of wine, wine bottle stoppers, a Dunkin’ Donuts gift card, a pound of coffee and a gift card to a restaurant.

After a few years of this, I tried the tactic of “asking for what you want.” We started using this website called Elfster to manage our family Secret Santa drawing, so I liberally filled out my profile with likes and dislikes. The people in this gift exchange are family, so presumably they know what I like and don’t like, but hey, no one’s a mind-reader, right?

I told my family I like the outdoors (hiking, biking, kayaking), gardening, sewing and reading.  I like handcrafted things. I like natural fiber clothing. I like art glass. I like adventures and new experiences. I also noted explicitly: “I do not like gifts of food or cooking equipment or kitchen stuff. I work hard to maintain my weight, and I already have a ton of kitchen things, thanks.”

This year, guess what I got?

Drumroll…..

A “lobster” gift basket, including plastic lobster plates, plastic butter dishes, vinyl lobster bibs, lobster crackers, a lobster motif coffee mug, lobster shears, lobster-shaped candy, and a rubber lobster (which I gave to the dog to destroy). Also wine glasses. Also a gift certificate to a fish market, where  I can buy a live lobster to cook at home (although I would have to schlep it home in a 3-hour car drive).

Sigh.

Yes, I realize I sound like a baby complaining about it all. It’s not the gift that upsets me really. It’s the realization that my family doesn’t know me and doesn’t want to know me. They’d rather just think of “old me.”

Why Hanker to Sweat with Strangers?

I went to Pilates last night for the first time in a couple of weeks. I had been going 1-2 times a week for years, but lately, like so many other health pursuits, I’ve lapsed a bit.

What is it about an exercise class? Why hanker to sweat with strangers? And why is it almost all women in these classes?

I pondered these things as I went through the shake-inducing classical Pilates workout last night. If you don’t know what Pilates is like, it’s kind of like if a yoga expert and a ballet dancer and a drill sergeant had a child (yeah, that’s three parents, but work with me here) and made a profession out of torturing everyone around them. But in a nice way.

At the recommendation of a friend, I started with Pilates about 3 years ago. Yoga didn’t do it for me; I can’t get into the whole “spiritual” component of it. Pilates, on the other hand, was scientific. Worth a shot.

I thought I was going to throw up my first mat class session. That’s how hard you work your core. I laughed at my inability to do a lot of these moves, while I marveled at the lithe young women  who could do them easily. The trainers were mostly dancers and a few had studied medicine of some kind. Unlike personal trainers, who seem to think that yelling and shame will get you to your goals, the Pilates instructors were kind. They understood the body’s quirks and struggles. They helped. I got better.

After 6 months of regular classes, I figured out how to do the basic moves with the precision of a Rockette and started working on more advanced moves. I didn’t need to attend the classes at $16 a pop anymore and could probably have done the workouts at home, maybe with a video class for company. Yet I still went to the classes.

I had hoped to make friends, but I made none. The classes were mostly college students with the occasional woman a generation older than me. I did belong after a while though. While I was still no dancer, I was competent and earned praise on occasion. So I kept it up. I got hooked into the small but exciting local dance scene and saw some great performances. An injury (unrelated to Pilates) took me out of Pilates for about a year. When I returned, everyone welcomed me back. What a nice feeling!

So I guess that’s why I go to these classes. I belong, in all my imperfect glory.